Six Tips for Beating The Winter Blues and Improving Your Mood

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The winter blues are taking its toll this year, bringing plenty of gray skies and colder temperatures forcing us to spend more time indoors – and causing symptoms of depression to spike.  Whether you are diagnosed with depression or just feeling down at times, there are some simple and proven techniques to help you feel better.

Colin Christopher, a clinical hypnotherapist and author of Success Through Manipulation, offers these tips:

–          Change the colors of your environment:  Color plays a huge role in setting the mood.  This time of year because of a lack of sunlight, it’s best to surround yourself with vibrant bold colors that will lift your spirit and energize you.  Think bright reds, oranges and yellows.  Try to avoid grays, light blues and white.  This can be as easy as painting a bright accent wall to adding small odds and ends that enhance your bedroom, office or any other space.

–          Pump up the Music: The sounds we hear have a direct correlation on how we feel.  Athletes typically listen to high energy music to get them ready to compete, just like many people listen to soothing soft music to get them ready for bed.  To boost your mood, listen to music that gets you moving and makes you feel good.  They’re usually the songs that make you tap your feet or bob your head up and down.

–          Drink more water: Dehydration increases blood pressure which in turn increases stress and can quickly bring down your mood.  Being hydrated is not only good for your overall health; one eight-ounce glass can quickly help raise your spirits.

–          Think of happier times: Remembering a happy memory for 10-30 seconds can get you out of a rut.  Maybe it’s when you got married or held your child for the first time, or something even simpler like a concert you went to or barbequing with friends and family.

–          Look up: It sounds simple, but it works.  Sit up or stand straight and lift your chin directly towards the ceiling, sky or other high point. This physical movement gives you clarity of thought and automatically makes you feel good.  Enhance this simple technique by inhaling deeply from your diaphragm (stomach area), holding for three seconds and exhaling slowly through your lips and dropping your shoulders as you breathe out. Try reciting a statement like “I feel good” or “I feel strong and confident” as you exhale.

–          Use your brain: If spending more time indoors, become mentally engaged in an activity.  It can be something as simple as a crossword puzzle or board game.  The key is mental stimulation in some capacity.