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Feeling the winter blues? Try these feel good tips to see them off

FEELGOOD FOODS

There are numerous foods linked with enhancing mood, the most famous, of course being chocolate.

Dark chocolate, in particular, is high in the amino acid tryptophan. Tryptophan is one of 10 essential amino acids, the building blocks of proteins. It serves as a precursor for serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps the body regulate appetite, sleep patterns, and mood.

Poor serotonin metabolism has been linked to anxiety and depression. Did you know, however, that around 80 per cent of the serotonin in the body is actually in the gut, not the brain?

Foods that are naturally high in tryptophan include fish, other seafood, nuts, seeds, vegetables such as broccoli and legumes.

Eating a wholefood diet rich in green vegetables and wholefood fats can make all the difference between feeling sluggish and heavy, or energized. If you have poor digestion, getting to the heart of this and resolving the symptoms can have a significant impact on enhancing your mood, too.

It never ceases to amaze me every day the power a healthy diet can have on all aspects of life, in particular in enhancing mood.

CLARIFY YOUR LIFE

Sometimes there is nothing better than a good old-fashioned clear out. There may be things you are storing on an emotional level and there may be things you are storing physically that are cluttering your thoughts.

If you open your closet only to receive most of it falling straight on top of you, it is time to let go of some things.

Collect all your old clothes, appliances, or furniture that you no longer need and pass it on to charity. Not only are you letting go of things that no longer serve your life, you are contributing to someone else’s.

From an emotional perspective there may be beliefs and behavioral patterns you are holding onto that no longer serve you. Exploring these and developing strategies to change them can help liberate your mind to focus on the positive and good that is present in your life. Our behavior is after all, the expression of our beliefs.

BE KIND TO YOURSELF

At the heart of a lot of very successful, busy people is a strong sense of self-worth. In the busy-ness of our lives, positive affirmations are fantastic techniques to help you center yourself again.

Mediation, yoga and other breath-focused practices can be highly beneficial every day, but particularly during times you feel overwhelmed.

Repeat calmly to yourself either out loud or in your mind: “Breathing in I am calm, breathing out I smile.” Practice this while you wait at the traffic lights, or allow yourself 10 minutes in the morning to breathe lovely long, slow breaths and recite this to yourself.

Say at least one kind thing to yourself a day… the more the better! Maybe you love your eyes, your quick wit, or your kind soul.

Whatever it may be, appreciate all you contribute to this world just by being you. Be your own best friend.

Dr Libby Weaver