Regular exercise is one of the most effective and inexpensive ways to improve mood and is something that can be integrated into a treatment plan. Exercise, particularly aerobic exercise, releases mood-elevating chemicals in the brain and can decrease stress hormones.
What's important is that you choose something you enjoy and will stick with, whether it's going to the gym, signing up for dance classes, playing tennis, gardening, or taking a brisk walk outside each morning for at least 30 minutes five days a week.
8) Light Therapy
Getting enough sunlight has been shown to be effective for seasonal mood changes that happen in the darker winter months.
Exposure to light in the morning helps the body's sleep/wake cycle work properly. Production of serotonin, a brain chemical that key in influencing our mood, is turned on in the morning upon exposure to light. During the winter when there is less sunlight, serotonin levels can drop, making us feel tired and prone to seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
One of the most simple ways to increase your exposure to light is to walk outdoors in the morning. Just be sure to use sunscreen to protect your skin from ultraviolet light.
Another option is to use special lights that simulate natural daylight. Studies have found they are effective.
These lights can be found online. There are different types available, from light boxes to visors, that are typically used for 20-30 minutes a day. Look for lights with a minimum of 3,000 lux. many experts suggest 10,000 lux.
Although they are rather expensive ranging from $150 to $500, they may be covered by insurance.