Indian summer is definitely over and here in Belgium, the weather has been pretty gloomy in the past weeks with a lot of rain.
I don’t know about you, but this kind of grey and gloomy weather really affects my mood and energy. So I thought I’d share some tips that help me keep up the good spirit in these gloomy days…
First and most important, even if the sunshine doesn’t call you to go outside, get some fresh air every day! Movement and fresh air are crucial to our wellbeing - mental AND physical!
Get exposed to bright light: I have a winter light (as I call it) that helps me keep my circadian rhythm in balance and also a little bit better mood if there’s no light out -> go back to my article on light and melatonin here.
Work on a project or goal - I’m a big planner and organizer and need to have clear goals or objectives that stimulate my Dopamin and motivate me to keep going. How about you?
Wear bright colors (and think of spring or summer when you put them on 🙂)
Put on some salsa tunes or whatever kind of music puts you in a bright mood!
Herbs,plants & bacteria that can help lift your mood:
According to this study, saffron improves subclinical depressive symptoms in healthy individuals and may contribute to increased resilience against the development of stress-related psychiatric disorders.
Saffron will stimulate Serotonin production which is your happy hormone.
Saffron is also used to improve sleep quality and regulate food cravings due to its positive impact on serotonin production.
If you want to try saffron, the best supplement with the highest concentration of safranal is from Copmed (you need to enter code BEABE803 to order).
MICROBIOME & SPECIFIC BACTERIA:
Also your microbiome impacts your mood, if you’ve been following me for a while, you’ve probably heard me say that 80% of your serotonin is produced by the microbes in your gut.
Bio.Me™ Mind + Mood is a clinically researched multi-strain of live bacteria which has been formulated to support symptom modulation of mood imbalances such as anxiety and depression, and to support reduction of stress-related gut complications.
This blend contains specific bacteria, also called psychobiotics, including:
Lactobacillus helveticus Rosell®-52 (R0052) and Bifidobacterium longum Rosell® -175 (R0175) – 3-week supplementation reduced gastrointestinal abdominal pain and nausea/vomiting in volunteers with stress-induced symptoms and a 30-day intervention reduced anxiety- and depression-related behaviours in human volunteers. The latter study showed a reduction in free urinary cortisol and improved levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a molecule which supports mental and cognitive health.
Bifidobacterium bifidum Rosell®-71 (R0071) – 6-week supplementation increased the proportion of healthy days and significantly decreased self-reported stress scores in stressed students.
L. plantarum Rosell® -1012 (R1012) – shown to reduce abdominal pain in IBS in clinical trials, with promising research in murine models showing potential benefit for the gut-brain axis.
Comment from a fellow practitioner: “Hi just wanted to mention Bio.Me Mind & Mood which I have been taking for the last few weeks. I hate the month of January and find it has a huge effect on my mood, energy and motivation. Bio.Me was mentioned to me and I felt it was worth a try. All I can say is my energy is up, mood is lifting and motivation is returning so congrats Invivo on a great supplement, I will be recommending it to clients going forward.”
Essential oils for better mood:
Research has found that essential oils, like Lavender, can bind to the receptors on your cells that receive your body’s calming neurotransmitter, Gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA).
It’s actually the Linalool in Lavender but also in Clary Sage, Basil, Cilantro, and Coriander, that helps block brain signals (by activating GABA receptors) that activate your stress response and calm your nervous system.
Lavender may improve mood and reduce anxiety as well as reduce levels of the stress hormone, cortisol. For best results, inhale Lavender through the left nostril to stimulate the left frontal lobe and balance the over-activity of the right frontal lobe of your brain.
is known for alleviation of anxiety, stress, and depression. It also helps ease grief, panic attacks, and shock. Rose oil works best when applied on the heart or inhaled directly from the bottle.
Lime oil was found to be “more effective than antidepressants.”(Source). It clears trapped emotions and thoughts, helping to overcome stagnant energies – including grief, despair, apathy, anxiety, depression, fatigue, overwhelm, or a heavy heart.
Mandarin essential oil acts as a relaxing agent for agitated nerves and reduces stress and emotional imbalance. It may help to relieve anxiety, depression, nervousness, and promote a healthy sleep. It can work as an instant mood booster, helping to switch off an overactive mind, promote relaxation and relieve nervous and muscular spasms.
What is GABA?
GABA is the major inhibitory neurotransmitter in your brain, meaning that it blocks, or inhibits certain brain signals that can lead to anxiety and decreases excitatory and anxious activity in your nervous system.
GABA is often referred to as the brakes neurotransmitter as it puts on the brakes when your brain is overexcited and helps it to shift your brain into a relaxed state. This calming, inhibitory effect of GABA is what helps you calm mental and physical stress, lower anxiety, improve mood, relax and sleep. GABA also helps support your immune and endocrine systems, regulate your appetite, metabolism and muscle tension.
How essential oils work on your brain
Essential oils are lipophilic (that means that they resolve well in fats), which is why they easily bind to your cell membranes (that are made up of lipids) and modulate cell receptors and transporters. That way, essential oils can influence the excitatory and inhibitory effects on your brain's chemical messengers, like hormones and neurotransmitters.
When the appropriate chemical messenger binds with your cell receptors, it initiates chemical changes inside your cellular membrane and blocks, activates or modulates the impact of calming neurotransmitters like GABA, Acetylcholine and Serotonin which explains the relaxing effect of several essential oils.
Your cellular membrane is very protective in what substances it will allow to access your cell, a bit like your gut lining or your blood-brain-barrier. Only a few substances – including gases like oxygen, carbon dioxide, alcohol, some drugs, anesthetics, and essential oils — are capable of entering.
Essential oils have the ability to influence your cells even when they are not in good shape like during times of poor nutrition or toxic overload.
I hope you found this article useful? Let me know which of these strategies you applied and which worked best for you :-)