If you’re feeling down, or stuck in a low mood – how do you respond?
Perhaps you give yourself lots of reasons, like how your personal history has made you into someone who just feels like this. Or perhaps you reason that a recent event has made you feel down. Perhaps you just accept that sometimes you get low – really low. That’s how it is.
You may also be someone who just denies it, and carries on regardless, although with a bit of shaming thrown in. You just don’t think about it, and get up and carry on. But the low mood may still persist inside.
I used to feel low – and I used to just think that I was a very sensitive and thoughtful person. But then I tweaked my diet; and my moods came into balance. When that happened, I viewed myself differently. I wasn’t someone who felt low and got stuck there, I saw myself as more balanced and capable. So these little additions and subtractions in my diet has helped me gain a positive self-view just because my emotions are a lot more steady and stable.
Here are the three dietary tweaks that I addressed in my life that have made a huge difference to help balance my moods; and they may help you too:
1. I Understood That Sugar Played Havoc With My Moods, And Sense Of Wellbeing.
I used to eat a very clean and pure diet, with lots of raw vegetables and nuts and seeds. Sugar was a rare addition to my diet. But when I did eat it, I’d always find that I would be angry, itchy, jumpy, unsettled and then sad the next day. Today, my diet isn’t so clean, but sugar still affects me. If I’ve eaten too much sugar (usually in the form of chocolate), I can respond to a situation much more negatively. I find I don’t have a lot of balance inside and I go off into anger or sadness a lot quicker.
It’s worth looking at how sugar affects your mood. The more you eat, the less obvious its effects are – but they will still effect you. It may be worth taking a break from it. I realise that I often forget what feeling good really feels like, until I feel it again. So it’s a bit of a catch-22, but knowing that 5 minutes of tongue pleasure from chocolate may equate to a whole 24 hours of feeling rough makes a difference to how you view it! You’ll only know when you do it, and feel the difference.
2. I Realized That I Needed The Right Fats.
The brain loves Omega 3 fat, and I wasn’t getting enough. I thought I was fine, but recently, with the addition of experimenting with eating fish and taking Omega 3 supplements, I have noticed a huge improvement in my sense of feeling calm and steady. It’s only a very recent personal research project, but I believe I’m on the right track. I have read a lot into how Omega 3 fats are vital for children’s brains’ development– and also in protecting the aging brain against the effects of Dementia. But having a happy fat fuelled brain also means having balanced moods. Other fats are great too, (not oil per se, as they are technically a lot more processed – but that’s your call) fresh fat in the form of seeds, nuts, avocadoes and fish can all make a positive difference to moods.
3. A Protein Breakfast May Be Important After all.
I really used to hate the “you HAVE to eat breakfast” brigade. To me, breakfast didn’t make any sense because I was never hungry in the morning, and also, to my mind, not eating breakfast meant a longer fast and more time to process yesterday’s food and allow the body time for repair – all positives.
However, I kept on reading the importance of a protein breakfast for stable blood sugars throughout the day. (Kathleen DesMaisons explains this nicely in her book ‘Potatoes not Prozac). And stable blood sugars help with moods, as low blood sugar can cause us to feel out of sorts. So I decided to force myself to eat breakfast – protein especially. Why? Because protein food doesn’t send blood sugar rocketing all over the place and has a wonderful satiating affect, unlike carbs, such as porridge or toast that can make you feel hungrier a few hours later, than not eating anything. I’ve been mostly eating eggs for breakfast, but there’s protein in lots of plant based foods too, such as nut and seed butters, green leaves and pulses and legumes. Eating like this has really helped. I find that I am not hungry for a long time after breakfast, and eating it isn’t that much of a chore. And come 4 o’clock, my blood sugar is much more stable and I’m not craving sweet stuff, as used to happen to me after skipping breakfast or having a hunger-inducing fruit/carb fest. It turns out, not feeling that starving sensation can help to keep you happy, and having a steady blood sugar throughout the day is going to reflect itself in your calmer moods.
These three simple tweaks are keeping me a lot more balanced, physically and emotionally. I still get sad now and again – because life happens! But I seem to keep a hold of myself through it all instead of losing myself to sadness completely. Other things help too – but in terms of only adjusting diet – and not mindset or emotional skills and mindfulness, then these tune ups can really work wonders.
Perhaps you find that these can work for you too, let me know if you try them out – or share any other things that you find that work in the comments section!