Today on my blog I have a guest blogger! Her name is Donna Foster Larocque of Positively Active and she is a personal trainer extraordinaire. I say extraordinaire because she has this incredible ability to make you feel inspired and motivated by just being in her presence. She truly lives and breathes her Positively Active lifestyle. She is the queen of setting goals, working incredibly hard and reaching them! For instance, she just completed an Iron Man Race – amazing right? She is the queen of endurance, happiness and focus so she’s here to share with you today her top 10 tips on how to improve your mood so you can feel better and achieve any goal you set your mind to. Thanks Donna!
As the summer comes to an end and the temperature gets colder, I can’t help but feel the energy of a new season, FALL. For some people, the transition from summer to fall can be daunting. Mostly because we know what comes afterwards, winter. But I like to view the Fall season as a new beginning. A time to try new things, take up a new activity, or sign up for a course or class that I’ve always wanted to learn.
The Fall is also a time that inspires new goals. I often have many clients who begin the Fall season with new fitness goals. Some may want to lose weight while others may want to become more flexible or eat better, or not get sick! All of these are great goals, but I’d like to recommend a different goal, how to improve your mood! I know this may sound strange coming from a personal trainer, but after years of working with clients, the one thing I noticed the most about my clients was the tremendous impact moving their body has on their mood. If you are in a good mood, you not only feel better, everything looks brighter and more positive, and problems seem more manageable. That’s why I’d like to share with you 10 tips that can help improve your mood and kick start your body to increase your energy level and guess what? A few of my examples take only 60 seconds!
To start, I’d like to focus on some tips to help improve your mental state of mind.
1. Take a deep breath. How often do you think about breathing or even stop during the day to take a few deep breaths? Probably not at all! Try it now. Slowly inhale for at least five seconds and exhale for 10 seconds. Repeat this 5 times. Notice the sound of your breath. Notice how your body reacts. Does your chest grow twice it’s size when you take a deep inhale? Or are you belly breather? Do your abdominal muscles expand when you breathe? Simply by taking at least one minute to focus on your breathing gives your body a chance to relax and receive more oxygen than normal which immediately impacts your body and causes you to relax a little more easily.
2. Play one of your favourite songs. Have you ever been shopping in a store and all of a sudden you hear your favourite song playing? How did you feel? Did it make you smile? Did you feel good? More than likely you did! It has been shown that listening to music can help improve immunity and release endorphins which impacts your mood. So throw on your favourite song to help perk you up. You might even find yourself dancing! Which is another great way to increase your energy level.
3. Be in the moment! It is so easy to get caught up in our to-do lists and daily routines that we often forget to focus on what we are doing at this very moment! We are often thinking about what we have to do next or what we were already supposed to do. Take 60 seconds, right now and focus on just being. Close your eyes and listen to the sounds and pay attention to the smells. Or keep your eyes open and observe what is going on around you. You’ll be amazed how peaceful you’ll feel simply by letting yourself JUST BE.
Now that you have some ideas as to how to improve your mind, let’s focus on some tips that can help improve your physical state and you don’t even have to join a gym!
4. Roll your shoulders. So many times we allow our shoulders to rise up toward our ears while we are sitting at our desk and before you know it, our neck is in pain! Take 60 seconds to roll your shoulder forward and then backward. I mean really roll your shoulders! Make huge dramatic shoulder rolls. Your neck will thank you!
5. Give yourself a mini-massage. Did you know that massages not only relieves tension in the body, they help lower blood pressure, speed up muscle repair and reduce stress? Of course it’s always a treat to have a Massage Therapist work wonders on your sore aching body, but by giving yourself a 60 second self massage by rubbing your own hands, feet or shoulders, you’ll still reap some of the same benefits!
6. Do 20 jumping jacks. (in a row, without stopping!) We all know that sitting for long periods of time can be detrimental to the body. But we still sit our computer desk for hours surfing the net, posting on facebook or skyping friends and relatives. So why not take 60 seconds to get up and jump it out! Jumping jacks are an easy way to get your heart pumping and blood flowing which will give you that extra energy!
7. Do 10 push ups. This is one of my favourite exercises because after I do them, I feel strong and empowered! Push ups are a great exercise to develop and build functional strength. This strength allows us to carry out every day activities with more ease.
Now let’s take a look at a few nutritional examples that can help give you that extra boost of energy at any time of the day!
8. Drink a tall glass of water. How can drinking a glass of water affect your energy level? Dehydration, even mild dehydration can cause fatigue! This is a fact that many people don’t know or realize. Your brain is over 70% water (more than the body) and if you are dehydrated, your brain does not function well. It becomes sluggish and slow. So next time you want to reach for that candy bar or cup of coffee for a pick me up, grab a glass of water instead!
9. Cherries. If there is one fruit I recommend the most to my clients, it’s cherries. Here’s why. One, it actually requires work to eat it! Due to the cherry’s pits, you can’t just chuck a handful of cherries in your mouth and eat them mindlessly. You have to make sure you don’t sallow the pits after eating the juicy parts. This prevents what I call “unconscious eating”. Second, it’s a natural pain reliever and an anti-inflammatory. Third, they are low in calories and they have a high water content. As previously stated above, research has shown that by increasing your water intake, your level of energy will increase and who doesn’t want more energy!
10. Apples. Most people think of eating apples only during the fall. It’s a great time to go apple picking and cooking homemade hot apple pie! But eating apples every season (and even every day!) has so many benefits for your body. It’s packed with fibre (at least 4 grams of fibre are in an apple) which helps you feel full and therefore eat less. So instead of grabbing that candy bar or bag of chips, grab a Granny apple or a Pink lady instead. You’ll feel less inclined to overindulge and eat processed food!
So there you have it. 10 recommendations that will help improve your overall well being. I hope you found at least one recommendation that you liked and will incorporate into your health routine.
Stay active and anything is possible!
– Donna Foster-Larocque
Thanks Donna for making sure that we all take a moment to improve our mood so we can be physically active, be motivated to make healthy changes, and be more in tuned with how our actions, thoughts, and nourishment affect our mood! To contact Donna visit her website or email her at email@example.com. She currently resides in Montreal, Canada. Follow her on Facebook and on Twitter for constant inspiring fitness and lifestyle advice!