Gloomy Weather and Mood

In Blog, Health, Lifestyle, Nutrition, Podcasts, Vitamins & Minerals by Wendy Christien

Stress, poor sleep, nutritional deficiencies, environment, and genetics all play a role in mental wellbeing. 

There are multiple factors that influence our moods but if you are finding yourself in a very dark place, please seek help. The points in this article will be supportive even if you have received a mental health diagnosis and want to improve your sense of wellbeing.

Grey and rainy weather can have a negative impact on our mood and emotions and it’s not all in our minds! 

Many people can feel angrier and more unhappy because of bad weather. People may also experience more sadness and a lower sense of self-esteem when the weather is bad.

We can be tempted to want to stay in bed or to isolate ourselves from others when we feel this way, but that’s the last thing we should be doing. Finding ways to get more light exposure can be tremendously helpful. Light boosts serotonin in the brain which is necessary to lift our mood.

Light therapy is a form of treatment that can help people who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). SAD is a type of depression that occurs during autumn and winter annually. Because light therapy mimics outdoor light positive chemical changes occur in the brain that elevates mood and reduces tiredness and oversleeping that often accompany a low mood.

There are certain specifications that make light therapy effective, and it is always a good idea to discuss these options with your doctor or psychologist if it is an avenue you’d like to pursue.

Spending time outdoors in natural light, even if it’s cold and gloomy, is still an effective way to reduce low mood symptoms. 

Other activities that can be helpful to elevate mood include:

  • Watch a cheerful movie
  • Play some games
  • Laugh more
  • Exercise, even if it’s indoors
  • Dance and/or sing
  • Enjoy good quality social interaction

Exercise is especially important because it causes our bodies to make endorphins which increase our vitality, and self-esteem, which then promote a positive mood and a sense of overall wellbeing.

Social interaction is also very important for a healthy mood. 

Foods and nutrients that are helpful for a healthy mood include:

Vitamin D 3

Vitamin D3 is known as the sunshine vitamin and many people have low levels or have a limited ability to convert it from the sun. Blood tests can be done to check Vit D levels and if yours is low you may need to take a supplement. Vit D is necessary for a healthy mood and immune system as well as for hormonal and bone support.

Fatty Fish

Fatty fish contains omega 3 fatty acids which are essential for a healthy brain and for optimal cell signaling

Dark Chocolate

Dark Chocolate is rich in chemical compounds that increase feel-good chemicals in the brain. Milk chocolate contains a lot of sugar which can cause fluctuations in blood sugar levels which can have a negative effect on mood, so be sure to consume dark chocolate to enjoy the benefits.

Fermented Foods

Fermented foods increase the good bacteria in the gut which are necessary to produce tryptophan and serotonin. 90% of our serotonin is produced in the gut so if the environment in the gut is not healthy this could have a negative impact on our mood.

Nuts & Seeds

Nuts & Seeds are a good source of the amino acid tryptophan which is needed to make serotonin. They are also good sources of zinc and selenium which support brain function and reduce our risk for depression.

Coffee

Good quality coffee, in moderation, without milk and sugar, can be beneficial. It increases neurotransmitters such as dopamine and norepinephrine and is a good source of caffeine and chlorogenic acid which have mood-boosting properties.

Listen to my interview with Brad Kirsten from Radio Cape Pulpit on 7 April 2022 to learn more. Listen to my next interview on Thursday at 7.45am