23+ Proven Happiness Tips Every Mom Ought To Know

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Jennifer Davis via health.com. April 03, 2016. Parenting Advice.


Some mothers just ooze happiness: They always seem to be smiling and having fun, and let negative emotions and experiences roll off their backs. But if you think there’s no way you could possibly ever be that way, you’re wrong…

What type of choices lead to happiness?

Many of them involve leading a healthy lifestyle, because a healthy body goes hand-in-hand with a healthy mind.

Science proves that you do have the power to change your outlook on life. And it isn’t hard, either.

Happy people tend to eat healthier, exercise more, and get better sleep than those who are stressed out or depressed.

On the other hand, when you feel happy, you’re more likely to actively seek out and follow a healthier lifestyle.

Regardless of which comes first, happiness or a healthy lifestyle, striving to be happy can lead to physical changes along with emotional ones.

Health experts reveal the “REAL” benefits behind happiness…

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Lower blood pressure, better immune function and improved mobility are just to name a few.

A review of more than 200 studies found that positive psychological well-being is linked with a lower risk of heart disease as well as lower blood pressure, normal body weight and healthier blood fat profiles.

Further more, past research has found that positive emotions — including being happy, lively and calm — appear to play a role in improving immune system function.

One study found that when happy people are exposed to cold and flu viruses, they’re less likely to get sick and, if they do, exhibit fewer symptoms (this is extremely helpful for ALL parents!).

The association held true regardless of the participants’ levels of self-esteem, purpose, extraversion, age, education, body mass or pre-study immunity to the virus.

Here’s to a happier you!

Simply incorporate as many of these 23+ scientifically proven happiness hacks into your life as you can, and you’ll be on your way to a happier, healthier you.

1) Exercise

Getting your blood pumping releases endorphins throughout your whole body, creating feelings of happiness that combat a bad mood.

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Studies have even shown that exercise can help alleviate symptoms of depression.

Any physical activity counts—running, indoor cycling, yoga, dancing—as long as you break a sweat. Even a brisk 20- to 30-minute walk will help.

2) Flow Through Some Yoga

Yoga has been around for about 5,000 years, and while many regard it as just another form of exercise — some even see it as a “fad” — it’s really a comprehensive practice that integrates mental, physical, and spiritual elements.

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When you start to see red, you might want to take a moment and flow through a sun salutation or two.

Yoga can help ease depressive symptoms as well as anxiety, allowing you to slow down and focus on your breathing rather than your worries, frustrations, and problems.

3) Load Up on Leafy Greens

Dark, leafy greens such as spinach and kale are rich in folate, providing 33% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA).

This nutrient is linked to a decrease in negative moods and depression because it helps produce dopamine in the brain.

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One 2012 study found that middle-aged people who consumed the most folate had a lower risk of depression symptoms than those who ate the least.

Furthermore, research from the University of Otago found eating fruits and vegetables of any sort (except fruit juice and dried fruit) helped young adults calm their nerves.

Department of Psychology researcher Tamlin Conner, Ph.D. said “On days when people ate more fruits and vegetables, they reported feeling calmer, happier, and more energetic than they normally did.”

4) Try Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a proven treatment for clinical depression and anxiety disorders, and it can also help anybody who simply needs to learn how to combat negative thoughts.

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CBT helps patients recognize and then reverse harmful thought patterns by testing their validity and then replacing them with positive ones, leaving them happier, healthier, and in a better mood.

5) Adorn Your Home with Fresh Flowers

A team of Harvard researchers found that keeping fresh flowers at home does wonders in keeping away anxiety and negative moods.

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These studies revealed that people who looked at flowers first thing in the morning reported feeling happier and more energetic.

People in the study also felt more compassionate toward others and they felt a boost of energy and enthusiasm at work.

6) Think Happy and Smile

Simply thinking about a positive event, and smiling as a result, can make you happier and more upbeat (more so than simply fake smiling, which is actually linked to worsened mood).

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A genuine smile includes the facial muscles around your eyes, and can actually prompt brain changes linked to increased mood, leaving you in a better mood.

7) Turn On A Light Box

Full-spectrum light therapy is often recommended over antidepressants for the treatment of seasonal affective disorder (SAD), but experts agree that it works to treat symptoms of major depressive disorder as well.

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Feeling blue? You can turn on a light box for 30 minutes to an hour when you’re down, but to feel its full effects, use it as part of a daily therapy routine.

Light therapy alone and placebo were both more effective than Prozac for the treatment of moderate to severe depression in an eight-week study.

Blue light has been found to be particularly beneficial for boosting your mood, as it plays a key role in your brain’s ability to process emotions.

8) Open Your Shades

If you don’t have access to a light box, the simple act of letting in some sunlight can brighten your mood.

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When your workspace or living area is brighter, you tend to feel happier too.

9) Go Outside

Starting to feel down? Head outside to soak up some sunshine.

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The human body produces vitamin D when exposed to the sun’s rays, and research suggests that people who are deficient in the vitamin are more likely to be depressed, anxious, and tired.

Step into the sunshine for 20 to 25 minutes of sunlight to lighten your mood naturally.

10) Eat Mushrooms

A surprising source of vitamin D? Mushrooms.

The tasty vegetable is the only plant source of natural vitamin D, and foods that contain vitamin D boost serotonin in the brain, putting you in a better mood.

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It’s easy to increase your intake of vitamin D this way—throw some mushrooms into your breakfast omelets or lunchtime salads.

11) Meditate

Good news: Meditation is a proven stress-buster with no harmful side effects.

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Studies have shown that its benefits range from pain reduction and lower blood pressure to a boost in libido.

Best part? It releases “happy” chemicals in the brain—serotonin, dopamine, and endorphins—all of which work together to put you in a better mood.

12) Smell The Oranges

Citrus scents, such as orange, lemon, and grapefruit bring out positive chemical reactions in your brain as well as work to ease stress.

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If you want to feel uplifted, use a few drops of citrus essential oil on your pressure points.

You can also mix the scent with a floral aroma such as jasmine to increase the positive effects.

13) Eat Carbs As An Afternoon Snack

You know that afternoon mood slump that hits at just the worst time?

Well, it turns out that you can eat your way to a happier, more energized afternoon—carbs.

For years we’ve been hearing that we should avoid carbs, but in reality, a low-carb diet can make us feel sad and stressed.

Carbohydrates actually boost mood-boosting chemicals in the brain.

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But let’s get something straight here—we want to focus on healthy, whole-grain sources instead of refined carbohydrates to reap the benefits.

When you begin to feel down, go for an afternoon snack of 25 to 30 grams of carbs, such as a three-quarter-cup serving of Cheerios.

14) Play With Your Pet

Having a dog or cat can seriously improve your quality of life—their excitement in seeing you come home and their unyielding loyalty make them great companions.

There are a host of reasons why pets improve your health, but they can turn around a bad mood and make you happier in no time.

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A study found that petting a dog for only 15 minutes releases serotonin, prolactin, and oxytocin—all of which are mood-enhancing hormones, while lowering the stress hormone cortisol.

15) Recharge With A Micro Break

Research shows that people who take quick breaks during their workday to watch funny videos online get a high emotional payoff and report feeling more energetic and happy with fewer negative emotions.

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Not only will this improve your mental health overall; this is an easy way to turn around a bad mood in less than a minute—plus, you can get a metabolism boost, too!

Go ahead, take a few minutes to watch a funny video online, go for a quick walk or have an uplifting chat with a coworker may leave you feeling happier, more upbeat and more energetic.

16) Add Turmeric To Your Meals

The active compound in turmeric, curcumin, has natural antidepressant qualities.

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You may already be adding turmeric to your meals because of its vast whole-body health benefits, such as lessening the effects of rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and other inflammatory conditions, as well as fighting Alzheimer’s disease and diabetes.

Animal studies have also linked curcumin to an increase in serotonin and dopamine, so it’s a powerful way to boost your mood.

17) Listen To Music

Have you ever heard a song over the radio that just felt good? Or have you turned on an old CD only to find a flood of happy memories come streaming back?

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Well, that’s due to the fact that music is a mood-booster.

It releases the feel-good chemical dopamine into your system and brings on nostalgia.

18) Sing

You can also get happy by making your own music—by singing.

University of Manchester researchers discovered that a tiny organ in the inner ear (called the sacculus) is connected to a part of your brain that registers pleasure.

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The sacculus registers frequency notes that are associated with singing almost instantly, giving you a warm and fuzzy feeling.

So go ahead and sing in the shower, belt it out in your car, or get up on that karaoke stage.

19) Eat Dark Chocolate (YES!)

While you might not need another excuse to eat more chocolate, here’s another: It makes us happier.

Chocolate contains tryptophan, which boosts the production of serotonin in the brain, leading to better moods.

This trick also works with other foods containing tryptophan, such as poultry and eggs.

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Chocolate has even been referred to as “the new anti-anxiety drug.”

One study in the Journal of Psychopharmacology also revealed that drinking an antioxidant-rich chocolate drink equal to about 1.5 ounces of dark chocolate daily felt calmer than those who did not.

20) Drink Black Coffee

This morning energy boost doubles as a mood pick-me-up.

A Harvard University study found that women who drank at least two cups of coffee regularly were at a 15% lower risk of depression than women who did not.

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Just keep in mind that those fancy coffee drinks can have tons of hidden sugar and calories, so it’s best to stick with black coffee (and some skim milk).

21) Sip On Some Green Tea

Green tea already boasts an impressive résumé of health benefits.

Thanks to the polyphenols it contains, green tea helps with weight loss by boosting metabolism, as well as providing a reduced risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, certain cancers, and osteoporosis.

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But for your mood? Green tea has been shown to reduce stress levels.

A study found that people who drank five or more cups of green tea per day had a 20% lower level of stress than those who drank less than one.

22) Get or Give A Hug

Put down your smartphone and take a step back from your computer screen.

If you want to feel better—and fast—go to a friend or family member for some relief.

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A study from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill found that human touch releases those feel-good chemicals like serotonin, as well as reduces blood pressure and heart rate making you feel more relaxed.

23) Eat Avocados

You know how avocados are some of the most pleasurable foods to eat, with their rich taste and smooth, decadent texture?

That’s a mood-booster on its own, but research also suggests that their fat content is also the reason why they better our mood.

Because fat slows digestion, it evens our blood sugar levels leaving us to feel calm and satisfied.

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So go ahead and treat yourself to some avocado or nuts next time you’re feeling anxious.

Avocados provide close to 20 essential health-boosting nutrients, including potassium, vitamin E, B-vitamins, and folate, and, according to research published in the Nutrition Journal, eating just one-half of a fresh avocado with lunch may satiate you if you’re overweight, which will help prevent unnecessary snacking later.

Those who ate half an avocado with their standard lunch reported being 40 percent less hungry three hours after their meal, and 28 percent less hungry at the five-hour mark compared to those who did not eat avocado for lunch.

The study also found that avocados appear helpful for regulating blood sugar levels.

This combination of satiety and blood-sugar regulation can help keep your mood steady, even in times of stress.

BONUS: #24) Eat More Salmon

Fatty fish like salmon is high in omega-3 fatty acids, which can help stave off depression (omega-3s are also present in avocados and nuts, as well as grass-fed beef and chicken).

This is because they help to maintain brain function in the areas that regulate mood and emotion.

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A study found that women who hate fish two times per week had a 25% lower risk of depression than women who ate it less often.

If you don’t like to eat fish, try taking omega-3 fish oil supplements instead.

BONUS: #25) Boost Your happiness & Health With Herbs

Being a mother in today’s modern world can be extremely stressful. 

With late nights, early mornings, lack of energy and the inability to fall asleep at night, all contributing to our poor physical health and emotional well-being.

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To help boost your happiness and health, why not try herbals extracts?

Herbal extracts such as Chamomile, Hops, Passion Flower and Valerian Root, are some of the most popular  herbal supplements for women, who want to boost moods, relieve stress and improve sleep quality.

Chamomile: Recent and on-going research has identified chamomiles specific anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, muscle relaxant, antispasmodic, anti-allergenic and sedative properties, validating its long-held reputation as an effective mood-enhancer and stress reliever.

Valerian Root, people use valerian to relieve anxiety, depression, and help with poor sleep, and also to ease menstrual and stomach cramps.

Valerian is great because it has a mild calming effect that does not usually result in sleepiness the next day.

As a sleep aid, valerian seems to be most effective for people who have trouble falling asleep and who consider themselves to be poor sleepers.

Hops is used for anxiety, inability to sleep (insomnia) and other sleep disorders, restlessness, tension, excitability, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), nervousness, and irritability.

Passion Flower is used for sleep problems (insomnia), gastrointestinal (GI) upset related to anxiety or nervousness, generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), and relieving symptoms related to narcotic drug withdrawal.

It’s easy to regard happiness as something that happens to you, but being happy is a choice that you can actively seek out and attain.

You needn’t sit by and wait for happiness to come to you; you can go out and grab it virtually whenever you want.

Are Your Kids Driving You Crazzzy…?

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Answer these 9 quick and easy questions now to find out if your stress levels are putting you and your family at risk, and discover the secrets to living a happier, healthier, stress-free life…

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