Feeling Sad? Seven Instant Mood Boosters
5. Think fish oil. Fatty fish like tuna, mackerel, salmon, and herring are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which appear to protect against depression. Some studies, for example, indicate that fish oil supplements can alleviate depressive symptoms, according to a review article published in the June 2006 issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry. Aim for several servings a week of omega-3-rich fish, and look for omega-3-fortified foods (listed on the label), including somebrands of eggs, margarine, and yogurt. Taking fish oil supplements is another way to boost your intake of the good fat.
6. Turn on the tunes. In his research, Thayer has found that listening to music was the second-most-effective way—after exercise—to turn around a bad mood. The kind of music? "We don't have a definitive answer on that," he says, "but I'd guess it would be songs with energizing, toe-tapping beats."
7. Talk it out. Having a strong network of family and friends to lean on can be crucial for dealing with sadness. You might also benefit from talking to a professional. A form of psychotherapy called cognitive behavioral therapy has been found to be particularly beneficial. It teaches you to overcome irrational thoughts that trigger depressed feelings and to find ways to incorporate pleasurable activities into your life. Studies have shown that this therapy works as well as medication in many cases, points out Jerome Wakefield, a psychology researcher at New York University and coauthor of The Loss of Sadness. And it can give you enduring tools to overcome these feelings for life.
Note: If you have been experiencing symptoms of severe depression (such as extreme fatigue, frequent thoughts of suicide, sleeplessness, inability to function, loss of pleasure in all activities), you should seek an evaluation by a physician to determine whether you need medical therapy.