Ways to energise your life

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We're constantly inundated with ways we can improve our health, but sometimes it's difficult to know what we can do to make ourselves feel better. With the winter upon us, finding new ways to revitalise your mind, body and soul is a great option to avoid the blues, and stay happy. It's worth remembering though, energising your life is all about doing things that make you feel good so none of these activities should be a chore.

With the winter upon us, finding new ways to revitalise your mind, body and soul is a great option to avoid the blues, and stay happy.

Try something new

New experiences, whether it's travelling to an unknown destination or taking a class, can give you a rush of the brain's reward chemical, dopamine. Recent research suggests that dopamine doesn't just make you feel good, it also gives you the energy to do morei.

We all have comfort zones and routines, but it's possible that stepping outside of what you usually do could be rewarding, in lots of ways. For example, you could change your routine in a simple way by starting a DIY project to revamp your home, picking up a new habit (for example doing a daily crossword), catching up with an old friend, or gathering your family to try out a new board game. You could also see a play that you usually wouldn't, or take a cooking, art or fitness class.

Experimenting with new activities can be a great way to shake up your daily routine and become more energetic, because it can help you feel like you are moving forward and remind you that you have the courage to do things that are out of the ordinaryii.

Get moving

Exercise isn't just great for your physical wellbeing; it's also a powerful way to feel better emotionally as well as more energetic overall. Working out releases endorphins, which are your body's natural energy hormonesiii. These hormones can create a feeling of positivity or even euphoria in your body after exercise - a feeling that is sometimes referred to as the "runner's high".

It has been found that just 25 to 60 minutes of low, moderate or high intensity aerobic exercise increases positive mood feelings and decreases the negative ones. In fact, exercise can have an antidepressant action and some studies have shown it can decrease anxietyiv,v. It may sound counter intuitive to say that exercising after a long day at work will help you feel less lethargic; but exercise is one of the best things you can do to improve your mental and emotional health.

Treating yourself to a healthy breakfast can be an energising way to start the day.

Eat for energy

Government guidelines tell us that eating a wide variety of foods from every food group is beneficial for our healthvi, but it's also possible to eat in a way that energises your life.

Treating yourself to a healthy breakfast might be a great way to boost your energy. It's easy to feel rushed in the morning and like there isn't time for an elaborate breakfast, but the benefits might mean that it's worth making time for. A study in the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition found that people who ate a breakfast high in fibre and carbohydrates felt less tired throughout the dayvii.

Research suggests that omega-3 fatty acids, like the kind found in salmon, walnuts and flaxseed, may affect neurotransmitter pathways in the brain and improve your mood . Beyond omega-3, a balanced diet that includes protein like eggs, complex carbohydrates like quinoa and B-vitamins found in whole grains is the best way to insure that you keep your energy levels up through the day .

Energising your life doesn't have to be difficult or expensive, there are lots of simple things you can do this winter that will give you a big boost. So if you're looking to improve your mood and energy levels, why not try one of these five tips? Whether it's sitting in the sunshine or wearing your favourite red shirt, you might be surprised by how much these easy changes can affect you.

iKusek, K 2012, '9 Energy boosters', Real Simple, viewed 27 May 2014,

iiThe Psychology Foundation of Canada, 'Strategy: try new things that involve moving out of your comfort zone', Staying on top of your game program, viewed 13 May 2014,

iiiRodriguez, D 2009, 'Boost your energy levels with exercise', Everyday Health, 9 December, viewed 27 May 2014,

ivKravitz L, The 25 most significant health benefits of exercise, University of New Mexico, viewed 13 May 2014,

vNHS 2013, Benefits of exercise, viewed 13 May 2014,

viBetter Health 2013, Food variety and a healthy diet, viewed 13 May 2014,

viiChan A 2012, 'Health benefits of breakfast: 7 reasons not to skip your morning meal',Huffington Post, 16 August viewed 13 May 2014,

viiiMagee, L 'How food affects your mood', WebMD, viewed 27 May 2014,

ixPatel, A 2012, 'Food for energy: 16 foods that wake you up', Huffington Post, 22 November, viewed 27 May 2014,

xGrumman Bender R 2011, 'How colour affects our mood', Huffington Post, 27 November, viewed 13 May 2014,

xiStephens A 2009, 'Relax - it's good for you', Sydney Morning Herald, 20 August, viewed 13 May 2014,

xiiBrain M, 'How laughter works', How Stuff Works, viewed 13 May 2014,

xiiiDeasy L 2006, 'SAD but true: winter's blues', Sydney Morning Herald, 6 July, viewed 13 May 2014,