Sniff some vanilla or lavender
Certain aromas can lift your mood by influencing the production of endorphins—the brain’s “feel-good” chemicals. For example, the scent of vanilla can help release endorphins and reduce anxiety, which is often associated with depression. According to a study at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, patients undergoing MRIs who breathed vanilla-scented air reported 63 percent less anxiety than those who breathed unscented air. To get the endorphin-boosting benefits of vanilla, add a drop or two of vanilla extract to the pot before the coffee brews, light some vanilla-scented candles, or add vanilla essential oil to your bathwater. In another study, conducted on college students, inhaling the aroma of lavender essential oil improved symptoms of depression and insomnia. You can dab lavender oil on your wrists and temples or diffuse it in the air with an inexpensive device you can pick up at the health food store.
Take a little ginseng
Ginseng may benefit people who are feeling fatigued and over-stressed and those recovering from a long illness. The herb has been shown to balance the release of stress hormones in the body and support the organs that produce these hormones. It may also help release endorphins. There is some scientific evidence that ginseng improves mental performance, including memory and concentration, and is useful in reducing blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes. Other benefits may include treating some cardiovascular conditions (including high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (emphysema, chronic bronchitis) and bothersome menopausal symptoms. Animal studies suggest it helps protect nerves from damage (including damage due to diabetes), helps the liver restore itself after damage, aids digestion and protects the stomach against ulcers caused by too much acid or aspirin. Learn the 10 things happy people do every day.