A sad news story, a late night, gloomy weather and even a bad day can affect your mood. A low mood can be triggered by different things for different people.
While a positive mood is beneficial for your overall health, conversely a low mood can have negative impacts on your physical as well as emotional health.
Feeling down or having ‘the blues’ can make you more susceptible to illness as well as depression and anxiety.
Hence, it is really important to boost your mood in the right manner as quickly as possible. Several natural mood boosters can be of great help and may be worth a try before you make the choice to use medication.
Here are the top 10 best natural mood boosters.
1. Enjoy Some Dark Chocolate
When you feel sad, it’s time to have some dark chocolate. Yes, a few bites of chocolate can make you happy – but it must be dark chocolate, not milk chocolate.
Dark chocolate may increase your level of serotonin, a neurotransmitter in the brain that affects mood. It can also reduce the level of stress hormones, including cortisol, in people who are under stress. The benefits of dark chocolate are mainly due to the antioxidants in it.
A 2013 study published in Nutrition Reviews analyzed several studies investigating potentially psychoactive fractions of chocolate. Eight studies met the inclusion criteria for assessment of chocolate or its components on mood, of which five showed either an improvement in mood state or a lessening of negative mood.
To improve your mood, eat 1 to 1½ ounces of dark chocolate a day. Do not consume it in excess, as it contains a lot of calories.
2. Eat More Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Those who often feel low should eat a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which have an important role in emotional health.
The two main types of omega-3 fatty acids –eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) – play an important role in nerve functioning and mood regulation. These fatty acids also help restore structural integrity to brain cells that are critical in performing cognitive functions.
In fact, people who get plenty of omega-3 fatty acids from their diet are less likely to experience moderate or mild symptoms of depression.
A 2006 study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry reports that deficits in omega-3 fatty acids have been identified as a contributing factor to mood disorders and offer a potential rational treatment approach.
To include more omega-3 fatty acids in your diet, eat cold-water fish like salmon, tuna, sardines and anchovies. Flaxseeds, walnuts and omega-3 fortified eggs are other good options.
You can also opt to take an omega-3 fatty acid supplement, after consulting your doctor.
3. Switch to Green Tea
Sipping a cup of green tea can also give your mood a boost.
Green tea is filled with antioxidants and nutrients that give you a more alert state of mind. Antioxidants support healthy blood vessels in the brain, so it can function properly.
Theanine, an amino acid in green tea, helps improve attention and focus.
A 2013 study published in the Pakistan Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences reports that green tea intake leads to an increase in dopamine and serotonin. The study suggests that the beneficial effects of drinking green tea might be due to an alteration of serotonin and/or dopamine metabolism.
So forget the coffee and grab some green tea instead! Enjoy 2 to 4 cups of green tea daily to help lift your mood and improve your overall health as well.
4. Enjoy Crunchy Apples
Apples help perk up your mood. They are rich in nutrients that help boost your mood. They also contain vitamin C which offers mood-elevating effects.
Crispy green apples with their tart taste, in particular, help lift your mood.
Being rich in fiber and carbohydrates, apples also boost your energy level.
You can eat 1 or 2 apples daily to boost your mood as well as your overall health.
5. Enjoy Sunlight
Regular exposure to sunlight is important for your mental health.
Sunlight aids the body’s production of vitamin D and it’s deficiency is linked to depression. Also, a lack of exposure to sunlight is one of the leading causes of seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which is particularly common in the winter months when there are fewer hours of daylight.
With sun exposure and vitamin D, the brain is able to produce more of the mood-lifting chemical serotonin. Serotonin helps lessen stress and fight off mild depression.
A 2010 study published in Issues in Mental Health Nursing reports that detection and treatment of inadequate vitamin D in people with depression and other mental disorders may be an easy and cost-effective therapy, which could improve patients’ long-term health outcomes as well as quality of life.
All you need is just 1o minutes a day of sunshine to be sure that your body does not lack vitamin D. You can also opt for a vitamin D supplement, after consulting your doctor.
6. Laugh More
Laughing is one of the easiest ways to feel good and lift your mood.
Laughter not only reduces the levels of hormones like cortisol and epinephrine, it also increases the levels of health-enhancing hormones. A good session of laughter triggers your brain to release more endorphins, which play a key role in improving your mood.
In fact, laughter can also help people suffering from either SAD or full-blown depression.
A 2002 study published in Psychological Reports found that both smiling and laughing have possible mood-improving benefits.
Another study published in 2010 in Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine concluded that laughter has shown physiological, psychological, social, spiritual and quality-of-life benefits.
The next time you need to boost your mood, forget about everything that’s bothering you and watch a funny movie or video.