A woman sits crossed legged on a bed. She has her hand resting on her chest and her eyes closed as she serenely thinks about some self-care activities to boost her mood. Photo by Albina Gavrilovic via Canva.
Everyday Lifestyle, Self-Care & Well-Being

Self-Care 101: Natural Mood Boosters

Requiring a mood boost every now and then is completely normal; particularly during dreary, colder months or as we navigate our way through bouts of general anxiety and depression — even pandemic depression, which so many of us are experiencing.

If you want to try some all-natural remedies for life’s stresses and uplift your mental health; there’s some really simple self-care activities that can be easily added to your everyday routine; improving your overall well-being. It’s important to note these are not a replacement for medicinal or professional treatment of anxiety/depression (always follow the advice of your healthcare provider or doctor).

A graphic link to an Everyday Lifestyle: Self-Care & Well-Being post on Transatlantic Notes called Self-Care 101: Natural Mood Boosters.

Nourish Your Body

One of the most well-known naturally occurring mood boosters in our bodies is the neurotransmitter and ‘feel good’ hormone serotonin. Responsible for sending chemical signals between nerve cells that perform an integral role in stabilizing mood, natural serotonin can assist with feeling calmer, more focused and happier. Roughly 10% of it is produced in our brain/nervous system and 90% in our gut/digestive system; with the two areas transmitting these upbeat signals to each other; frequently referred to as the gut-brain axis.

It therefore makes sense that certain foods can deliver a serotonin boost; most notably if they contain tryptophan, an essential amino acid that plays a vital role in the production of melatonin (which helps regulate sleep), vitamin B-3 (enhances brain function) and … serotonin! Tryptophan cannot be produced by the human body so it has to be obtained through the food and drink we consume, such as:

  • chicken and turkey
  • canned tuna and fresh salmon
  • eggs
  • cheese
  • pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, walnuts, pistachios, cashews and almonds
  • lentils and chickpeas
  • oats/oatmeal
  • tofu
  • dairy and soy milk
  • mushrooms, broccoli, peas, spinach, potato and cauliflower
  • dark chocolate

By including or increasing these elements in our diet we’re not only providing sustenance for our physical health, we’re fortifying a buoyant mindset.

Nurture Your Brain

Taking care of our physical and mental well-being can significantly improve how we cope during challenging times. Enhancing how our brains produce and release mood boosting chemical messengers may lessen the impact that stress and anxiety has on our day-to-day lives. Self-care activities that naturally increase levels of serotonin and dopamine (another neurotransmitter and ‘feel good’ hormone) can be vital when protecting and supporting emotional and mental health. Here are some examples:

  • spending 20 minutes each day outside getting some Sun exposure
  • walking in nature
  • any kind of exercise (especially outdoors)
  • get a massage
  • meditation/mood induction (intentional visualization and reflection about positive events that have happened in our lives)
  • listening to melodic music
  • aromatherapy with essential oils such as bergamot, lavender and lemon

Setting aside time to sustain mind, body and spiritual wellness encourages us to live abundantly. Even the smallest act of self-care, if repeated consistently enough, can have a considerable impact on our energy levels and outlook.

This is a reminder to take some time today to nourish your body and nurture your brain; you deserve some self-love …

What do you do to boost your mood? What’s a go-to self-care activity that makes you feel good?


Further Info:

10 Simple Grounding Techniques To Calm Anxiety – Forbes

The Science Of Self-Care: How Tiny Habits Make A Big Difference – Active For Life

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56 thoughts on “Self-Care 101: Natural Mood Boosters”

  1. I had neglected myself for a long time and now I have finally made myself a priority. I practice most of your advices and I have seen that they have a great impact in my life. It has been a long time since I last had a massage though 😊

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  2. Great post! I really liked the idea that all these holiday flavors like turkey and pumpkin seeds, walnuts, and potatoes are a wonderful way to nourish the body. I had heard of tryptophan in turkey but didn’t know about it in these others. Thanks for sharing!

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  3. Wonderful post and a great reminder for all of us to look after our minds and bodies, especially after this year we have all had. I always get outside everyday and I enjoy going to the gym or running so i know how important looking after my health is to me x

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    1. This collective experience during the pandemic has certainly raised awareness about stress/mental health difficulties as so many people have been struggling — I hope this means that taking care of it, in all areas of our lives becomes the norm. Being outside everyday is a great way to relax and stimulate our serotonin levels as is going for a run or other exercise — looking after our health is so important!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I find the info you shared about serotonin and food fascinating. I don’t think I knew that 90% of it was produced in our digestive system. One mood booster for me is to relax with a cup of coffee. I find warm beverages super comforting and sitting down to enjoy one with no distractions is a meditative time in a way 🙂

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    1. It’s amazing how connected our brain and gut is and it’s definitely interesting that our digestive system produces most of our serotonin — it puts our diet front and centre when thinking about self-care/supporting our mental health. I love to relax with a nice cup of coffee too and just spend time at peace for a while — that definitely helps!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. These are all really great suggestions and all easily done (although we keep getting storms in Vancouver right now). Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Stormy weather can definitely make spending time outside more difficult. We’ve been getting some very heavy rain storms here (possibly have snow tomorrow – what?!) so I tend to sit/stand on my open porch to enjoy it but I can only do that as I have some shelter from the elements! At least there are other things we can do indoors that raise serotonin levels — I hope you stay safe/warm during the storms you get in Vancouver!

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  6. I really need to work on my nourishment more. With so many food allergies and intolerances, it becomes all to easy for me to just eat the same thing over and over, even though I’m not getting all the nutrients I need. Thank you for the reminder!

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  7. These are great tips!! Spending time outside or even looking out the window is such a mood booster, especially in winter when the days are short and cold. I’ve never tried aromatherapy, but will have to!
    Thanks for sharing!

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  8. Great ideas! I like to go for walks to help boost my mood, as well as use different essential oils. Sometimes smells just really awaken something, don’t they? Also can’t forget doing a bit of a crafty project haha!
    Thanks for sharing 🙂
    Aimsy xoxo
    Aimsy’s Antics

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  9. This is so important! In this day and age it’s very easy to forget to nourish our bodies and take care of our mental health. It’s not the first time I’ve experienced burnout and it takes a longer while to bounce back than to just take care of oneself in the first place. I have started adding turmeric to drinks and it really helps! Great post, thanks for sharing 🙂 Your website is really pretty too!

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    1. Exactly! If we don’t take care of our mental health and emotional well-being then we leave ourselves open to things like burnout — or with no tools to help us when we experience it. I am so glad you enjoyed this post — thanks for reading!

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  10. I got my first massage three years ago and it was a beautifully calming, relaxing experience. I left feeling rejuvenated and happy, so it is definitely something that helps me mentally and physically. Dark chocolate is my favorite eatable from your nourishing food recommendations! 🙂

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  11. I love this and I love the all round approach of taking care of both your physical and mental health too as they both go hand in hand really!

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  12. I’m so grateful for this post. I definitely need to incorporate more salmon and oats into my diet. Spending time in nature, exercising, and listening to uplifting music has been so helpful. I really need a massage, I tend to hold stress in my shoulders. Until then, I opt for epsom salt baths. They leave you feeling refreshed and in a relaxed mood. Thank you for sharing these natural mood boosters!

    Like

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