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).
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
- pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, walnuts, pistachios, cashews and almonds
- lentils and chickpeas
- 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?
The Science Of Self-Care: How Tiny Habits Make A Big Difference – Active For Life