What do you do when you’re feeling a little “blah”? When you wake up tired, moody, and agitated—and just can’t shake off that funk? For me, I know a bad mood means it’s time to slow down, reset, and give my body and mind a little extra TLC.
And the good news is, there are a number of natural mood boosters out there that’ll nudge your brain back to a more positive and balanced state. Read on for 10 of my personal go-to’s:
(Note: I’m not saying these are instant cure-alls—especially for more complicated mood disorders like depression and anxiety—but for a milder mood issue, or as part of a treatment plan, they could be just the ticket.)
1. Eat these good mood foods
Anti-inflammatory foods are great for your mood. Why? Inflammation in the body can trigger oxidative stress, which can mess with your mood-regulating hormones. No, thanks. Instead, incorporate these anti-inflammatory (and antioxidant rich) foods into your weekly nutrition plan to boost your mental wellbeing:
- Coconut oil
- Cold water fatty fish like salmon, tuna, or mackerel
- Bone broth
- Fermented veggies like sauerkraut and kimchi
- Antioxidant rich berries like blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries
Also, steer clear of sugary and highly processed foods—which are suuuuper pro-inflammatory.
2. Get your body moving
Exercise is a powerful natural mood booster. In the words of Elle Woods, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people don’t kill their husbands.” But seriously, exercise does increase endorphins, which boost positive feelings, and serotonin—which helps your brain regulate mood, sleep, and appetite. It also helps decreases inflammation in the body, which as we know = good mood vibes. So get your body moving in whatever ways you most enjoy!
3. Keep a gratitude journal
We’re all born with a natural negativity bias (it’s an evolutionary survival mechanism), so sometimes you’ve got to fake it ‘til you make it—and just manufacture some positivity. Enter the gratitude journal: Taking the time to count your blessings can help you sleep better, lower stress, improve your relationships, and boost your happiness! It may even help train your brain to be more sensitive to the experience of gratitude in the future, which is great news for long-term wellbeing.
So try jotting down a few things you’re grateful for on a regular basis—you can keep it private or share it, do it every day or every few days—find what works for you!
4. Make time for friends and family (and friends who are family)
Spending time with friends and family can boost your mood and sense of wellbeing, protect your memory, and even strengthen your immune system. Plus, people who have more social support tend to live longer too.
So set up that next friend date. Strike up a conversation with a colleague. Linger over family dinner…investing in positive relationships makes you happier.
5. Try meditation
Taking a few minutes to slow down, focus on the present moment, and breathe, can do wonders to put things in perspective and reset a bad mood. In fact, a regular meditation practice has been shown to help your brain better manage stress—and can even reduce anxiety and depression. How? Simply put, meditation trains your brain to achieve focus, and return to that focus when negative thoughts, emotions, or sensations intrude.
Ready to tap into your inner zen? Find more on the benefits of meditation, plus how to start your practice, here.
6. Do something for fun
This one might sound obvious, but we don’t always give ourselves permission to take a break from the day’s “must-do’s” to do something just for ourselves. Well I think we should! Take some time and lose yourself in a hobby. Go for a walk with a friend. Daydream. Play a game. Play with your dog. Laugh. Read. Buy yourself a coloring book. Watch your favorite movie. Throw a party. Whatever you do…just really let yourself have FUN. You deserve a break from #adulting…and when you get back to it, you’ll return with renewed energy and a positive mindset.
7. Schedule some downtime
Stress can definitely bring down your mood, so be sure you’re scheduling some time to rest each day. Even if it’s just a few minutes to meditate, journal, take a walk, talk with a friend, or nap. Give yourself those daily breathers—schedule them in your calendar if you have to—and I bet you’ll find you’re happier, and more productive in your “on-time” as well.
8. Get your beauty rest
If you stick to a (mostly) consistent sleep schedule and get around 7-9 hours of sleep a night—you’re doing your brain a huge favor. A good night’s sleep clears waste from your brain (which keeps your mind sharp), helps store memories, and regulates mood.
So get your beauty rest, girl! Rested people = happier people.
9. Drink more water
Dehydration can make you tired and agitated. And 75% of us are living life chronically dehydrated! So, when in doubt, drink some water. A good rule of thumb is to drink between half an ounce and an ounce of water for each pound you weigh, every day—more if you exercise (and lose water via sweat), if it’s hot out, or if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding. Try keeping a water bottle on your desk or within arm’s reach—it’ll make it easier to remember to stay hydrated throughout the day.
10. Take a Vitamin D supplement
Low levels of Vitamin D have been correlated with depression, so taking a daily supplement is a good idea, especially if you live in a cloudy, northern climate where you may not be able to get enough sunlight in the winter months. I always recommend checking with your doctor about starting a new supplement, however, for many people supplementing with at least 2000IU daily can be necessary. And even more if you’re deficient! Be sure to get your levels checked by a practitioner before supplementing over 2000IU.
If you’re currently taking a supplement, be mindful that you’re also getting enough magnesium, which is essential for vitamin D absorption. Also, it’s super important to make sure you’re choosing high-quality, third-party tested, therapeutic supplements so please reach out with any questions you have!
Dealing with a bad mood more than usual lately? Looking for more ways to boost your mood naturally? Please reach out with any questions…or leave a comment below!