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Five Surprising (Science-backed) Ways to Boost Your Mood Naturally

Whether you struggle with a serious mental illness like anxiety or depression or just want to feel a little happier and more energetic, there are lots of simple, natural ways that you can improve your mood. Some supplements such as GABA and Lithium Orotate show strong promise of addressing depression naturally. This article discusses some ways to address moods that are negative but not quite considered depression.

Natural Mood Boosters

The Science of mood-related disorders is a well-aged field yet there are still many mysteries. Depression, both physical and mental, present themselves in such varying degrees and wide ranges of circumstances that narrowing down specific causes have been difficult. Without cause, one can hardly begin the quest for a cure. Nonetheless, the following compounds and/or activities have demonstrated significant clinical results in their impact on mood.

1. St. John’S Wort

St. John’s Wort is a European herb that many swear by for naturally improving mood. Some studies show that it may work just as well as a prescription antidepressant for people who suffer from mild or moderate depression [1].

St. John’s Wort comes in tablet or capsule form and can be purchased at your local pharmacy or health foods store.

Keep in mind that it takes about two months for most people to experience the herb’s full benefits, so don’t throw in the towel if you don’t experience improvements right away.

2. Essential Oils

Many different kinds of essential oils have been shown to help relieve stress and improve mood.

Some oils that are especially helpful for reducing anxiety and promoting positive feelings include [2][3]:

  • Spearmint
  • Lavender
  • Geranium
  • Orange
  • Rosemary
  • Peppermint
  • Ylang-Ylang
  • Bergamot

One of the easiest ways to reap the benefits of essential oils is to diffuse them throughout your home. You can also mix them with a carrier oil and rub them directly on your skin.

3. Get A Massage

Regular massages can boost levels of serotonin, the neurotransmitter responsible for regulating mood [4]. Massages also help reduce the levels of stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. When stress is lowered, it’s easier to feel happier and more positive about life in general.

One study found that massage decreased cortisol by an average of 31 percent and increased serotonin by an average of 28 percent.

If you can’t afford regular massages, invest in a foam roller or massage ball instead. They’re not just toys — these tools can help relieve muscle aches and pains and help boost your mood from the comfort of your own home.

4. Vitamin D

A Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to increased risk of mood disorders, including depression. This is especially true for people who are elderly or chronically ill.

The following people are also prone to Vitamin D deficiency:

  • Vegetarians
  • Vegans
  • People who don’t drink milk
  • People who don’t get regular sun exposure

Consuming foods like fish liver oil, salmon, mackerel, and tuna can help you get a sufficient amount of Vitamin D [5]. Organs meats like beef liver are other good sources, as are cheese and egg yolks.

Exposing yourself to sunlight for short periods of time can also boost your vitamin D levels. Aim for 5-30 minutes at least two times a week. Remember, too, that the best time to go outside for maximum sun exposure is between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.

5. Meditation

Like St. John’s Wort, meditation has also been revealed to also be just as effective as antidepressants at improving mood [6]. Meditation may also reduce anxiety, improve pain tolerance, and lower blood pressure.

One of the most studied forms of meditation is mindfulness meditation, which involves sitting quietly and focusing on the breath in order to stay focused on the present moment.

Other popular types of meditation include:

  • Transcendental meditation, which involves repeating a mantra to calm the mind and improve awareness
  • Loving-kindness meditation, which involves sending positive thoughts to yourself and others
  • Walking meditation, which involves focusing on the body and breath while walking slowly and deliberately

Final Thoughts

If you’re struggling with depression or just feel like you need a little help improving your mood, these five natural methods may just do the trick. Every person has individual needs that can’t be addressed by any article you’ll read online. Depression and anxiety are serious issues and understanding your unique physiological composition is essential to tackling them. The compounds listed here have each shown potential in helping to address these issues and are generally regarded as safe to experiment with.

References

  1. Davidson, Johnathan et al. “St. John’s Wort and Depression: In Depth.” National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 4 Jan. 2018, nccih.nih.gov/health/stjohnswort/sjw-and-depression.htm.
  2. Lehrner, J. “Ambient Odors of Orange and Lavender Reduce Anxiety and Improve Mood in a Dental Office.” Physiology & Behavior, Elsevier, 10 Aug. 2005, www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0031938405002660.
  3. Moss, M, et al. “Aromas of Rosemary and Lavender Essential Oils Differentially Affect Cognition and Mood in Healthy Adults.” The International Journal of Neuroscience., U.S. National Library of Medicine, Jan. 2003, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12690999.
  4. Field, T, et al. “Cortisol Decreases and Serotonin and Dopamine Increase Following Massage Therapy.” The International Journal of Neuroscience., U.S. National Library of Medicine, Oct. 2005, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16162447.
  5. National Institutes of Health. “Office of Dietary Supplements – Vitamin D.” NIH Office of Dietary Supplements, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2 Mar. 2018, ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-HealthProfessional/.
  6. Kuyken, W, et al. “The Effectiveness and Cost-Effectiveness of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy Compared with Maintenance Antidepressant Treatment in the Prevention of Depressive Relapse/Recurrence: Results of a Randomised Controlled Trial (the PREVENT Study).” Health Technology Assessment (Winchester, England)., U.S. National Library of Medicine, Sept. 2015, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26379122.