A study performed in 2020 during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic found that just 14% of Americans said they were happy. Economic, social, and emotional factors can all contribute to unhappiness. While it may not be possible to avoid your stressors, practicing self-care can make you more emotionally resilient and set you up for better moods. Read on to learn how to improve mood naturally.
When you're feeling down, you may not believe you have the energy to exercise. However, powering through a workout can lead to significant benefits. Exercise is one of the most effective natural ways to boost mood. Walking 5 to 10 minutes can release feel-good chemicals called endorphins that boost mood. In addition, exercise has also been shown to combat stress and reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.
ADOPT AN AFFIRMATION PRACTICE
Make this a habit: before your roll out of bed in the morning, grab your phone and browse websites that feature motivational quotes. Find one that resonates with you and will suit the events of your day. For example, if you have a difficult task to complete at work, find one about perseverance or overcoming obstacles. If you know you're going to be seeing someone who stresses you out, pick a quote about patience or calmness.
Once you have selected a quote, take a screenshot for easy reference. Make it your affirmation for the day. Return to the quote whenever you feel stressed, overwhelmed, or in a slump. Read it a few times and reflect on its meaning for a quick pick-me-up.
A well-balanced diet can help ensure that neurotransmitters in your brain are appropriately balanced and that the rest of your body is nourished and able to function at its best. Foods rich in folate like blueberries, dark chocolate, and leafy greens may support a better mood.
Meditation allows you to turn inward and forget about your surroundings. Studies also show that it can increase alpha waves. Alpha brain waves are one of the five types of waves that your brain produces. They are associated with being awake and alert but still in a relaxed state. When you first wake up in the morning and have yet to complete any task, alpha brain waves are what dominates your thinking patterns. Meditation may make it possible for you to return to that fresh, relaxed state at any time of day.
FIND REASONS TO BE GRATEFUL
Giving thanks reminds you of the positive things in your life, so look for reasons to be grateful all day. You can mentally acknowledge random acts of kindness, relish beautiful weather and celebrate your blessings and successes. Keeping a gratitude journal allows you to go back and reflect on potential sources of happiness on days when you're finding it hard to be thankful.
SET A SCREEN-FREE TIME
Social media may seem like a good way to stay connected, but increasingly, scientists are discovering that it can have negative consequences on mental health. You don't need to give up Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and other sites permanently, but limiting your time on them can go a long way toward improving your mood. Establish a no-screen time where you put your phone out of sight. Turn off sound notifications and lose yourself in an activity that you enjoy.
REAP THE BENEFITS OF ADAPTOGENIC SUPPORT
Mood-boosting supplements can complement the benefits of other get-happy techniques, increasing your ability to balance your mood. Adaptogens are especially powerful for balancing mood. These natural herbs are shown to lessen the effects of stress on both the mind and body. Evidence suggests that adaptogenic herbs may support recovery after exercise and enhance physical and mental endurance.
BEST ADAPTOGENS FOR STRESS AND ANXIETY
If you're looking for natural ways to boost energy and mood, consider adaptogens that research shows offer benefits for anxiety relief and stress reduction. Ashwagandha is one of the best options. For centuries, practitioners of Ayurveda have used extracts from the root of this plant to address symptoms of stress and anxiety. Also known as Indian ginseng, the herb has been shown to reduce the amount of the stress hormone cortisol produced by the adrenal glands and hasten energy production in the mitochondria, the powerhouses contained in the body's cells.
Ashwagandha is generally safe for most people, but it does pose a risk for allergic reactions, side effects, and drug interactions. As a result, you should talk to your doctor before trying it for adaptogen benefits. Supplements that combine ashwagandha with other ingredients shown to support a balanced mood may improve outcomes. Body Kitchen Stress Release also contains magnesium, l-theanine, and GABA, all of which have been shown to help relax or combat stress.