30+ Best Natural Mood Boosters in 2021 [Science-Based]
Feeling like you need to cheer up?
Sometimes you might find yourself in a bad mood because of external factors or for no apparent reason.
But don’t feel lost when this happens!
There are some simple and effective natural mood boosters you can use to quickly lift your mood!
With this in mind, we’ll look at 30+ natural mood boosters you can use next time you’re feeling the blues!
Let’s get started!
30+ Best Natural Mood Boosters to Brighten Your Day
Oftentimes you might experience a mood drop because of a stressful lifestyle and anxiety. In these situations, meditation is a very effective way to reduce your stress levels and feel better.
To meditate, all you need is a quiet place, a comfortable position (lying down or sitting), and closed eyes.
Once you settle in, try to focus on your breathing. If your mind wanders off to other thoughts, simply observe them passing by, and try to bring back your attention to the meditation.
But don’t feel discouraged if you can’t stay in a meditative state for a long time. It’s very challenging to release your mind from everyday thoughts and focus solely on your breathing.
The best results come with practice. You’ll see a gradual improvement even if you regularly meditate for only 5 minutes a day.
When you’re ready, you can increase your meditation time to 5-10 minutes a day or whatever your schedule allows.
You’ll feel better with meditation incorporated into your routine. That’s because once you’re in a meditative state, you escape the noise of everyday life. You reflect on your emotions and you might even understand what causes your bad mood.
This will help you bring inner peace and you’ll feel much better!
#2. Get More Sunlight
If you’re not getting enough sunlight, you might be suffering from vitamin D deficiency. The lack of sunlight might cause you mood swings and symptoms of depression.
Many people find themselves feeling lethargic and more depressed during the fall and winter seasons because they don’t get enough sunlight.
These symptoms are associated with a condition called “winter depression” or seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
To fight off such symptoms, you should spend more time outdoors whenever there’s sunlight because it directly affects your serotonin levels. This way, you will brighten up your day, feel more energized, and increase your happiness.
You can also invest in a light therapy lamp. These lamps emit bright light, similar to the sunlight.
You can turn the lamp on for 15-20 minutes every day and sit in front of it while you’re working or doing some other chores. This can alleviate your winter depression symptoms and improve your mood.
#3. Take Health Supplements
You can also try taking natural supplements like Joy-Filled. This supplement combines 7 carefully-selected herbs - Rhodiola Rosea, Ashwagandha, St. John's Wort, lemon balm leaf, Ginkgo Biloba, Gotu Kola, and Eleuthero.
These herbs help your body cope with stress and anxiety by increasing the production of GABA - a neurotransmitter with a calming effect.
The ingredients also promote an improved mood and fight off symptoms of depression. They increase your serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine levels - the hormones responsible for a stable positive mood.
With this well-balanced herbal selection, you’ll achieve a calm state of mind, natural mood boost, and more energy.
#4. Practice Random Acts of Kindness
By practicing random acts of kindness, you make both your day and someone else’s day better!
This can significantly make you feel better about yourself, cheer you up, and boost your confidence.
Performing random acts of kindness, no matter their size, can make you forget why you were in a bad mood in the first place. Instead, you substitute your blues with feelings of happiness, emotional warmth, and self-worth.
By committing a compassionate act, you trigger the production of dopamine, resulting in increased happiness.
You can practice random acts of kindness with your loved ones, friends, neighbors, strangers, and even non-profit organizations.
Here are some ideas:
- Plant a tree.
- Smile at a stranger who looks sad.
- Donate old clothes to a nursing home or an orphanage.
- Buy a meal for someone in need.
#5. Exercise Regularly
You might have heard that physically active people are happier.
And you might have noticed yourself that after a workout you feel more uplifted and energetic. It’s because exercise changes your brain chemistry and promotes the release of serotonin and dopamine.
Even if you’re not a fan of exercise, you can try to incorporate a light 30-minute walk several times a week. You will notice an improvement in your mood and a reduction in your anxiety and symptoms of depression.
You can also try jogging, pilates, cycling, or going to the gym.
#6. Get Enough Sleep
Did you know that sleep directly affects your mood? If you don’t get enough sleep (7-9 hours for adults) or you experience poor sleep quality, don’t be surprised if you feel grumpy, anxious, or low on energy the next day.
Good sleep is essential for your overall well-being and mood.
If you have trouble falling asleep or can’t sleep well during the night try to:
- Make your room dark and cool before bedtime.
- Go to bed and wake up at the same time.
- Avoid long afternoon naps.
- Avoid these foods that prevent sleep.
- Don’t commit to intense workouts before bedtime.
- Try taking natural sleep supplements.
- Do something relaxing before sleep and stay away from bright screens.
To boost your mood, incorporate stretching into your daily routine. It’s a great alternative if you can’t perform more intense exercises.
Stretching provides many benefits like improved flexibility and prevention of physical injuries.
Additionally, it increases the production of endorphins which make you feel happier. You’ll also feel more content with yourself because you’ll have better flexibility. Stretching also helps release the tension stored in your muscles.
You can stretch every morning or whenever you find free time during the day for 10-15 minutes. Just try to relax and hold each pose for about 30 seconds. Over time you will notice an improvement in your mood and flexibility.
#8. Laugh More
Laughter is an immediate mood booster. When you laugh, your body produces more endorphins. Laughter is about communicating your emotions and feeling connected to others. It also reduces feelings of anxiety, depression, and even pain.
It’s no surprise that people with bad moods laugh much less. If you don’t know how to get into a fun mood, here are a few suggestions:
- Watch a funny TV show or a movie.
- Play games with friends.
- Get a pet.
- Hang out with friends who know how to make you laugh.
#9. Hug a Loved One
When you feel down, just hug your friend, relative, or even your pet. When you hug, you release more of the “happiness hormones” and you produce more oxytocin also known as the “bonding hormone”. Oxytocin is also believed to reduce pain and improve your immune system.
When you hug, you improve your mood and feel more content and relaxed. It’s because oxytocin also helps reduce your stress levels. You naturally feel calmer when you’re hugging your loved ones.
So, next time you have the blues, just hug it out and feel better!
#10. Listen to Music
Music is a great therapy for mood management. However, you should carefully select the type of music you listen to. If you’re in a bad mood and listen to sad music, it might only make things worse.
Instead, choose upbeat and energetic music. Many researchers find a direct correlation between improved mood and listening to uplifting music.
To enjoy a better mood with music, just prepare a set of headphones and a playlist with songs. Listen to them whenever you can - on your commute, while doing some house chores, or in the shower.
#11. Stay Hydrated
Your body is about 60% water. Dehydration can affect you negatively because it destroys your body’s natural balance.
When you don’t drink enough water you might feel anxious, low on energy, and irritable. It’s because dehydration also decreases the levels of serotonin and dopamine in your brain.
To improve your mood and feel more relaxed, drink a glass of water. You’ll immediately feel better!
But don’t wait to feel thirsty. Instead, try to keep hydrated throughout the day. You can always carry a bottle of water, drink a glass of water before your meal, or add some flavor to your water.
#12. Detox Your Body
Did you know your gut bacteria are responsible for the production of many important neurochemicals?
Your brain uses these neurochemicals to regulate your mental and physiological processes.
Serotonin is also partially produced in the gut. So, if your gut bacteria is imbalanced or if you’ve accumulated too many toxins, you will produce an insufficient amount of serotonin. This imbalance results in more anxiety, stress, and depression symptoms.
To restore the balance in your gut, you can change your diet, eat more whole foods, and drink a detoxifying green powder smoothie during the day.
Once you reduce the toxin levels in your gut, you’ll be able to produce more serotonin to improve your mood.
#13. Surround Yourself with Bright Colors
Dull colors like grey, brown, black, and white affect your mood negatively. And if these colors dominate everything around you - your clothes, house, room, and even outside, it’s no wonder you’ll feel sad most of the time.
Instead, try wearing and surrounding yourself with bright colors like pink, red, yellow, and orange. These colors affect you visually, making you feel more energetic and happy because they stimulate the production of dopamine.
To feel more relaxed and to reduce stress, choose blue and green colors because they increase the production of oxytocin in your body.
#14. Practice Yoga
Yoga is an exercise for your body and mind. Yoga has existed for thousands of years and is known to reduce stress and to help achieve inner peace and physical relaxation.
Yoga is a great way to reduce symptoms of depression and insomnia. Practicing yoga can also lead to better self-awareness, self-control, and improved well-being.
With yoga, you’ll also notice an increase in your physical endurance, flexibility, and energy along with stronger feelings of contentment, compassion, and serenity.
Don’t worry if you’re a complete beginner. Just choose the yoga style you like and take a beginner class while practicing at your own pace.
#15. Include Mood-Boosting Foods in Your Diet
A few essential vitamins and minerals can boost your mood and prevent anxiety, mood swings, tiredness, irritability, and sadness.
These vitamins and minerals include:
Omega-3 and Omega-6
Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids are essential for proper brain function. They improve your cognition, alertness, and mood.
Because your body can’t produce them on its own, you need to get them from your food.
Foods rich in Omega-3 and Omega-6 are:
- Flax seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
- Brussels sprouts
Vitamin B Complex
The vitamin B complex controls your mood and energy. The complex includes vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, and B12.
Each one plays a key role in your bodily functions like energy production, hormone regulation, and brain function among others.
A deficiency of any B vitamin might lead to an unstable mood and tiredness.
Foods rich in the vitamin B complex are:
- Dairy products
- Poultry and red meat
- Leafy greens
Magnesium is essential for balancing your stress hormones. So, if you’re often under stress, you might want to include these types of foods in your diet:
- Dark chocolate
- Lima beans
Vitamin D is essential for the production of serotonin (which is why getting enough sunlight impacts your mood).
You can also get vitamin D from sources like:
- Red meat
- Egg yolks
- Orange juice
#16. Take a Break from Social Media
When was the last time you took a break from social media?
Social media is a major part of modern life that influences your behavior, feelings, and mood.
Going on social media can make you feel more depressed and lonely. So, taking a break from your social media accounts can bring a positive change in your mood.
Taking a break from social media might seem challenging at first because it’s one of the major communication channels we use.
However, you can start off small. Try reducing your time on social media gradually. Then, set a goal - whether you want to take a break for 3-4 days, a week, or even a month.
Dancing is not only a fun social activity but it’s also a good reinforcement for your mood and overall health.
When you dance you release tension, stress, and anxiety. At the same time, you produce more serotonin and dopamine. In turn, you feel better and improve your cognition and coordination.
So, if you take a fun dancing class, dance in the house, or go out clubbing, you’ll find yourself feeling better and more content once you start moving.
#18. Regulate Your Caffeine Intake
Do you drink more than 5 cups of coffee a day?
Coffee boosts your energy levels in the short term. When taken in moderate amounts caffeine can also boost your mood. But if you overdose on caffeine, it might actually have a negative effect on your mood and make you jittery and irritable.
Also, caffeine withdrawal symptoms can include headaches, anxiety, fatigue, and symptoms of depression.
To avoid these drawbacks, make sure you drink less than 4-5 cups of coffee a day (about 400 mg caffeine).
If you’re taking any other energy boosters make sure to count their caffeine also.
#19. Reduce Your Alcohol Consumption
Having a glass of wine after a long stressful day might make you feel better and more relaxed at first.
But using alcohol as a coping mechanism and reaching out for it too often can make you feel more anxious and depressed in the long run.
Because alcohol is a depressant, it affects your central nervous system and changes the chemistry in your brain. Alcohol also leads to higher blood pressure, increased risk of heart diseases, and even cancer.
To avoid these adverse effects, try to limit your alcohol intake and reduce it gradually (normal alcohol intake for women is 1 drink per day, and for men - 2 drinks per day).
#20. Avoid Procrastination
Do you procrastinate often? You’re not the only one. Procrastination is a common human tendency.
You might feel the urge to procrastinate if you feel overwhelmed by chores or a larger project.
However, the more you procrastinate, the more anxious and stressed you feel as your deadline approaches. Procrastination is a huge obstacle standing between you and your good mood.
To overcome this habit, you can try several things:
- Break each large task into smaller tasks.
- Keep a to-do list.
- Finish the easier tasks first.
Once you have a list of all your tasks and tackle the easiest ones first, this will immediately boost your mood and confidence. This way you’ll feel less stressed and ready to continue with the more challenging work.
#21. Cut Out Your Sugar Consumption
If you feel down, you might want to reach out for a sugary snack to cheer you up. But the short-term sugar rush that triggers the production of dopamine in your brain does more harm than good.
Once the sugar is out of your system, you’ll experience a blood sugar crash and feel more fatigued. Consuming high amounts of sugar (the daily recommended dose for men is 36 grams and for women - 25 grams) is also directly related to more intense anxiety
Reducing your sugar intake can increase your energy and improve your focus.
To cut down your sugar consumption, try to:
- Substitute sugary snacks with fruits.
- Substitute soda drinks with sugar-free flavored water.
- Drink tea and coffee without sugar.
- Substitute artificial sweeteners and added sugar with natural sugars.
#22. Make More Time for Resting and Self-Care
When was the last time you had some “me” time?
Taking a break from your daily routine and all the chores to do something you like can significantly boost your mood.
Self-care comes in all shapes and forms. It might be taking a small lunch break, going to a spa, or talking to a friend. Anything that will make you feel better counts.
Also, don’t forget to treat yourself and book some resting time in your schedule at least 1-2 times a week.
#23. Try Aromatherapy
Smell is the strongest of your senses and it directly affects your emotional state. Some scents can make you feel more energized, decrease symptoms of depression, and improve your mood.
These scents include:
- Ylang Ylang
You can pick your favorite scent and put a couple of drops of essential oil into water in the room where you stay the most. Or you can put some on your wrists and neck so the smell stays with you throughout the day.
#24. Start a Mood Journal
If you find yourself feeling sad or anxious for no obvious reason, you can start a mood journal.
It’s like a regular journal, but instead of recording your activities, you focus on your emotions and thoughts.
When you let yourself express your feelings on paper you might notice you feel less frustrated, anxious, and stressed.
Journaling can even help you understand the underlying cause of why you felt bad in the first place. It can help you overcome and control feelings of sadness and frustration for the future.
#25. Start Your Day with a Positive Affirmation
Often we wake up and immediately start our daily chores. When you’re in autopilot mode, you let your mood set the tone for the rest day. So, if you wake up in a bad mood, you’ll carry that with you wherever you go.
Instead, you can intentionally start the day with a positive affirmation of gratitude. Just think about and write down the things you’re grateful for. This effective mood booster reminds us of what we have - whether it’s your job, family, a good friend, or your child.
We sometimes tend to take many things for granted. Writing them down can put us in a good mood for the whole day.
#26. Go for Acupuncture Therapy
Acupuncture has been used for thousands of years in traditional Chinese medicine to cure discomfort like headaches, back pain, and menstrual cramps. It can also improve hormone imbalances and emotional symptoms like anxiety, depression, and stress.
In Chinese medicine, it is believed that such pain and imbalances are caused by a block in your energy flow (also known as Qi). Acupuncture therapy removes such blockages by restoring your energy balance and improving your mood.
The experience of acupuncture differs for everyone. You might need one session or possibly several sessions to feel the effects. Most people report feeling content and relaxed after acupuncture, while others feel energized.
#27. Take a Long and Relaxing Bath
Want a quick mood booster? Just hop into the bathtub for 15-20 minutes and you’ll immediately feel better!
It’s because a bath session is very relaxing and can take your stress and muscle pain away.
It can also reduce symptoms of depression because it increases your body temperature. A higher body temperature will help you sleep better and it stimulates the production of serotonin.
A relaxing bath gives you the opportunity to slow down and enjoy a break from your busy daily routine. You can even throw in a bath bomb or a couple of drops of essential oils to make your bath even more festive!
#28. Listen to Specific Brainwaves
It’s another simple but powerful way to boost your mood!
You can find specific audio recordings at each brainwave frequency.
Brainwaves are the electrical pulses produced by neurons in your brain. There are several types of brainwaves - alpha, beta, gamma, theta, and delta. Different brainwaves correspond to different states of mind and moods.
For example, theta and delta waves are produced when you’re sleeping, while beta and gamma are usually produced when you’re wide awake and alert.
Alpha brainwaves relax your mood and reduce stress, anxiety, and symptoms of depression. Your brain produces them right after you wake up, before you go to sleep, and when you’re daydreaming.
#29. Call Someone You Miss
You miss someone you love? Just call them!
Hearing the voice of a loved one has the same effect as a hug. Your body releases oxytocin and you immediately enjoy a better mood.
If you want to catch up with an old friend or a relative you haven’t seen in a while, you should just call them. If you’re thinking about sending them a text message instead, you should know it won’t boost your mood as much as hearing their voice.
#30. Look at Old Photos
Did you know that looking at old photos is a better mood booster than music, chocolate, or even having a glass of wine?
Reminiscing about old memories can immediately make you feel better and reduce symptoms of depression and feelings of sadness.
To be prepared for the next time you feel a bit down, select some of your favorite photos from your phone and print them. Then, put the photos into albums or place them around your house so you can glance at them from time to time.
#31. Look at Beautiful Views
Looking at aesthetically pleasing views has a positive effect on your mood.
You can find a spot near you to look at beautiful scenery for 5-10 minutes a day. Other options include going to a local art gallery or finding beautiful architecture.
Beautiful views like these ones can have a positive effect on your mental and physical well-being. Aside from improving your mood, this experience can also reduce your blood pressure and heart rate, making you feel more relaxed and tranquil.
#32. Take a Break for Dreaming
If you feel pressured by work, house chores, and your busy schedule, take a small break and stop thinking about your responsibilities.
Let your mind wander for 5-10 minutes and think about your dreams and things that excite you. This action will immediately refresh you while boosting your mood and energy levels.
Sometimes just a small amount of creativity can improve your mood significantly.
#33. Spend More Time in Nature
Spending some time in nature can quickly boost your mood.
Nature has a positive effect on your well-being and it reduces anxiety, stress, and symptoms of depression.
And you don’t have to go on a long trip. Aim for 20-30 minutes in nature, 2-3 times a week. You can either go to a local park or a nearby nature trail.
While enjoying nature, focus on your sensory experiences - the bright colors of tree leaves or the sound of running water. You can even walk barefoot to feel the earth beneath your feet to reconnect with nature even more!
This option leads to increased levels of contentment and relaxation.
As you can see, there are many fun and effective ways you can improve your mood.
Just ensure you’re practicing healthy habits like getting enough sleep, following a nutritious diet, and taking natural mood-boosting supplements.
Pick your favorite methods to improve your mood so next time you feel down you’ll know exactly what to do!
Stay healthy and strong!