chocolate on a plate

6 Great Tips for Getting a Natural Mood Boost

Susan Hunter Mental Health Leave a Comment

Everyone experiences a dip in mood at some point and many of us already have ways of managing it, whether we are aware of it or not.

Some people reach for a few squares of chocolate, which triggers the release of endorphins. Others opt for some retail therapy while fitness junkies may do a double session at the gym.

Depression treatment for chronic sufferers may require the help of a health practitioner, and its causes can be multi-factorial. People who suffer from anxiety, stress or depression should also consider getting tested for Pyrrole disorder, a common cause of those symptoms which is treatable.

But for the more day-to-day stuff, there are lots of low-fi ways to tackle the blues that are vastly cheaper than a shop-a-thon.

Get outdoors daily

Getting outside within an hour of waking, helps raise your serotonin levels. By routinely being outside in the sunshine to exercise or get to school or work you are boosting your serotonin receptors.

stress danger signsMove your body. Often

Yoga or some form of stretching can be a wonderful depression treatment, but any form of physical exertion is going to help. The key is to make it regular, no matter how relaxed it is. Any regular exercise will make a world of difference to your mood. And here’s the clincher: exercising because you want to, not because you’re being forced to, has been found to be as effective as taking anti-depressant medication.

Boost your magnesium

Magnesium helps us avoid depression and anxiety by exerting its effect in the N-methyl-D-aspartic (NMDA) pathway. It plays a role as a cofactor in making gamma amino butyric acid (GABA), a nervous system calming neurotransmitter.

What does that mean? You can boost magnesium as a depression treatment by adding a few things into your diet. Foods like spinach, almonds, figs, bananas, avocado and dark chocolate are all good for boosting magnesium.

Eat protein at meal and snack times

In order to produce serotonin to balance mood we need to have adequate tryptophan in the daily diet. Tryptophan is an amino acid derived from protein that is a cofactor for making serotonin, our feel good hormone. Eating small amounts of good-quality protein from animal and vegetable sources is the best way to ensure you have a wide array of amino acids in your diet. Other amino acids that are cofactors for making crucial mood stabilising neurotransmitters include glutamine for making GABA and tyrosine for making dopamine.

Get a vitamin B6 lift

If you suffer from mood swings, anxiety, insomnia and digestive problems you could be low in vitamin B6. B6 is a crucial cofactor for serotonin production. You need adequate vitamin B6 to convert 5 hydroxytryptophan to serotonin. Foods rich in vitamin B6 include legumes, root vegetables and whole grains. Speak with your health practitioner about the need for supplementation.

Get hugging

Hugging has been studied and found to not only raise serotonin levels but a hug also raises your oxytocin and dopamine levels. You also get a release of endorphins when you give someone a hug meaning there is a feeling of pleasure experienced. If you do not have a loved one to hug having a furry pet to cuddle or receiving a massage come close a second. Touch and connection is good on every level.


Susan Hunter
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