Feeling Down? Here’s 7 Ways To Boost Your Mood Naturally
without the need for medication
Depression is one of the leading mental health disorders worldwide and in Australia, around one million adults are diagnosed with depression each year.
We all experience low moods.
Some people might feel low at certain times or around specific events.
Others may find it a struggle to get out of bed in the morning.
It’s important to recognise your mood and actively boost yourself to ensure good mental health.
If you’re feeling down, there’s a number of steps you can take to boost your mood naturally without the need for medication
What causes low mood?
Low mood can be caused by numerous factors including:
- Life stresses and pressure from work
- A relationship breakup
- Money worries
- Death of a loved one
- Fear of failure
- Low self-esteem
- Diet and lifestyle
- Genetic factors
How to lift your mood without medication
Step #1 – Get enough sleep
Getting good quality sleep is essential for your mental health. As is going to bed at the right times. When we sleep our bodies heal and repair and our brains process information and consolidate memories. Between 9pm and 12am, our brain secretes a hormone called Human Growth Hormone (HGH) which is vital for many cognitive functions. Low levels of HGH causes mood swings, irritability, anxiety and sadness. If you go to bed too late (after 10pm), you’re missing out on the HGH sleep phase which could be contributing to your low mood.
Step #2 – Eat well
A healthy, balanced diet is key for keeping your mood in check. Not eating for long periods of time or simply eating the wrong types of food (i.e. lots of refined carbs and sugars) leads to erratic blood sugar levels and behavioural changes. Feeding your brain with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, good sources of fats (avocado, olive oil, nuts/ seeds) and lean protein such as fish, eggs and beans/ legumes is essential for good mental health.
Step #3 – Go out into nature
Spending time outside in nature has shown to have a positive effect on the brain. According to a recent study on ecotherapy, there is a strong connection between time spent in nature and the reduction of stress, depression and anxiety. Walking barefoot on the grass, gardening, mowing the lawn, planting vegetables, exercising outside or going to a farm are therapeutic examples of being in nature.
Step #4 – Stay active
Daily exercise is important for your mental health. When we exercise, we release feel-good hormones called endorphins which boost our mood and enhance our sense of wellbeing. You don’t need to go for a ten-kilometre run, it could be a simple as walking around the block or doing some Tai chi.
Step #5 – Be social
Hanging out with friends and loved ones is a sure-fire way to lift your mood and make yourself feel good. Surround yourself with people who lift you up and ditch those who are toxic and bring you down.
Step #6 – Ask for support
If you’re struggling with low mood, don’t go it alone, reach out for support. There is always someone you can talk to – a friend or family member, a counsellor, a work colleague or a crisis line. We’re not superhuman and everyone needs help from time to time.
Step #7 – Avoid mood-depressing habits
In times of stress, it’s easy to fall prey to mood-depressing habits such as alcohol, caffeine (coffee and energy drinks), drugs and junk food. Gorging on takeaways and gulping down a few glasses of wine may feel good in the short term but over time, it will take its toll and negatively affect your mood. Regular consumption of drugs and alcohol alters your brain chemistry, lowering levels of serotonin (the feel-good hormone) causing mood swings and depression.
Prevent depression naturally
Feeling down on a regular basis can affect how you function and live your life. By making some small dietary and lifestyle changes you can boost your mood naturally. Good quality sleep, eating well and getting out into nature are little steps you can take to start feeling happier and healthier.