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22 Ways to Boost your Mood Naturally

Updated: Oct 1, 2022

Build your self-care tool box with healthy, non-toxic hacks and habits that will uplift you when you need it.

Frustrated by a phone call or text? Disappointed that something isn’t going your way? Sad after reading something online? Or just having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day? Even minor disappointments and frustrations can derail your commitment to yourself. Before you can count to ten, the wine is splashing into the glass or the Cheez-it box is half empty. Pay close attention to what makes you want to say, ‘Eff it.” and reach for “just one.”

The key to winning here is to make a quick shift – a redirecting action. Keep your toolbox stocked with a few go-to hacks that you can lean into to boost your mood naturally when you feel a bad decision coming on.

Leaving the irritant to simmer leads to boiling over, aka drinking or emotional overeating. Instead of telling yourself that these harmful toxins are a happy pill, a stress reliever, or a numbing agent, have a stocked toolbox of natural serotonin and dopamine (the “feel-good” hormones) uplifting go-tos to help reset your mind’s framework or just to take a little break.

I made a big list of ideas since what works for me might not for you in that minute, day or ever. Find the ones you like and maybe jot them in your notepad on your phone so you can quickly pull them up in a pinch.

Below are 22 ways to boost your mood naturally and that don’t require a drink, a pill or a pint of ice cream.

1. Laugh more often (and hard.)

Just the act of laughter causes serotonin release, which makes us feel better immediately. Who doesn’t love to laugh? Watch a video by John Crist or Trey Kennedy on YouTube or Instagram.

2. Exercise.

You knew this one was going to be on the list. There is a reason that we will force ourselves to workout even when we don’t want to because we know how good we will feel after it’s over. We want the rush. You don’t have to 5K train here to get the benefits. Just walk. You can do it anywhere, but do it outside. Swim or tread water. Pick up some medium to heavy dumbbells and do some reps. Do some squats or wall pushups. Practice a few yoga poses. Go whack pickleballs on a back board

3. Pet your fur baby.

Snuggle your pet for a few minutes. Loving your animals creates an immediate surge of joy for both of you! For an even bigger boost, take your dog for a walk.

4. Get out in the sun.

These days, we spend most of our time indoors, sitting at a desk under artificial lighting, watching tv, shopping. Even most exercising is done inside. Fifteen minutes of sunlight for the vitamin D benefits + fresh air works wonders to boost your soul.

5. Ground.

It sounds woo woo, but it’s based on the science of the earth’s electromagnetic field energy. Ground yourself outside for 5 minutes by standing barefoot outside on the earth, grass, sand, whatever. Notice how it feels on your feet and let the sensation fill your entire body.

6. Water your garden or potted plants.

Taking care of your little green plant lives will make you happy. If you need a simple hobby, grow an indoor herb garden. It’s so much return for very little work.

7. Treat yourself to fresh flowers.

An inexpensive bouquet is worth twice its weight in fragrance and eye appeal. Pick one or

two up cheap ($4-10) at Trader Joes, Wegmans, Costco, Walmart and most grocery stores.

8. Eat some fresh healthy food.

A piece of fresh fruit, preferably organic, is the holy grail of what’s good for you and your gut. Eating fresh, raw food will immediately boost your mood naturally, plus it will physically make you feel better by giving you energy from healthy sources.

9. Take probiotics.

You know that nervous feeling in your stomach before you stand up to give a presentation? That is your gut talking to your brain. So keeping it happy and clean will make you feel better all over. This is a proactive booster that you need to but into your routine along with supplements.

“I can foresee more widespread usage of probiotics in the treatment of mental health, especially since most people can tolerate them well,” says Aparna Iyer, MD, assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. The gut has been called a “second brain” because it produces many of the same neurotransmitters as the brain does, like serotonin, dopamine, and gamma-aminobutyric acid, all of which play a key role in regulating mood. In fact, it is estimated that 90% of serotonin is made in the digestive tract.

10. Meditate.

I once thought meditation was phooey. That was before I understood it and saw how it works. Meditating creates a bona fide reboot in your brain and body because it gives you a sense of calm, peace and balance that can benefit both your emotional well-being and your overall health. You can also use it to relax and cope with stress by refocusing your attention on something calming. Use an app like Insight Timer or Simple Habits to get started.

11. Eat dark chocolate.

Dark Chocolate, specifically cacao (the unprocessed seeds from which chocolate is made), has a positive effect on mood due to its flavanols, which convert chemicals into the natural mood stabilizer serotonin.

Studies show the taste, texture and smell make us happy. Go for a minimum of 70% cacao, just don't over do it of course. Respect the chocolate.

ChocZero is my favorite brand. They use monk fruit and have zero sugar or sugar alcohols. And the varieties are plentiful and delicious. Use this link for $10 off your first order of $30.

12. Make a mental gratitude list. Better yet, write it down.

When you feel a little down or overwhelmed, sit and list at least five things you are grateful for. As the gratitude starts to rush in, there isn’t much room left for melancholy. My top six are: My family’s health, people who love me, the roof over my head, a car that takes me wherever I want to go, clean fresh water to drink, never going truly hungry. I definitely lean into Maslow’s hierarchy of needs; your gratitude list is yours alone and can be anything you feel grateful for.

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13. Aromatherapy

All essential oils come from plants, and many can have medicinal properties. One study found that bergamot, lavender, and lemon essential oils are particularly therapeutic by triggering your brain to release dopamine.

You may have to do a little trial and error to find your soul scent. You might want to go to a store where you can smell a few.

Chances are you probably know someone who is a direct seller of Young Living who follows their product from seed to seal and is the only brand I will use. To order click here:

14. Grab a Nap

I used to think naps were a sign of my weakness or aging and would grab a hit of caffeine or sugar at 3:00 to try to get my eyes to stay opened. My functional health practitioner is helping me change all those misguided ways of thinking. When your very intelligent body talks to you, pay attention. Remember, sleep is your body's way of healing itself so if you are exhausted, listen.

15. Read a real book

Sit in your favorite chair and grab a book. Self-help, true crime, a devotional. Something that will give you a fast fix. Books let you quickly escape from your current thought pattern.

16. Go to a Coffee Shop by yourself.

Order something fancy. Pull out your phone and headphones, or fire up your tablet and watch something or write. The smell of the fresh ground beans coupled with a few calm minutes makes for a surefire boost.

17. Organize something.

I’m not advising that you go all Marie Kondo on your space. All you need to spark some joy is to tidy up something simple: Towel piles in the linen closet. The serving utensil drawer. Your vanity area. Your underwear and sock drawer. Creating order is an automatic mood boost.

18. Go to the car wash.

A clean car makes you feel like you are taking charge of your life, amiright? Use the power vacuum, too. It’s so satisfying to watch all that dirt get sucked up and out of your space.

19. Blast it.

Turn up your jam and let loose-80’s tunes, electronic dance, the Grateful Dead -whatever it is you can find it on amazon music, YouTube, or the oldies FM station. Make it loud and dance it out! Maybe you do it everyday at 3pm when you hit your slump time.

Music is one of the fastest, most universal ways to boost your mood naturally. This is a good one if a little nostalgia will pull you away for a bit.

20. Pay it Forward (or backward actually)

When you get to the window at the drive thru, ask how much the person’s bill is behind you and offer to pay for it. This is probably safest at coffee shops and during breakfast.

S21. end someone a card.

I LOVE getting cards. I recently had hip surgery and I got a card from my mom who is a gold medal card sender and from my pickleball tournament partner. These cards were of course the best part of my recovery. It’s so simple, but so thoughtful and the recipient feels that. Plus thinking about someone you care about gives a boost. Send someone a note or a greeting card for no reasons at all.

22. Reach out and text (or call) someone.

Connection is super important in daily life. When you reach out and let someone know you're thinking about them, it creates a major surge in dopamine for the sender and receiver.

What's better than hearing, "Hey. Just thinking about you today" or "Checking in! How is everything going?"

Bonus section-No Nos:

The following are perceived remedies to lift our spirits and make us feel better, but because of their destructive qualities they actually do the exact opposite.


1. Consume sugary sweets and candy. This creates a quick, false fix followed by a long low.

2. Eat refined carbohydrates like bread and pasta. You’ll be bloated and full of regret.

3. Hit the hooch. It will make everything worse.

Love yourself enough to be your biggest fan. Take care of yourself first and best.

*None of the advice here should replace that of your physician. This is simply the writer’s opinion and experience.


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