Get some rest
Mental health is an important part of your overall health. It affects how you think, feel, and interact with the outside world. While we all hope to feel happy, it’s normal to go through periods of anxiety and unhappiness. Luckily there are several ways to boost mental health naturally when you’re feeling low.
Getting enough sleep is key to maintaining your mental health and can give you a natural mood boost. The average adult needs between seven and eight hours of sleep each night. This allows both your body and mind to get the rest needed to get you through the day. However, getting in those hours may seem difficult if you’re experiencing anxiety or low mood at night that keeps you awake.
You probably already know what it feels like when you get a bad night’s sleep. The next day you may feel irritable, sluggish, or short-tempered. This is because your quality of sleep affects your mood, just like your mood affects your ability to get a good night’s sleep. To help you get in the right headspace to get ready for bed, create a bedtime routine that you stick to every night. This means turning off devices like the TV or your phone to let your mind start to relax.
Set a scheduled bedtime and wake-up time and try to stick to it. Make sure your bedroom is a comfortable environment that’s free from distractions. Be sure not to drink caffeine too close to bedtime, along with any other substances that might disrupt your sleep.
Move your body
Another way to boost mood naturally is to get some exercise. You know that exercise is good for your body, but did you know that getting in regular physical activity can help improve your mood and boost your mental health naturally? Exercising releases chemicals in the brain called endorphins that act as a natural anti-depressant. Getting in some exercise each day can reduce feelings of:
It can also help your body deal with stress hormones, so you can sleep better and more easily.
If you don’t like the gym, the good news is that there are so many other ways to get your body moving. Walking, jogging, or simply doing housework can all get your heart rate up. Pick an activity that you like and enjoy so that you’re more likely to stick with it. Doctors recommend aiming to exercise for at least 30 minutes five times a week.
When you’re upset, reaching for comfort foods might be a normal reaction, even if it’s not the healthiest option. However, eating well on a regular basis can boost mental health naturally. Both your brain and your body need a variety of nutrients to function properly. This means you should try to eat three meals a day and drink plenty of water. Incorporate healthy proteins into your breakfast and lunch to keep you full and to give your brain the nutrition it needs to start off your day.
A balanced diet to boost your mental health should include:
- Colorful fruits and vegetables
- Whole grains, like brown rice, whole-wheat pasta and bread, and oatmeal
- Oily fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids, like salmon, sardines, and mackerel
- Nuts and seeds
- Dairy products
While you should try to limit junk food, dark chocolate is the perfect snack when you crave something sweet. Cacao can give you a natural mood boost since it has properties that relieve symptoms of depression and can reduce anxiety.
Sunshine and fresh air can give you a natural mood boost, so take some time to step outside each day. Simple things like clean air and natural light can lift you up, as we weren’t made to sit inside all day under harsh fluorescent lights. If you can, try to get 30 minutes outdoors every day to reconnect with nature.
Sunshine provides our bodies with vitamin D, which is proven to help reduce stress and boost mood naturally. Looking at trees is also thought to brighten people’s moods. If you can, go on a hike or a walk in an area with some trees to breathe in the fresh air and let your mind relax.
Do something you enjoy
Take time to do something that you like or that relaxes you. This can be something social, like talking to a friend, visiting with family, or going to an event. If you prefer, you can do something alone like practice a hobby, take a bubble bath, or play with a pet. Try to choose something that you’re going to feel good about after it’s over. While eating junk food or drinking alcohol might relieve your stress or anxiety in the moment, you’re probably not going to feel great about that decision later.
To help improve your mood, try to do something that can give you a feeling of accomplishment. This can be as easy as preparing a home-cooked meal, or it can be more complex, like studying to learn something new. Whatever it is, don’t be afraid to give yourself a break during the day to let off some stress and bring yourself back to balance.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Adventist Health: "Give your mood a boost."
American Academy of Pediatrics: "your family's mental health: 10 ways to improve mood naturally."
Houston Methodist: "8 Ways to Boost Your Mental Health."
Mental Health & Addiction Association of Oregon: "5 Natural Ways to Improve Your Mood."
Mental Health Foundation: "How to look after your mental health."
NHS: "How to be happier."
Ochsner Health: "Natural Ways to Boost Your Mood."
Top Boost My Mood and Mental Health Naturally Related Articles
How Does Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Treat Depression?Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) uses cognitive strategies to help people change patterns in the way they think and behavioral strategies to help people change behaviors that aren't helpful. CBT can help people with mild-to-moderate major depressive disorder.
DepressionDepression is an illness that involves the body, mood, and thoughts and affects the way a person eats and sleeps, the way one feels about oneself, and the way one thinks about things. The principal types of depression are major depression, dysthymia, and bipolar disease (also called manic-depressive disease).
Depression in ChildrenChildhood depression can interfere with social activities, interests, schoolwork and family life. Symptoms and signs include anger, social withdrawal, vocal outbursts, fatigue, physical complaints, and thoughts of suicide. Treatment may involve psychotherapy and medication.
Learn to Spot Depression: Symptoms, Warning Signs, MedicationKnow when you or someone else is depressed. Get information on depression symptoms, signs, tests, and treatments for many types of depression chronic depression and postpartum depression.
Depression QuizMany people do not recognize the symptoms and warning signs of depression and depressive disorders in children and adults. With proper diagnosis, treatments and medications are available. Take this quiz to learn more about recovery from depression.
Depression Tips SlidesThe right exercise, diet, and activities -- even playing with a pet --can help you recover from depression. Learn simple lifestyle changes you can do to improve your mood.
Sneaky Depression TriggersThere are many causes and triggers of depression. From too little vitamin B12 to too much time alone, look at these surprising causes of depression in midlife and beyond -- and how to treat depression.
Foods to Boost Your Energy and MoodLearn which foods may boost your energy level and have a positive impact on your mood. Foods such as salmon, Brazil nuts, and dark chocolate can give you more energy and make you happier.
How Does Depression Affect a Person's Behavior?Depression — a serious mood disorder — is the most common mental health disorder. It can interfere with your thoughts, your feelings, and daily activities like sleeping, eating, and working.
Is Melancholy the Same as Depression?Melancholy or melancholia is a severe form of depression and it is now termed "melancholic depression." The word “melancholia” is a Greek word to describe the feeling of intense sadness and hopelessness. Melancholic depression makes people lose interest in almost all activities.
Moods QuizTake the moods quiz to learn about mood disorders and how your food and environment play major roles in how you feel.
Teen DepressionDepression in teenagers may be caused by many factors. Symptoms of teen depression include apathy, irresponsible behavior, sadness, sudden drop in grades, withdrawal from friends, and alcohol and drug use. Treatment of depression in adolescents may involve psychotherapy and medications.
What Are the Top 10 Mental Health Issues and Illnesses?Mental illnesses can affect how you think, feel, and understand the world. The top 10 mental health issues and illnesses include anxiety disorders, bipolar affective disorders, depression, dissociative disorders, eating disorders, paranoia, PTSD, psychosis, schizophrenia and OCD.
What Are 4 Major Causes of Depression?Depression is not a condition that has one specific cause. It can happen for many different reasons and have many triggers. Depression is a serious condition with a spectrum of diagnoses and a wide range of severity.
What Are the Root Causes of Anxiety and Depression?What causes anxiety and depression? Learn about symptoms and potential root causes that may increase your risk of developing mood disorders.
What Color Light Is Best for Depression?Light therapy, also known as phototherapy, involves the use of artificial bright light or blue light to improve mood and reduce depression symptoms. Research indicates that blue light is superior to other lights in the spectrum for treating depression.