It’s normal for our mood and energy levels to fluctuate every now and then. However, those changes can affect our daily routines, including how we normally function in our everyday lives. This is especially true now, because the COVID-19 pandemic will have long-term effects on our collective mental health.

While we can’t always control what triggers our stress and mood changes, there are certain steps you can take to controlling them without having to resort to alcohol or other vices. Below are eight ways you can boost your mood and mindset naturally.

1. Exercise

Physical activity is one of the best ways to naturally boost your mood, as it releases endorphins, the hormone responsible for making you feel good. If you’re feeling particularly down for the day, even a quick 10-minute exercise session can lift your mood and spirit. Another reason exercise is so effective is that it gets your heart pumping, which raises your adrenaline and makes you feel good about yourself.

2. Nourish your body

Diet also plays a role in your mood levels. Feed yourself with proper nutrients, such as fruits and vegetables, especially leafy vegetables. Chamomile tea, sunflower seeds, and nuts are also healthy choices, and if you crave sweets, try dark chocolate. These foods are known to be beneficial for your emotional health, which is why they not only balance your mood, but also make you feel good.

3. Set daily affirmations

Words are powerful, and starting your day with an affirmation can act as the encouragement you need for the day. In a world where it’s easy to dwell in negativity, a daily affirmation can keep you grounded on that positive feeling throughout the day. There are several daily affirmations that you can find in books, poems, songs, speeches, or many other forms. You can even Google “daily affirmations” and find a practically endless supply of sources to explore.

4. Meditate

As mundane as it sounds, a breathing exercise can do wonders for your mind and your heart. Even a five-minute routine can reduce your stress levels and change your perspective for the better. Meditation allows you to go inward and find the peace and calmness you need to go against any negativity you’re dealing with.

5. Practice gratitude

Writing a gratitude journal can help you focus on contentment and reframe your mind into focusing on the positive light of things, rather than the negative. Start or end your day by writing down three things you’re grateful for in the day.

6. Unplug

As beneficial as social media is to connect with others, it can also be detrimental to our mood and mental health. It’s easy to get caught up in negativity and comparison, and add to your stress rather than relieve it.

7. Appeal to your senses

Your sense of smell is linked strongly to both your mood and memory. Try infusing your space with uplifting and calming scents like lavender, vanilla, peppermint, and jasmine to lift your spirits.

8. Go outside

Staying inside for long periods is unhealthy and can negatively affect your mood. Exposing yourself to a healthy amount of Vitamin D through sunshine can feel refreshing and has been linked to reducing depression and anxiety, as well as boosting the body’s immune system.

Happiness has always been linked to factors like environment, lifestyle, and the choices we make. Even seemingly simple choices can lead to the natural boost of our mood every day.

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