Naturally Boosting Your Mood
By Antonietta Marinelli | September 04, 2021
Do you ever wonder why you feel that little bit happier when your favorite song comes on? Patting that super adorable dog that walked past you on your daily walk? Or that feeling of accomplishment once completing that dreaded run or massive assignment?
In most part it comes down to complex chemical processes and the role of our hormones produced by glands inside our bodies (Raypole, 2019). The different hormone levels in our body rise and fall throughout the day, with some assuming a role in regulating mood, pleasure, bonding, and even pain relief (Konkel, 2019).
So, what are these hormones and what can we do to naturally boost our mood?
Dopamine is sometimes called a ‘chemical messenger’ and plays a role in how we feel pleasure. It is a part of our unique way of thinking and planning (Cristol, 2021). Dopamine makes you happy while also keeping us alive and alert. It is involved in a wide range of activities, and associated with pleasurable sensations, along with learning, memory, and motor system function.
How to naturally boost your Dopamine levels:
- Finishing a task
- Cooking or eating your favorite meal – certain foods can also impact your dopamine levels like spicy foods, yogurts, eggs, foods containing probiotics.
- Listening to music
- Practicing self-care
The original happy hormone! Serotonin is essential for mood, sleep, brain function and digestion and makes up 90% of your gut – which means, happy gut health, more serotonin! That is why, when the discussion of serotonin is brought to the table, it is recommended that a regular fitness routine is required to ensure a boost in mood and relief in anxiety.
How to activate Serotonin:
- Deep breathing
- Going for a run, daily exercise
- Walking outdoors in nature – according to research conducted in 2008, exposure to sunlight can increase production of serotonin (Mead, 2008).
Also known as ‘the love hormone’. Oxytocin is the hormone that promotes bonding and trust, and is pinpointed in human bonding, generosity, and establishing trust. Something as simple as spending time with someone you care about can help boost your oxytocin production and increase your building of trust and love. The release of oxytocin has a positive affect on your emotions, and one review of research suggests that it has a positive impact on social behaviors related to relaxation, trust, and overall psychological ability (Longhurst, 2018).
How to activate Oxytocin:
- Hugging someone
- Giving a compliment
- Helping someone
- Playing or patting a pet
The ultimate ‘runner’s hormone’, as many like to call it. Do you know that big rush of energy you get after completing that dreaded run? That’s right, that big rush of energy is the release of endorphins. Endorphins are your body’s natural painkiller, which your body produces in response to stress or discomfort (Raypole, 2019). Endorphins are adaptive and nature’s way of keeping us away from those feelings of pain and moving us towards that feeling of pleasure. Exercise is one of the most common ways of releasing endorphins, and studies have found that getting 45-minutes of exercise, three times a week is great for it.
How to activate Endorphins:
- Eat dark chocolate
- Essential oils
References: • Cristol, H. 2021. What is Dopamine? WebMD. [Accessed 31 August 2021] https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/what-is-dopamine
• Konkel, L. 2019. Hormones and Your Health: An Essential Guide. Everyday Health. [Accessed 31 August 2021] https://www.everydayhealth.com/hormones/guide/
• Longhurst, A. S. 2018. Why Is Oxytocin Known as the ‘Love Hormone’?. Healthline. [Accessed 31 August 2021] https://www.healthline.com/health/love-hormone#TOC_TITLE_HDR_1
• Mead M.N. 2008. Benefits of sunlight: a bright spot for human health. Environmental Health Perspectives. 116 (4), A160 – A167. [Accessed 31 August 2021 https://doi.org/10.1289/ehp.116-a160
• Raypole, C. 2019. How To Hack Your Hormones for a Better Mood. Healthline. [Accessed 31 August 2021] https://www.healthline.com/health/happy-hormone