Health & Wellness Articles

15 Natural Mood Lifters

Quick and Easy Ways to Lift Your Spirit

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One morning I awoke and decided it was the perfect day to mix myself a "happiness cocktail." After indulging in my happy hour, I felt more than ready to take on the day! Just in case you’re wondering why a wellness coach is reaching for a cocktail at the crack of dawn, let me explain.

While getting dressed, I thought about the many natural ways I could lift my spirits and then realized that I was already combining many of the approaches behavioral psychologists tell us are beneficial: I went outside for my morning exercise and listened to my favorite music on my iPod—all with my labradoodle, Ozzy right by side. Exercise, nature, music, my pet— these are the ingredients of my personal happiness cocktail. Any of these things alone help to lift my spirits when I’m feeling down, but together they can put me in a euphoric state. Talk about crisscross effects! No matter what may be weighing on my mind, an outdoor run with Ozzy always improves my mood and increases my optimism (not to mention all the other great things this activity does for my body).

As a professional wellness coach, it is vital for my mind to stay calm, open and curious when meeting with a client. A bad mood can certainly be detrimental to the session. And although I have a fairly sunny disposition by nature, even I feel down sometimes and need ways to improve my mood quickly and easily.

At times, we all need to lift our spirits in an instant. Luckily, some environmental and situational factors are easy to control. If you have a grumpy friend, you can simply walk away and call up an optimistic friend. If sad movies usually leave you feeling badly long after watching, you can stick to comedies or other uplifting genres. But if you are made to deal with a difficult individual who is a co-worker or family member, escaping may not be so simple. And you certainly can’t control the weather.

But we don’t need to be victims of circumstances—and we certainly do have control over our choices. If keeping your moods on an even keel and staying relaxed are things you would like to pursue, you’ll be happy to know it’s much easier than you probably think. Behavioral scientists are studying how we can improve our moods by taking control of our daily behaviors. The expression, "you are what you eat" has proven to be true—not just for disease management but our overall state of mind. If you find yourself irritable, fatigued, unfocused or even blue, it may be your diet. What you eat, how often you eat, and how much you eat are all factors that can dramatically impact your mood. So, if you can keep your blood sugar stable, your mood may follow.

We also know that exercise stimulates the chemicals in our brains that lead to feelings of tranquility and well-being. The release of endorphins are responsible for things such as the "runner’s high" or the incredible surge in creativity fitness participants often report. Even a leisurely stroll can increase the oxygen flow to your brain leading to a sense of calmness, greater energy and focus.

According to common sense, feelings are what cause our behavior. When we are sad, we cry. When we are angry, we rant and rave. However, a large and growing body of research shows that feelings often follow our behavioral choices. In other words, if we force ourselves to smile, we feel happier. And if we pretend to be excited, upbeat and energized, we begin to actually feel that way. This again proves that we are more in control of our moods than just the circumstances around us.
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About The Author

Ellen Goldman Ellen Goldman
Ellen Goldman has bachelor's and master's degrees in health and physical education. An AFAA-certified personal trainer and certified wellness coach, she is also the founder EnerG Coaching, LLC. Through one-on-one and group sessions, Ellen helps individuals make positive lifestyle changes, lose weight, manage stress and attain work-life balance. Visit her at www.EnerGcoaching.com.

Member Comments

  • ETHELMERZ
    Good Common Sense, but if someone really struggles, talk to a doctor about depression, please. - 10/12/2014 1:56:59 PM
  • I look for all types of articles to help with my low mood swings since being diagnosed with Diabetes Type 2 and gaining 60lbs. I have stopped my walking program due to serious health problems and as you can see with the enormous weight gain, its been like a domino effect on me and now my family. I loved being social, going outside and being active and now I am home everyday and not getting out but, watching my diet and going to dr. appts. I know I MUST CHANGE, its not always my choice to stay home, I just sometime's can't get myself out the door. I am a work in progress. Thank you for this article.
    - 10/12/2014 10:42:01 AM
  • These are great suggestions for improving moods temporarily. I found more permanent relief from depressing moods through the Solutions method of learning some basic skills to rewire the brain developed by Laurel Mellon, author of The Pathway. Highly recommend her Solutions training! - 10/12/2014 8:46:12 AM
  • Great article. I agree with them all and do them myself. - 9/30/2014 9:49:52 AM
  • Great write!!! 14&15 get my vote!! Thanks for this great article and don't go out without your smile : ) - 8/30/2014 11:12:24 AM
  • I read the article, and have seen similar suggestions in other books etc. They all sound good, but sometimes it's difficult to initiate when you're feeling sad about an event in your life such as the death of a close loved relative or a diagnosis of a disease that mkay cause you to have a shortened life span or undergo tests, and treatments that have uncomfortable side effects.
    What ifs can be a protective mechanism against the curves that life throws us. e.g. What if I became sick and need help with daily routines, or other situations? You handle the what ifs by taking steps to solve the problems before they occur.
    Rather than mask the symptoms of sadness i would rather uncover its causes, and find ways to deal with them.


    Elizaneth - 8/5/2014 9:17:18 AM
  • Thanks for sharing. - 12/20/2013 6:20:16 AM
  • JAENIM
    Thank you so much!^^

    This really helped get me stay happy throughout the day! - 12/9/2013 12:38:33 PM
  • MUNCHBENJ
    Enjoyed article - 11/15/2013 6:14:58 AM
  • Staying positive has always helped me. These points are very essential to all of us. Thank you for sharing. - 10/21/2013 11:16:54 AM
  • Great article! - 10/4/2013 12:26:29 PM
  • This is a terrific article and what I needed today.

    Thank you SP!
    Susan - 8/27/2013 11:10:28 AM
  • I love these ideas! Sometimes, a smile in the right direction really can change the day!

    But as someone with bipolar disorder, I will say that doing positive things can make me feel better. But I can always tell when I am having one of my downswings and not just a blue mood because faking it doesn't make me feel better, it makes me feel tired, and thus more bad moody. - 8/27/2013 9:02:07 AM
  • Just read this for not the first time. Got another idea to take away. I love these articles! thank you. - 8/27/2013 6:42:24 AM
  • KINPAKU
    This is a great article and some wonderful tips! - 7/24/2013 12:00:45 AM

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