In these days of uncertainty with COVID, seasonal wild fires and an upcoming election, it’s more important than ever to keep your spirits elevated.  When your mental state is happy, then your physical system follows suit and stays healthy.

There are tried and true ways to boost your mood naturally and without stimulants.  Below is a list of methods to keep handy when you start to feel stressed or less than your optimistic self.

1. Increase Omega-3’s

Omega-3’s, found in flax seeds, fatty fish, walnuts, dark leafy greens and chia sees boost brain resilience, lowers inflammation and has a positive effect on heart health.  When the brain is nourished, your focus, concentration and mood are stabilized.

2.  Increase Sleep and Rest

Good quality sleep is imperative for soothing your mind.   Make sure that you’re getting plenty of sleep and not overdoing stimulants, like coffee, tea or energy drinks.  When caffeine is present in the system, your body tends to resist moving into deeper levels of nourishing sleep.  Plan naps or downtime, which release stress and makes you feel rested throughout the day.

3. Get Creative

Tap into the things that increase your fun. Paint, read, create jewelry, play music — anything that makes you happy.  You can also take up a new hobby.  Focusing your energy on something new can help redirect your thoughts to put a more positive spin on the activities in your life.

4.  Rock it Up

Music can have a positive and immediate impact on your mood. Listening to or playing songs gives your brain a boost of dopamine — the brain chemical that helps you feel pleasure. Music can lift depression and even help you sleep more deeply.

5. Take a Social Media Break

Social Media can lead us to feel inadequate, like when we see images of people on fabulous vacations or eating gourmet meals.  We can even become triggered when we see pictures of happy family and friend gatherings when we may not be able to get together with our own relatives, making us feel lonely.  You can prevent these thoughts by turning off social media for at least one day a week or even longer.

6. Increase Laughter

Scientific evidence has shown that laughter can immediately lift up our mood and make us feel better.  With a plethora of comedy shows on Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu, you can stream funny content as needed.  Not hooked up to these services?  Try funny pet videos on Youtube to put a smile on your face.

7.  Get Natural

Outdoor natural settings, such forests, mountains or even a local park can help to elevate your mood.  Forest bathing, or shinrin-yoku, an activity that originated in Japan when you spend time under the canopy of trees, has been shown to make people happier and also has a positive effect on mental and physical health.

8.  Lower Your Alcohol Intake

Alcohol acts as a depressant and can dehydrate your system, both of which can make you feel low. Drink water after each beverage so you can make sure that you’re maintaining your hydration levels and possibly lowering your alcohol consumption.

9. Get Moving

Exercise helps your body stay healthy, stronger and limber.  It also floods your brain with endorphins — chemicals that enhance your mood. Aerobic exercise like hiking, swimming, dancing, and biking will pump blood and endorphins through your body to give you a lift when needed.

10. Connect with Others

Being with friends, family or a group of people that share common interests can uplift your attitude and increase your laughter.  Whether it’s in person or on Zoom, plan weekly get-togethers to stay in touch on a regular basis.  By connecting, you help others feel less lonely and brighten their day, which in turn, helps you feel better.

11. Drink Water

Dehydration can cause fatigue, hunger and dizziness.  Drinking water throughout the day will allow you to keep a clear mind, boost brain function and  lighten mood.  It will also help cleanse your body, keep your system cool and your skin supple.  Make sure you are getting plenty of water, especially in warm summer days.