Whether it’s flying that drone, stargazing, or capturing the view, just being outdoors in nature is a sure way of boosting the natural mood enhancers in your body. There are four main mood enhancers. I describe ways of freely getting a dose of each of these feel-better-natural chemicals. I also mention the best dietary supplements I’ve found for mood support.
Why Seek natural mood enhancers?
Being able to feel good naturally just makes life easier.
In fact, Americans as a whole spend over $11 Billion a year in fighting stress and wanting to feel better.
Here’s why people spend so much in wanting to feel better:
- The top cause of stress in the U.S. is job pressure
- Physical symptoms occur in 78% of people affected
- 48% suffer negative effects in their personal and social lives
- And, the worst bit… Consumerism often becomes a coping mechanism for stress — with people cycling between spending, getting too far in debt, and this just worsens the stress
Ongoing stress can lead to deep-rooted depression and anxiety. The things that can suffer are your relationships, heart health, digestive health, confidence, and quality of life.
I know, because I’ve been there.
Good Health Tips to feel better naturally
Spa retreats are popular for relieving stress. But, they can cost anything from $100 for 60 mins to tens of thousands for a week. And the benefits are often short lived.
How to lift your mood without breaking the bank?
I like to use what nature provides for countering stress and the normal ups and downs. That includes healthy eating. This is especially important in terms of the gut-brain connection. I wrote about this in how to restore a healthy gut.
Also, exercise and getting outdoors in the sunshine, fresh air, and being able to feel the nature around me are essential for maintaining vitality. Yep, I like to use the natural things to make me feel better.
The bonus… they are free.
What are the feel good chemicals?
Your body is designed to produce natural mood boosters (those ‘feel-good chemicals’) to combat stress.
The four main natural mood enhancers:
The Mental Health Benefits Of These Natural Chemicals
Dopamine For motivation
We feel bliss, pleasure, motivation, and euphoria through dopamine.
Most types of rewards boost dopamine. If you’re lacking energy or zest for life, it could be you’re not feeling rewarded and… lacking in dopamine.
How to feel rewarded? The ultimate is a rewarding job, but admittedly, this is rare. Getting paid for your effort may not cut it as far as activating dopamine for the multitude of those doing the 9 to 5. Having a daily gratitude journal is how to increase serotonin and dopamine naturally. Other natural ways are described in the list below.
A downside is that it can lead to unhealthy behaviors with trying to continue getting that hit of dopamine through ‘rewards’ to our system and then feeling down when these are withdrawn. The use of apps, gaming and social media to the detriment of a healthy lifestyle or feeling low when not getting rewards (bonuses, likes, or shares) are examples of this effect in modern life.
So, dopamine has a dark side, but knowing this helps with understanding and managing our behaviors and feelings in these areas.
Oxytocin For feeling accepted
- This is the bonding hormone
- A sign of an oxytocin deficiency is aggression
- A natural antidepressant from the social aspect
- It helps build trust and attachment between individuals
The downsides of this hormone is that it fosters social behaviors like cliquishness and arrogance (and bullying even).
Being on the ‘outer’ of any cliquey circle makes me feel I don’t belong and of being awkwardly ‘different’. This is opposite to what most of us want.
So, oxytocin is complicated, but knowing so helps with understanding and managing our relationships.
Part of this is being aware of the self vs the ego, which I cover in my article about the True Self and How to Keep Check On Your Ego.
Serotonin For feeling happy
Serotonin affects mood and the ability to learn and remember.
It is important in how to fight depression and helps with feelings of confidence.
As you scroll down you will find where I list natural ways of boosting serotonin.
Endorphins For pain Relief
This one is known as the ‘happy drug’. Endorphins are opioid neuropeptides. They allow us to operate at high levels in extremes.
If you’re feeling emotionally sensitive and suffering chronic pain, you could be low on endorphins.
I’ve included ways of naturally upping your endorphins below.
Opt For Better Health Naturally
Here are the free natural ways to boost what I call the ‘happy chemical’ quartet: Dopamine-Oxytocin-Serotonin-Endorphin (D O S E), which are our natural mood enhancers.
For a regular stress-busting package, make sure to cover all four brain messengers of D O S E. (I’ve included a support supplement in each case that you may wish to consider for conveniently added boosts.) Make these a habit.
8 Ways to Get a Natural Mood Boost
|Get The Best Stress Relief Naturally|
1. Be Social
For a dose of Oxytocin – D O S E
– Get with a like-minded group of enthusiasts
2. Healthy Eating
For Dopamine, Serotonin, Oxytocin, & Endorphins – D O S E
– Eat protein-rich foods with L-Tyrosine for dopamine
– Pineapples, eggs, salmon, turkey, and other foods rich in tryptophan.
– Dark chocolate – best: organic cacao, Capsaicin in chili, and Ginseng help boost endorphins
– The process of eating stimulates release of oxytocin
3. Get In the Flow
Dopamine, serotonin, and endorphin — – D O S E
Helps with quality of Life, with mood & sleep
– Spend time in the flow
4. Get Some Sunshine
Dopamine, serotonin, and endorphin — – D O S E
– Spend 7-20 mins in sunshine at least 3 days a week
5. Reward Yourself
Dopamine — D O S E
1. Set a series of small milestones followed by rewards on every completion.
Acknowledge Your Wins in a beautiful guided journal
Available at AmazonSee Details
6. Get Outside & Connect With Nature
Serotonin – D O S E
– Try the forest, mountains, or head to the beach;
– Listen for sounds of birds, waterfalls, lakes, beaches, etc.
7. Be Playful
Dopamine, serotonin, and endorphin – D O S E
– Share funny stories of your last outing
Get a comical look at life
Available at AmazonSee Details
8. Be Active
Endorphins – D O S E
– Check out the stars at night
Natural Ways to Boost Mood
For ‘how to fight depression naturally?’ the natural ways listed above are helpful.
Then there are the mood enhancing supplements that help as natural remedies for anxiety and depression working to relieve stress in terms of the normal ups and downs.
But, for anything above mild, in cases of ‘how to relieve depression?’, you should refer to a medical practitioner.
Note: If you have concerns about taking supplements or have known disorders and/or are taking medication it is recommeded you speak with your health practitioner in deciding whether to take supplements.
Taking Supplements For Mood
Supplements are a convenient way of getting your daily dose of healthy nutrients.
But, if we have natural ways of boosting our feel-good chemicals that are free, apart from the convenience, why would I need supplements?
Aging is one reason…
As we age, our bodies lose the ability to absorb natural goodness as easily and we often feel a lack of energy. Feeling weak and tired is a concern of older folk.
If you can’t get the best that you need from natural processes you may look to incorporate supplements. Other reasons to include dietary supplements are genetic and geographic.
Feeling lonely? Unloved?
You could be deficient in serotonin if you may feel an unhealthy desire to seek attention. Serotonin flows when we are feeling appreciated and have a sense of belonging.
How to increase serotonin naturally
- Try reflecting on past accomplishments as this can activate serotonin
- Get a good nights sleep
- Get a dose of morning sunshine to help
- Eat foods high in tryptophan
- Listen to uplifting music
- Get into the flow
- Check out my DOSE list above for more natural mood elevators
Eating foods high in tryptophan
The amino acid tryptophan helps with serotonin production. Our bodies can’t manufacture tryptophan and hence it is essential in our diets. It is found in flaxseed oil, bananas, pineapples, plums, turkey, and milk.
Combining carbohydrates with these foods in meals enhances the uptake of tryptophan. Adding flaxseed oil to your diet every day can help improve your mood.
Serotonin boosting supplements are available at Amazon, where you can buy a tryptophan supplement form — See details.
How to sleep better at night naturally…
Like other biochemicals, your body synthesizes serotonin when you sleep. Hence, the importance of a sound night’s sleep. But then, if you are low on serotonin, you’re likely having trouble sleeping. A catch 22?
A dose of sunshine in the morning helps with a good night’s sleep by setting our biological clock. A dose of Vitamin D3 from sunlight is also a natural serotonin booster. ¹
And, daily exercise also helps us gain a resting and sound sleep at night.
Organic Ashwagandha Root
to improve mood and energy
How to feel energetic?
Serotonin helps with mood and energy. Getting outside in the sunshine will give us a boost because UVB rays hitting our skin gives us a boost of of vitamin D3 to naturally increase serotonin. ¹
But, life situations and location can mean you get less benefit from sunlight. Hence, vitamin D supplements are useful.
How to reduce fatigue?
If you are looking for natural remedies for fatigue, try curcumin. 4 Science studies show that curcumin does “possess antidepressant activity through modulating the release of serotonin and dopamine.” ³ So, not only does it answer how to get rid of fatigue but also serves as one of the natural ways to help depression. Curcumin supplements are often sold for the relief of arthritis and joint inflammation and these often coincide with neurological factors. ³
Feeling run down with age
What helps with fatigue due to aging?
The effectiveness of getting vitamin D3 from UVB rays hitting our skin, declines as we mature because mature skin will lose its ability to convert the UVB light into the vitamin D precursor. Hence, the reason to take vitamin D supplements.
Also, as we age, it seems that endorphin production declines and hence why we feel inertia with age. Exercising is a way of boosting our natural endorphins. For some people, extreme sports fit the bill. But adopting a regime of regular exercise helps boost overall energy levels.
Natural Remedies For women to feel better
If you are a woman, you might suffer mood and energy downers due to fluctuations in estrogen levels. The serotonin ups and downs can wreak havoc on your cognitive abilities and relationships. Being a mum ‘juggling it all’, you might be looking for something to calm the chaos.
Vitex is thought to be one of the best mood enhancers for women. Not everyone is the same, but I found this natural supplement worked wonders for me to balance monthly hormonal issues.
If you are at the menopausal stage of life, you might be looking for the best mood supplements to overcome depression. ² Along with Vitamin D, other mood enhancing vitamins such as vitamin B may help ease the problems and make life livable again for many.
All the B Vitamins
Natural Remedies for tiredness and stress
How to relieve tiredness?
What are the natural ways to overcome feeling tired all the time, no energy, and no motivation?
Dopamine helps with feeling energized. Certain foods and supplements help produce dopamine, like protein-rich foods with L-Tyrosine and curcumin found in turmeric.
Dopamine itself cannot cross the blood-brain barrier and so, supplements are based on precursor forms such as L-DOPA. Another is L-tyrosine.
The Benefits of natural Mood Boosters
We are all part of wildness (nature). Our soul benefits from connecting with the wild in us and that around us. Even modern dentists are using virtual reality involving nature to allay anxiety in patients: “Researchers found that patients who were able to walk around a natural environment using the technology experienced reduced levels of anxiety.”
So it helps to get among the dunes at the beach, head to the mountains, the valleys, be near running water or tree communities, even the nearby park or garden.
These are all feel-better-natural ways of boosting our mood and well-being. Stress is basically a disconnection from the Earth, a forgetting of the breath. Stress is an ignorant state. It believes that everything is an emergency. Nothing is that important. Just lie down. ~Natalie Goldberg
In Blinded by Science Matthew Silverstone talks about vibrations and natural energies that help us feel better.
People have been ruminating about vibrations and nature’s connection for some time:
- The Beach Boys’ hit song, Good Vibrations.
- Movies like Avatar: The Na’vi people at the Tree of Souls connected with their spiritual and guiding force, Eywa.
- J. Bopp and P. Morris story of the Sacred Treereflects on the importance of the wild, trees in particular, in Native American Spirituality.
“For all the people of the earth, the Creator has planted a Sacred Tree under which they may gather, and there find healing, power, wisdom and security.”
By the way…
Trees have been revered for eons because of their feel-better-natural power.
- The Bible mentions the tree of life and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
- Buddha reached enlightenment under the Bodhi tree where he sat and meditated.
- The Druids and Pagans worshiped among sacred groves of trees.
Summing Up These Natural Remedies
Stress depletes our reserves of feel-good chemicals, as does over prescription of caffeine and alcohol. We need to be charged and energized for traversing what life has to offer.
The ultimate is to feel better naturally. Start using natural remedies to reduce stress and apply or practice these fixes daily. It will save you heartache and dollars in the long run.
If you need to, consider using natural supplements to boost your mood and counter stress.
What are your thoughts about natural ways to fight depression?
There are many other supplements to choose from that help in fighting depression naturally. What have you found works for you?
Feel free to comment below.
- Humble, Mats B. (2010). Vitamin D, light and mental health, Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology B: Biology, Volume 101, Issue 2, Pages 142-149, ISSN 1011-1344.
- Epperson, C. N., Amin, Z., Ruparel, K., Gur, R., & Loughead, J. (2012). Interactive Effects of Estrogen and Serotonin On Brain Activation During Working Memory and Affective Processing in Menopausal Women. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 37(3), 372–382.
- Kulkarni SK, Dhir A. An Overview of Curcumin in Neurological Disorders. Indian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences. 2010;72(2):149-154. doi:10.4103/0250-474X.65012.
- Huang W-C, Chiu W-C, Chuang H-L, et al. Effect of Curcumin Supplementation on Physiological Fatigue and Physical Performance in Mice. Nutrients. 2015;7(2):905-921. doi:10.3390/nu7020905.
Hi, I’m Mary-Anne. Apart from a PhD in Earth and Life Sciences, I have a whole heap of other life experiences. I am a believer in wellness through wildness. This is about connecting with the nature within and the nature around to keep fit and healthy in body, mind, and spirit. I enjoy researching and writing about natural things that support our wellbeing and then sharing the benefits I discover.