Emotional ups and downs are a normal part of life. Regardless of the reason, it’s easy to get stuck in a slump—especially these days. Mental health issues like anxiety and depression are at an all-time high.
Some health providers would proscribe a pill for this – Prozac, Paxil and others. And it’s true, antidepressants and SSRI’s have helped people with serious depression achieve better emotional equilibrium. But research also shows us that natural alternatives for mood boosting and mental vibrancy may be equally effective, but without the risk side effects.
What Impacts Your Mood
Depression and mood disorders are directly related to inflammation in the brain and body, and it’s a two-way street: Inflammation fuels depression, and mental stress triggers more inflammation. Finding ways to support healthy inflammation responses can help to break this perpetual cycle of mental/emotional stress, chronic inflammation and oxidative stress, and further depressive symptoms.1
Natural Tips For Mental Health & Mood Support
If you’re looking for an alternative to antidepressants or mood stabilizers, here are natural tips for boosting your mood and supporting your mental health.
Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables
According to a British study, people who consumed more vegetables and fruits were calmer, happier and more energized.2 Another study showed that happiness and emotional stability were determined by the amount of vegetables and fruits people ate. Results showed that seven servings of fruit and/or vegetables each day may the ideal amount needed to improve mental and emotional health and balance.3
In other words, always remember to eat your fruits and veggies! The more the better.
Follow a Mediterranean diet
Research shows that the Mediterranean diet reduces markers of inflammation in the body, and can also help reduce depression, improve mood and support optimal mental health. 4,5
The Mediterranean diet is rich in fresh vegetables, lean protein, healthy fats like fish and olive oil, and whole grains and legumes. Eating these mood boosting foods regularly and avoiding processed foods can help you reduce inflammation and improve your mood.
Drink more water
Your brain needs plenty of hydration to function properly and keep inflammation in check. Studies show how even just a 1.36% decrease in normal hydration levels can trigger mood imbalances, reduced cognitive function and depressive symptoms. Be sure to stay hydrated with at least 64 oz of water and/or herbal teas each day.6
Move your body
Regular exercise is a proven way to overcome depression and mood imbalances, including stress and anxiety. Aerobic exercise releases endorphins in your brain, your natural mood-boosting chemicals that help you feel better mentally and physically. In people with clinical depression, the hippocampus of the brain (the area that helps regulate mood) is smaller. Exercise helps to promote brain cell growth and connection in this region of the brain, helping to improve mood over time as well.7
Meditation for mood support
Even just ten minutes of meditation practice a day can help improve mood and mental health. Meditation helps to calm neuroinflammation, boost endorphins, improve brain function, and even increase brain matter in areas of the brain relating to emotional regulation.8
Spend time in nature
Studies show that spending time in nature, such as a forest or natural area, can boost mood and reduce depressive symptoms, along with other benefits for relaxation, immune health, and more.9
Natural Supplements for Mood and Mental Health
There are many natural herbs, remedies, ingredients, and healthy habits you can adopt to improve your mood and mental and emotional health.
One of the best natural supplements to improve mood is HonoPure 98% pure honokiol. Purified from magnolia bark, honokiol has been shown in research to provide health benefits including mood and relaxation, cognitive function, neurological wellness, and more. HonoPure is the purest, most potent form of honokiol extract available.*
The secret to honokiol’s mood benefits is its ability to cross the blood-brain barrier and support the activity of the neurotransmitter GABA, helping encourage a positive mood and gentle relaxation. It’s also a powerful antioxidant and supports healthy inflammation responses in the brain and body, helping with the cycle of inflammation and depression.
There are times when we all need a mental and emotional lift. While pharmaceutical approaches have their uses, there are also easy natural daily habits that we can take to help us relax, recharge, and boost mood and mental health. These healthy strategies and supplements can bring more calm and happiness into our lives, while helping us feel our best from the inside out.
- Berk M, Williams L, Jacka F, et al. So depression is an inflammatory disease, but where does the inflammation come from? BMC Medicine. 2013;11(1):200.
- White B, Horwath C, Conner T. Many apples a day keep the blues away – Daily experiences of negative and positive affect and food consumption in young adults. British J Health and Psychology. 2013;18(4):782-798.
- Blanchflower G, Oswald A, Stewart-Brown S. Is Psychological Well-Being Linked to the Consumption of Fruit and Vegetables? Social Indicators Research. 2013;114(3):785-801.
- Rienks J, Dobson AJ, Mishra GD. Mediterranean dietary pattern and prevalence and incidence of depressive symptoms in mid-aged women: results from a large community-based prospective study. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2013 Jan;67(1):75-82.
- Skarupski KA, Tangney CC, Li H, et al. Mediterranean diet and depressive symptoms among older adults over time. J Nutr Health Aging. 2013;17(5):441-5.
- Armstrong, L.E., et al., “Mild dehydration affects mood in healthy young women,” J Nutr. February 2012; 142(2): 382–8.
- Erickson KI, Voss MW, Prakash RS, et al. Exercise training increases size of hippocampus and improves memory. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 Feb 15;108(7):3017-22.
- Hölzel BK, Carmody J, Vangel M, et al. Mindfulness practice leads to increases in regional brain gray matter density. Psychiatry Res. 2011 Jan 30;191(1):36-43.
- Furuyashiki, A., Tabuchi, K., Norikoshi, K. et al. A comparative study of the physiological and psychological effects of forest bathing (Shinrin-yoku) on working age people with and without depressive tendencies. 2019; Environ Health Prev Med 24, 46.
- Woodbury A, Ping Yu S, Wei L, et al. Neuro-Modulating Effects of Honokiol: A Review. Front Neurol. 2013; 4: 130.