7 Natural Ways To Increase Feel-Good Hormones

Did you wake up on the wrong side of the bed? We all have off days, but it can be hard to shake off. Suddenly, everything seems more stressful than usual! Or maybe you’re in a funk, making it hard to focus on work or school. Fortunately, it’s possible to give your “feel good” hormones a boost.

You don’t even need to do anything crazy. Simple habits hold a lot of power, especially when you’re feeling low. It’s all about self-care and being kind to yourself. For a personal pick-me-up, try one of these natural mood-enhancing hacks.

1. Drink Water

Hydration Activates Mood Regulating Neurons

The solution might be a simple glass of H2O. If you’re dehydrated, mood-regulating neurons in the hypothalamus get thrown off. The result is irritability, fatigue, and a downright crummy mood. It can even happen with mild dehydration, so drink up.1 Not a fan of plain H2O? Infuse it with herbs or fruit for tasty, healthy flavor.

2.
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Soak Up The Sun

Vitamin D IN Sunlight Activates Seratonin

Head outside if you’re feeling low. Sun exposure helps the skin make vitamin D, a nutrient that promotes production and activity of serotonin. This brain chemical is in charge of both mood and behavior, but low levels can leave you feeling down.2 Plus, nothing beats a breath of fresh air. It might be just what you need to recharge.

3. Snack On Dark Chocolate

Pamper Yourself With Dark Chocolates To Feel Good

Aside from being delicious, dark chocolate is an amazing mood booster. A 2009 study in Journal of Proteome Research found that it reduces cortisol, the stress hormone.3 It’ll even decrease dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine, three hormones that regulate stress and mood.45

Go for high-quality dark chocolate that’s made of 72 percent cocoa or higher.6 Avoid milk chocolate, which is simply full of sugar.7

4.
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Eat Fatty Fish

Fatty Fish Helps Neurotransmitters Work Efficiently

Don’t let the name fool you. Fatty fish is excellent for the body and brain, especially when you’re feeling off. You’ll get a healthy dose of omega-3 fatty acids like docosahexaenoic acid, a fat that supports the nervous system. It’ll increase availability of neurotransmitters and help “feel good” chemicals work efficiently.8 Fish like salmon and tuna also offer niacin, another nervous system helper. It explains why niacin deficiency is associated with low mood!9

5. Inhale Essential Oils

Aromatherapy Elevates The Mood

Aromatherapy

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is more powerful than you think. In a 2015 study, researchers found that healthy females can lower cortisol by inhaling bergamot essential oil.10 Petitgrain essential oil can also balance the autonomic nervous system, helping both emotional and mental states.11 To benefit from aromatherapy, use a diffuser or essential oil warmer. You can even take a whiff straight from the bottle.

6. Meditate

Aromatherapy Elevates The Mood

Whether you’re anxious or sad, meditation will lend a hand.12 The practice is wonderful for enhancing mindfulness while calming the body and mind. Focused meditation is especially useful for controlling cortisol, so find an object and let yourself zone out.13 A few minutes is all you need. Find a quiet space, and turn off your phone. Count to 10 and breathe deeply.

7.
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Do Yoga

Yoga Sessions Decrease Cortisol Levels Immensely

Stress less with yoga, a gentle way to squash a lousy mood. Even just one session has been proven to decrease levels of cortisol.14 Want to take it up a notch? Add meditation and aromatherapy to your yoga flow.

If

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you’re a beginner, don’t worry. Easy and light poses will still make you feel good as new. Why wait until you’re feeling blue? By adopting these habits into your wellness routine, you can ward off low moods before they start.

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