Natural Mood Enhancers

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About: I'm a creative content creator here at instructables, which means that I have the most awesome job making just about anything and everything! My passions are interior decor, fun and innovative children's pla...

Intro: Natural Mood Enhancers

Ever have that feeling when you're zapped of all energy, and have no idea how you'll get through the day, with all its mundane activities and cumbersome responsibilities? You would love another shot of coffee but you just downed the last cup 30 minutes ago. If this sounds all too familiar, than this is the instructable for you! With the help of slight alterations to your surroundings, sipping natural energy boosters, and the company of friends, we will explore some ways to naturally enhance your mood! Caffeine free, and non addictive, these tips may turn you into an enthusiast junkie- naturally!

Let's get started!

Step 1: Dance/ Sing

So you're not usually the kind of person that sings in the shower or dances in their car at a red light, but try it and it may just help improve your mood.

Rigorous physical activity releases endorphins, or functioning neurotransmitters that resemble opiates in their abilities to produce analgesia and a feeling of well-being. They are produced by the pituitary gland during exercise, excitement, pain, some food consumption, love, and sexual activity. But it doesn't stop there; for dancers who exert themselves for long periods of time, their brain releases even more mood-lifting neurotransmitters such as serotonin and norepinephrine.

Dance therapy has long been used to fight depression and anxiety. But if you're not much of a dancer yourself, watching other people dance may be beneficial as well. According to Robyn Flaum Cruz, president of the American Dance Therapy Association. MRI scans show that watching someone dance activates the same neurons that would fire if you yourself were doing the moves. So when one dancer's movement expresses joy or sadness, others often get to experience it as well, spreading feelings and fostering empathy. Hopefully the mood of the person your watching dance is contagious and you get up and bust a couple of moves!

So crank up that song that its practically impossible not to dance to and sing along while dancing like your life depended on it! If you're not in a better mood within a couple minutes, you might possibly have fallen asleep.

Step 2: Chocolate

The number one food craved by American women now seems to have legitimate science backing the popular candy! Eating chocolate increases the levels of endorphins released into the brain, giving credence to the claim that chocolate is a comfort food. The endorphins work to lessen pain and decrease stress. Another common neurotransmitter affected by chocolate is serotonin. Serotonin is known as an anti-depressant. One of the chemicals which causes the release of serotonin is tryptophan found in, among other things, chocolate.

But it doesn't stop there. According to Adam Drewnowski of the University of Michigan. "We want chocolate in times of stress, anxiety, pain and so on. Chocolate is a natural analgesic, or pain killer."

So, do we get happy because we eat chocolate or does the chocolate make us happy? Go and find out!

Step 3: Apple Cider Vinegar

An apple a day keeps the Dr. away. But some apple cider vinegar (ACV) everyday keeps the depression away! Thats right, ACV helps to improve mood tout suit! Much different than its cousin, distilled white vinegar, ACV is fermented from pulverized apples.

ACV taken before meals will help break down proteins into amino acids, which are instrumental in the creation of tryptophan. Tryptophan plays a critical role in the release of serotonin, one of our "feel-good" neurotransmitters found in the brain. It elevates mood and helps us to feel relaxed, both of which are extremely important for fighting off symptoms of anxiety and depression. The more we can assist in the creation of serotonin, the better. Low levels of serotonin are associated with depression and anxiety.

So, the next time you need a natural boost of energy and a mood lifter, forget your go-to caffeinated beverage, and grab an 8 ounce glass of water mixed with 2 tbls ACV.

Chug it down fast because it doesn't take awesome and give it a couple minutes to work before you begin to feel an awesome mood enhancement!

Step 4: Yoga

You've seen the mats, and have tried the poses, but did you know how yoga helps to improve your mood both in the short term and in the long? Many yoga styles teach meditation and deep breathing techniques to focus the mind completely on holding form, thereby shutting out any other thoughts that may otherwise be preoccupying us, thus creating a physiological and psychological unison. One of the goals of yoga is to augment positive mood states and decrease feelings of anxiety.

Researchers studied the effects of an Iyengar practice of yoga and found there was an increase in positive mood, a decrease in negative mood, and an increase in energy level regardless of the pose practiced. It was also noted in the research that back bending poses specifically increased positive moods in individuals who were hostile and/or depressed.

When you do yoga or any other exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins which interact with the receptors in your brain that reduce your perception of pain. Yoga, like many other exercises, helps lower blood pressure, reduces stress, improves sleep, and even burns calories. Whats not to love? Your mood will brighten, and your body will feel well-stretched

Step 5: Sunshine

Rise and shine and greet the sun! We usually take that large orb for granted, having to spear on loads of sunscreen to protect against it or spearing on oil to bathe in front of it. Whatever your personal uses of the sun may be, add "mood enhancer" to that list!

The reason for this is that as sunlight hits the optical nerve (i.e eye) some of that transferred light is sent to the gland in the brain in charge of melatonin, the hormone responsible for regulating sleep. In response, melatonin secretion decreases. When the sun goes down, the body increases its secretion of melatonin. At the same time, when the body perceives sunlight, serotonin levels increase, the hormone responsible for feelings of well-being. And the more sunlight the human body is exposed to, the more serotonin the brain produces, the more potential there is to be in great spirits!

To further underline the importance of sunshine, let's talk about the winter blues or Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD,) a condition where people get clinically depressed in the winter because there is less sunlight. This happens because serotonin is not being produced in great enough quantities to maintain a cheerful mood. Sun lamps are used in light therapies to substitute the light our bodies need to create serotonin/happiness.

So go out every now and then when you're feeling down and basque in the sunlight for 5-10 minutes.

Step 6: Play

Think about this one for a moment: who are the happiest people you know?

If your answer included small children, then you know where I'm going with this one. Children tend to be the best examples of pure happiness, exhibited through their genuine curiosity, quickness to laugh, and their uncanny ability to live solely in the moment. The newness of a child is magical, but we could definitely learn a thing or two from these upbeat creatures by walking in their footsteps to see how happy people live.

The great philosopher, Plato, reportedly observed, “you can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.”

Children are usually always preoccupied with what is directly in front of them, which is usually a play thing, but which in fact is an avenue to express their experiences and feelings through a natural, self-guided, self-healing process. Expression of this kind, be it physical or psychological, serves as a sort of therapy of the spirit, as it displaces internal energy outward into a productive channel.

Of the most popular variety is sand. At the beach or in a pit, sand's unique texture and manipulation capabilities are vast to say the least. Try running your hands or feet through some sand and see if your mood doesn't brighten a bit. You may not completely forget your stresses and anxiety, but you may, just for a moment even, enjoy what is in front of you, perhaps even finding therapeutic energy playing with the sand grains.

Step 7: Hug It Out

When is the last time you hugged someone? Can't remember? Then its been too long! Hugging/ kissing has both physical and psychological benefits by not only creating a greater sense of closeness and compassion, but also has been proved to reduce heart rates, improve overall moods, lower blood pressure, and increase nerve activity. The simple yet affectionate act releases the feel-good hormones serotonin, prolactin, and oxytocin, and lowers the stress hormone cortisol, a University of Missouri–Columbia study says.

Hugging relaxes muscles and releases tension in the body by stimulating our nerves through touch. Think of it as a mini-massage! Along these lines, they also soothe aches by increasing circulation into the soft tissues. Positive physical touch has an immediate anti-stress effect, slowing breathing and heart rate, reducing anxiety significantly.

Step 8: Chatting Catharsis

Talking to others or even to yourself is a phenomenal way to not only dramatically lessen stress levels, but can even promote stronger focusing skills.

Grab a couple of your best pals and hang out! Talking to friends about anything from the weather to a doctoral thesis is a simple yet unequivocal method to enhancing your mood! You may not even need to actually speak to one another to feel better, but since this section is about chatting, please talk away! Having a good support system be it family, friends, or complete (yet awesome) strangers, talking has an amazing ability to not only relate thoughts and emotions, but to allow ourselves to feel connected to others- and feelings of empathy have remedial benefits. Even if the people you talk to have absolutely no clue what you're going on about, the physical action of speaking serves as a stress outlet.

No one around to chat with? Talk to yourself!

Ever wonder why people who lose something begin to talk to themselves? And no, its not momentary insanity. Quite the opposite actually, according to psychologists Gary Lupyan of the University of Wisconsin Madison and Daniel Swingley of the University of Pennsylvania in a study they conducted that showed that when people who talk aloud to themselves it invariably increases focus and thought organization. But more that that, it reduces stress levels! Apparently talking to yourself has the same therapeutic advantages of journaling in so much that you can say pretty much anything on your mind without fear of judgement and contradiction. It also serves as a physical outlet of pent-up emotion. So go on, blah to yourself! - but be positive!

Step 9: Plants

Plants, either indoors or outdoors, have the ability to not only positively affect our mood but also our physical well being by enhancing creativity and increasing productivity. According to a University of Agriculture in Norway study, indoor plants can reduce fatigue, coughs, sore throats and other cold-related illnesses by more than 30 percent, partially by increasing humidity levels and decreasing dust and removing toxins from the air around them.

House plants make people feel calmer and more optimistic, says Bruno Cortis, M.D., a Chicago cardiologist. Interestingly, he says that studies have shown that hospital patients who face a window with a garden view recovered more quickly than those who had to look at a wall.

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    95 Discussions

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    tangotut

    2 years ago

    I do a short shot of straight Apple Cider Vinegar everyday. Also a scant teaspoon of Turmeric mixed with black pepper. And a shot of good olive oil. Oh, yeah, and I try to eat some garlic as often as possible.

    19 replies
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    tangotutFeleciaB

    Reply 2 years ago

    Blood cleaner, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, immune booster, cholesterol blocker... there might be more but that's enough, right?

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    Lashwaytangotut

    Reply 2 years ago

    ... Blood cleaner? The name sounding suspicius as someone who repairs medical equipment, I did a coursery review, and as expected, pseudoscience bunk.

    I wouldn't expect any of those to hurt you, small quantities of benign products, but you aren't getting a meaningful amount of anything from it either, nothing beyond a big fat placebo.

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    54jonesboy.Lashway

    Reply 2 years ago

    Lashway, Apple cider vinegar may help 'clean the blood'- it kills yeast overgrowth (candida) http://draxe.com/candida-symptoms/#mobile-menuwhich can be in the blood.

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    tangotut54jonesboy.

    Reply 2 years ago

    Thank you. Eating "Natural" beats eating chemicals devised by the "pill companies".

    Before those companies, we ate garlic, spinach, etc. and augmented it with natural substances like herbs and spices.

    These days, there is a substitute for everything! CHEMICALS!

    Mix turmeric and black pepper, half and half, and wash it down with water and apple cider vinegar. Do a shot of good olive oil. NO UNNATURAL chemicals.

    Live longer and have a clear mind to use against Mr Science. (I am just laughing that someone doesn't know how to eat REAL food and not chemicals.)

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    Lashwaytangotut

    Reply 2 years ago

    Wow, obviously you really don't like thinking critically.

    Where to begin?

    A) Everything is chemicals, everything. look up the chemical composition of a banana, looks scary, but isn't, once you arm yourself with a little bit of knowledge. Living in a narrative of food not chemicals is just... simplistic.

    B) Pills are made from the concentration of the chemicals found it plants, and elsewhere in nature, that work as active ingredients, which is why they work. Opting for garlic to reduce your blood pressure is great for daily living, but if you are ill, it is significantly more useful to consume medications based on those properties in garlic because they have a precise degree of those properties in a consistent dose that is so much higher than garlic it is noticed immediately, rather than as the result of long term dietary intake.

    C) Again, this concept of "unnatural" chemicals as evil. After decades of looking, there is no consistent evidence, anywhere, that synthetic chemicals are inherently worse than chemical ones.

    It is something still being heavily tested today, as it should, but I expect that you have already convinced yourself, in so much arrogance, that you and your anti-science kind are the only ones capable of having the answer, without peer reviewed study, and so refuse to consider evidence.

    D) You clearly prescribe to the "Conspiracy of Science", which is something I am particularly good at deflating. For this conspiracy, in which companies pump out pills that don't help because there is no profit in cures and research is falsified to maintain their justification, one must completely ignore that there is no Science Union.

    Hundreds of millions of scientists/employees would have to remain silent every day, for their entire careers. From the researcher working day in and day out to improve cancer treatments, to the lab tech or IT shlub that has to troubleshoot networking issues on a device collecting or processing data. There is no example of any kind in human history that suggests that such secrecy is even remotely possible with that many participants.

    What's more, imagine the glory and protection that would be offered to the family of the Russian/Iranian/Chinese/etc scientist that proved the USA has falsified it's GMO studies, or whatever else, and proved that they caused cancer. It would be an opportunity to shame a rival nation, shake global confidence, and steal the limelight as a nation of honest research and development

    E) You have no room or reason to question my eating habits, you don't know what they are and I haven't offered any details, however, this action is perfectly in line with your demonstrated inability to hold a polite conversation with someone who expects evidence when you pop off wildly unrealistic claims in a public forum.

    I really hope for the sake of your children and community that you at least vaccinate.

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    bpknowitallLashway

    Reply 2 years ago

    by the way, my name is NOT D-Day! I've tried to change it!! Sh'd be bpknowitall :)

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    Lashway54jonesboy.

    Reply 2 years ago

    Yeah, see, this is exactly what I was talking about. This "evidence" is from a "natural healing" blogs, as evidence it only references other natural healing blogs, which in turn also only reference natural healing blogs. There is no actual source anywhere to back up their claim.

    Meanwhile https://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/candida-and-... does source their assertions with actual studies, and non-sceintific sources that do cite scientific sources. What's more, the more digging from the global scientific community one does the more clear it is that there is no actual proof of the problem pushed by the highly unregulated "natural remedies" industry.

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    tangotutLashway

    Reply 2 years ago

    "Mr. Science" who can't spell "cursory".

    Garlic has a well-known effect as a blood cleaner.

    Matter of fact, I recently pickled some garlic. YAY!!! Garlic AND Apple Cider Vinegar!!!

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    Lashwaytangotut

    Reply 2 years ago

    Lol, simple spelling errors are in no way indicative of intelligence, have you ever tried to to read notes from engineers and doctors that didn't go through spell check? But it is a predictable logical fallacy employed by those with no other defense against a belief.

    Now back to the original topic. Please, tell me what they supposedly "clean" from your blood. If the answer is "toxins", then no, there is no evidence of that. Garlic has shown the potential to reduce blood pressure up to 10%, but that's about it.

    I'm glad you enjoy the taste, and you are welcome to continue to do so, no skin off my rear, but don't kid yourself, you are effectively talking about magic.

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    tangotutLashway

    Reply 2 years ago

    Go repair a machine (probably a fryer at McDonald's) and stop annoying the adults.

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    Lashwaytangotut

    Reply 2 years ago

    Ah ad hominem, the last defense of weak minds. Enjoy your your "cleanse," lol.

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    tangotutLashway

    Reply 2 years ago

    Yeah, "your your" too.

    Amazing. Even in a post about enhancing our moods there is still that one individual who is so infinitely superior to everyone else that not one of us could possibly have a snowball's chance at being correct.

    Some people never grow up and they never learn to get along.

    people_are_stupid.jpg
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    Lashwaytangotut

    Reply 2 years ago

    History has highlighted the dangers of psuedoscience cures/cleanses/treatments such as the ones you believe without reasonable evidence, and so I find it important to call it out when it is passed off in the public sphere.

    Practice your non-science based healing all you want, but don't pass it off as somehow more legitimate than crystals or prayer.

    Also, please note that I have not once insulted you, I have challenged your position, I have stated that it is belief, and I have asked for evidence that it is not. You have been name calling and foot stamping like a toddler.

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    tangotutLashway

    Reply 2 years ago

    No one has said that any of these foods are for "healing" anything. It is simple science that shows these herbs, spices, etc. have certain compounds in them which have been proven to bolster the human body against various maladies. I take these things because of the vitamins and minerals - and their preventative properties.

    Vitamin C in oranges has been proven to prevent scurvy. Will you explain to us now that vitamin C is also "pseudo-science"? (Yes, "pseudo-" not "psuedo-".)

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    Lashwaytangotut

    Reply 2 years ago

    False equivalence. The fact that a severe vitamin C deficiency (scurvy) is corrected by consuming vitamin C does not mean vitamin levels are the cause of every illness, nor the solution to them. That is a ridiculous logical fallacy.

    More to point, my issue with this whole thread has been pretty specifically "blood cleaners."

    To my knowledge vitamin based "Blood cleaners" are not a thing, that just isn't how filtration works. If you can find sources that pass peer review to show otherwise, I'm willing to look at them, but I'm not seeing anything but blogs and supplement retailers that all just follow the Natural Fallacy.

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    tangotutLashway

    Reply 2 years ago

    "vitamin based "Blood cleaners" are not a thing"

    I never suggested that vitamins clean the blood. You are making things up to suit yourself.

    Nor did I say that vitamin deficiency is "the cause of every illness."

    You are arguing for the sake of argument and putting words in my mouth. Fail.

    Thank you for ruining our day with your pompous, know-it-all attitude.

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    Lashwaytangotut

    Reply 2 years ago

    Then what cleans the blood? This is the third time I've asked. What cleans the blood, and what is it cleaning? This could be resolved with a simple sourcing of your claims.

    >Vitamin C in oranges has been proven to prevent scurvy. Will you explain to us now that vitamin C is also "pseudo-science"?

    This is a common example used by anti-science natropathers to support both the validity of whatever supplements they decide to take and the idea that all illness can be treated with some homeopathic supplement giving them the nutrition they missing. Once I saw that, some general assumptions fell into place.

    I am happy to hear that is not the case with you, and because I am a person who operates on evidence, not belief, I can gladly apologize for that assumption, and can do so without invalidating the conversation as a whole :)

    Thank you for having a discussion that I hope will resolve in you actually supporting your claim, rather than you just being a gigantic gaping *hole on the internet.