5 Steps to a Better Mood
An integrated approach to managing mood is often the best, but not always the easiest if we’re already feeling overwhelmed.
There are the obvious things – like controlling blood sugar, limiting alcohol, practising meditation, and getting in your daily movement, but we don’t always have time to get those perfect. Even when we are nailing our self-care, it’s still easy to feel the effects of a stressful life on our mood and mental health. When it comes to supporting mood naturally, these proven picks for quick and easy supplements, tools and tricks can go a long way to transforming your day.
Get a BIG dose of B Vitamins.
When it comes to mood, the B Vitamins have been underrated for years. We’ve always known that they are important – they are essential for metabolism, energy, and enzyme function - but over the last 10 years, it’s become abundantly clear that they also play a critical role in mood regulation, anxiety, and depression. This all stems from a biochemical process called Methylation, which regulates our mood and energy production, as well as DNA repair, detoxification, oestrogen metabolism, fat metabolism, liver health, histamine metabolism and more.
Vitamin B6 – involved in the creation of serotonin, dopamine, and GABBA, neurotransmitters that regulate emotion, mood, and sleep.
Vitamin B12- involved in the synthesis of serotonin and dopamine. Low levels have been linked to depression, poor memory, and cognitive impairments.
Folate – required for the cofactor that helps produce serotonin and dopamine. Low levels have been linked to depression and Alzheimer’s, and interestingly, low levels can also lead to a poor response to anti-depressants. Treatment with folate alongside anti-depressants has been shown to improve outcomes.
B5 – known as the anti-stress vitamin, B5 is essential for the production of serotonin, stress hormones and acetylcholine, which helps regulate focus, memory, and learning. Low acetylcholine is linked to fatigue, brain fog, irritability, and insomnia.
What depletes our B’s? Stress, alcohol, caffeine, the birth control pill, NSAIDS, excess or endurance exercise, and diets high in refined starch/sugar.
Try Vagus Nerve Stimulation.
This cranial nerve is like our built-in tranquilizer – it connects our mind and body, and its main job is to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, or the rest and digest response. Sound technical? It is not. The best ways to activate this nerve are quick, easy, and – even better – free. Breathwork is number one in the vagus nerve tool kit, followed closely by singing, laughing, chanting, meditation, and journaling. Our microbiome is an important player in vagus nerve regulation, which we will talk about more in the upcoming weeks. Until then, we recommend trying some breathwork in times of stress. Check out our Instagram for some quick 5-8 minute breathwork exercises you can do right now with Octavia Calthorpe.
Magnesium is *the* mineral when it comes to mood. It’s involved in over 350 biochemical processes in the body, with a whole host of them being in the realm of energy, mood, nervous system regulation, athletic performance (yes, it is an electrolyte), sleep, and stress. Magnesium is especially important if you’re dealing with excess stress; add in external lifestyle stressors that deplete magnesium like coffee, alcohol, sugar, and exercise, and it is no surprise that over 48% of people are deficient. A review of 18 different studies showed that magnesium significantly reduced different forms of anxiety, including mild anxiety, anxiety from PMS, postpartum anxiety, and generalised anxiety.
Try Ear Seeds.
Ear seeds are a form of auricular acupuncture - a powerful Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practice which stimulates trigger points on the ear that correspond to different organs and organ systems in the body. Given how niche it sounds, it’s surprisingly well-accepted when it comes to complementary therapies. Whilst it’s known primarily for its ability to help with addiction (there are well-known protocols for smoking cessation), it is also great for stress relief, controlling cravings, insomnia, and releasing general tension. Super easy, quite relaxing, and incredibly safe, ear seeds are an easy tool to help give your mood some TLC when you don’t have time for a treatment.
Load up on Adaptogens.
Adaptogens are herbs that have been shown to improve the body’s response to stress. They don’t all work in the same way, and different cultures have different adaptogenic heroes. TCM favours Rhodiola and Schizandra, whilst Ayurveda heroes Ashwagandha and Holy Basil – either way, both systems agree on the benefits that adaptogens can deliver for mood, stress, and sleep. Our favourite is Ashwagandha, an Ayurvedic herb that’s classed as a Rasayana - a substance or therapy that promotes longevity, good health, prevents ageing and sharpens mental faculties. Simply put, it makes everything better. We now know that this isn’t just ancient folklore, it’s scientific fact. Randomised clinical trials have demonstrated significant improvements in anxiety and stress, insomnia, and cortisol levels as a result of daily consumption of Ashwaganda extract, compared to control conditions. In close second is Schizandra, which boasts similar (but less researched) effects on stress and mood, as well fatigue, blood sugar control and detoxification.
Packed full of our favourite adaptogens, our Stress Tonic is the perfect way to regain some grounding and calm when you're feeling less than resilient. In honour of Mental Health Awareness Month, we're gifting a complimentary Stress Tonic with every purchase of Enhanced Nootropics so that you feel supported emotionally and physically, whenever you need it.