Written by: Dr. Bunmi Aboaba, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
“Happiness is the highest form of health” — Dalai Lama
Some days we may struggle with low mood or decreased energy levels. This can negatively impact all areas of our life and even the smallest tasks can feel insurmountable.
During these time we may need to create a little bit of our own sunshine.
A positive mindset is not a destination, but a process. The little things that we do to improve our mood have far-reaching, long-lasting effects that build up day by day.
I have collated 10 of my best tips to boost mood, mental health, and sense of well-being.
1. Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Ensuring you have enough rest is a basic but essential step in starting your day off with the best possible mindset. Our bodies require six to seven hours of sleep and rest to heal and renew our muscles, organs, and neural pathways. This deep healing is essential for optimum physical and mental activity throughout the day.
Sufficient sleep assists with the regulations of the hormones directly related to our mood and emotions. Lack of sleep causes irritation, frustration, emotional imbalance, a lack of focus and a general feeling of malaise.
2. Focus on Nutrition
You really are what you eat. Changes in blood sugar levels significantly impact mood and energy. Foods high in sugar, salt, fat such as processed and ultra-processed foods are likely to cause fatigue, irritability, anxiety, poor centration, and energy dips.
It is therefore essential to eat a balanced diet focusing on foods that are high in essential nutrients and vitamins such as fruit, vegetables, nuts, healthy fats, and seeds.
3. Stay Active
Get moving! Regular moderate exercise has a significantly positive impact on anxiety, depression, and stress levels. Exercise additionally improves your sleep, memory, and boosts mood. Physical activity is so vital for your well-being due to the stimulation of feel-good endorphins. This helps relieves tension, stress, and boost mental and physical energy and clarity.
Research has demonstrated that just 15 minutes a day of high-impact exercise, or one hour of walking reduced symptoms of depression by 26%.
If sport is not your thing, then fear not! Hoovering, dancing, gardening, and even washing your car will get those happy hormones flowing.
4. Enjoy the Sunshine
Sunlight also releases these powerful endorphins which activate our bodies' reward circuit creating feelings of pleasure, joy, and calm. Sunlight is also key to reducing the onset of SAD (seasonal affective disorder) and Vitamin D deficiency - both of which are common in our British climate.
Spending time in nature also acts as a balm for our minds. Numerous studies have demonstrated that interacting with nature enhances our overall wellbeing and elevates cognitive performance. Urban nature is also beneficial as being somewhere with green spaces, trees, flowers, fresh air, and wildlife is evidenced to improve our sense of connection to the world and boost feelings of happiness and calm.
5. Be in the Present
I cannot promote the benefits of mindfulness and meditation for boosting mood enough! By taking a moment to pause in our busy lives and connect with our body, thoughts, feelings, and emotions we can gain clarity, perspective, and resilience.
Our mood swings, negative reactions, frustration, and anxiety often stem from not being in touch with the reality of our present moment. By recognizing and acknowledging your unhelpful moods or reactions you can choose to behave differently. You can control how to feel today instead of being ruled by your emotions!
6. Avoid Intoxicants
However much effort you are making to follow these tips, smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol, or using substances will undo all of your hard work. Not only are these intoxicants detrimental to your physical health, they negatively impact your mental wellbeing too.
Cigarettes, alcohol, and even caffeine send our bodies and brains on an emotional rollercoaster accentuating any feelings of stress, anxiety, or depression. Despite what the marketing campaigns may promise!
These substances additionally disrupt your body’s natural sleep patterns meaning you will not wake up your best self. They are the epitome of ‘waking up on the wrong side of the bed’!
7. Connect With Others
We all are familiar with the adage a man is not an island. And it is very true. Humans thrive in communities and through positive social interaction. If you are experiencing low mood, it can be all too easy to choose to isolate yourself and focus on what is going wrong instead of what is going right!
Spending quality time with friends or family, sharing your feelings, or helping another person will all combat feelings of loneliness and has been proven to lower stress levels. These in-person communications calm our nervous system which creates a sense of safety and security. 
8. Plan ‘You Time’
Taking a bit of time in your day to do something just for you does wonder for your mood. In our society, we are so conditioned to be busy, productive, and to put others before ourselves. Yet that little bit of ‘you time’ can replenish our resources to do all those things and more!
Maybe it’s running a hot bath, going for a walk, snuggling up with a book, or enjoying a hobby like art, dance, or gardening. If you are in a pattern of not doing things for yourself it may be difficult to find what it is that brings you joy. We are all unique and enjoy different things, so keep trying until you find the activity that makes you sparkle from the inside out.
9. Practice Gratitude
We all have things to be grateful for. Both in terms of what others do for us, what we benefit from in the world, but also in what we can do for others. We all have unique skills and character traits that make us special. Yet on a low mood day, it is easy to forget the things we are grateful for.
I recommend starting each day by filling in a gratitude journal. Your mindset will quickly shift as you list the things you are grateful for. Perhaps it is your comfy bed, the roof over your head, the sunrise, your morning coffee, your family, your ability to make friends or make others laugh, or even the great hugs you give. The list is endless and although it might be difficult at the beginning you will quickly be filling a page!
10. Ask for Help
I have saved this one for last as it is a step that most of us find difficult to accomplish. When we are sad or stressed we tend to isolate ourselves from others and become trapped in a downward spiral. Perhaps we are worried about being a burden or bringing someone else's mood down.
But take a moment to ask yourself how you feel when someone confides in you or asks for your help? Exactly. Most of us feel touched to be a confidante and have immediate empathy and care for the person who needs us.
Remember this, take a deep breath, and reach out to someone for support when you need it. We all need a helping hand from time to time to get us back on our feet.
So, there we have it, my top 10 tips to boost mood and well-being! I would be very interested to hear how you find them and if they have an impact on your quality of life.
My mantra is pretty simple; Sleep well, eat well, move more, laugh, and enjoy! Take control of your day and take the steps needed to create a positive, fulfilling, connected life.
If you are experiencing low mood and issues around food and would like help to improve your sense of well-being, please contact me, Dr. Bunmi Aboaba, Food Addiction Coach, by following this link.
Dr. Bunmi Aboaba, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Dr. Bunmi Aboaba is a Recovery Coach specializing in Food Addiction, helping clients to achieve a healthy relationship with food to meet long-term health goals.
Dr. Bunmi’s work covers the full spectrum of disordered eating, including overeating, compulsive eating, emotional eating, addicted eating, and other associated patterns.
Dr. Bunmi is also the creator of the first Certified Food Addiction Certification to support nutritionists, personal trainers, dieticians, and clinicians to help their clients achieve long-lasting results.
 "More Evidence That Exercise Can Boost Mood - Harvard Health". Harvard Health, 2019, https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/more-evidence-that-exercise-can-boost-mood.  Weir, Kirsten. "Nurtured By Nature". Https://Www.Apa.Org, 2020, https://www.apa.org/monitor/2020/04/nurtured-nature.  Porges, Stephen W. “The Polyvagal Theory: New Insights into Adaptive Reactions of the Autonomic Nervous System”. Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine, vol 76, no. 4 suppl 2, 2009, pp. S86-S90. Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine, doi:10.3949/ccjm.76.s2.17. Accessed 22 June 2021.