Our PT and nootropics expert James Dixon gives you some helpful tips to boost your mood and also brings you his verdict on the best mood boosting supplements available should you need a further pick me up. Read on to find the optimal approach to boosting your mood and alleviating stress and anxiety.
It can be hard to stay in good spirits. There are a lot of factors at play, all or most of which have to converge to make us happy. We need to be relaxed, energized, free and open. We need the energy to keep up and nothing to drag us down. These are all hard to achieve or attain, especially in today’s fast-paced world.
Many more people than you might imagine suffer with some form of depression and anxiety – more than 40 million Americans, according to some estimates.
This makes complete sense, too. We are all buzzing around the whole time, spending more and more energy just to keep up with the pace of modern life. Priority is given less and less to the things that actually make us happy – social interaction and human contact, time spent relaxing or enjoying nature, the head space to think clearly.
Too much emphasis is given to negative, mood sucking elements and activities – social media, commuting to a 9-5 grind, juggling work and personal life, living far too much of our lives connected to the internet.
We need not be too fatalistic about our moods, however. There is plenty you can do – and plenty you can cut out – to boost your mood. Supplementation can play a big part, here. Our moods are very much dependent on our nutrition – what we eat governs how we feel. Because of this, clever supplementation can aid you in gaining relaxation and a heightened mood.
We’ve rounded up some of the best ones on the market. Any one of them should go a long way to helping you to boost your mood and live a happier, more fulfilling, less stressful life.
Natural Mood Boosters
If you want to boost your mood naturally, there are a few things you can do. These can be habits to bring into your daily life, they can be foods, drinks, or even simple changes to the way you view the world.
One of the best ways to improve your mood in the long run is to try keeping a gratitude journal, for example. Each evening, write down a few sentences in your journal. Talk about what you are grateful for that day. This could be a single thing in a little detail. You could list all the things you are grateful for. They can be big (good health, a spouse, a decent house, etc.) or small (having a coffee with a friend, finding a good parking space – I generally prefer these for daily use!)
Exercise is also key to improving your mood. Just half an hour per day of low to moderate exercise like going for a walk or a gentle cycle can boost your mood both acutely and for the longer term. It will give you an endorphin rush that will naturally cheer you up, mitigate anxiety, help you sleep better, and enable you to better manage pain, stress, and worry. It will give you more energy, too, allowing you to face the day more positively.
More intense forms of exercise like weight lifting and sprinting can give you an adrenaline fix that will give you all these benefits far more forcefully and acutely. Learning new skills and pushing yourself hard, learning and pushing your potential, will also improve your confidence, which will go a long way to boosting your mood naturally.
Gentle forms can also be perfect. If you struggle with tension and anxiety, or if you feel overwhelmed in any way, consider trying out yoga or tai chi. They will teach you active and passive meditation, improve your mobility and flexibility, and give you a little space in which to decompress. Yoga can also be a great way to build your physique, leading to improved confidence.
Certain foods and drinks can help. Products with capsicum in them can improve your mood. Think of things with chili in them – cayenne pepper, paprika, spicy bell peppers and so on. Caffeine can also boost your mood and energy levels, though you should only take it in moderation. A little will give you mild health benefits, more energy, and a more positive outlook. Be careful though – more than a couple of coffees per day, for instance, can lead to increased stress and anxiety.
Omega-3 has been proven to help alleviate symptoms depression. You can take it in supplement form, typically from cod liver oil. However, including plenty of fatty fish like salmon and tuna in your diet will give you plenty.
Finally, we’re all chocoholics at heart. Part of the reason for this is that chocolate really can cheer you up. Of course, the sugar included will give you a quick energy burst, which will give you a very short-term mood boost (followed by a crash, though, so do beware). It also gives you plenty of caffeine, theobromine, and N-acylethanolamine, all of which have been shown to improve your mood. It’s rich in flavonoids, which will improve blood flow to your brain, compounding this effect.
Once more, though, less is more – chocolate is highly caloric and typically packed with sugar, so don’t go for too much.
Mood Boosting Supplements
Getting your exercise levels and daily nutrition in check should be your number one priority when it comes to improving your mood. Supplement this with mindfulness activities such as meditation, yoga or gratitude journalling and you will be well on your way to improving mood and releasing tension and anxiety.
If, following this, you still feel that you need a further boos to your mood or more of a cognitive lift then you should also consider natural mood boosting supplementation.
Below, I have compiled 5 of the best mood boosting supplements for you to choose from if you feel you need it.
NooCube is amongst my favorite supplements on today’s market. It’s a nootropic supplement, meaning that it is specifically designed to improve your brain health and function. With this, it should also give your mood and overall mental wellbeing a good boost.
And it’s not just one of my favorite nootropics or mood boosters. It’s one of my favorites of all types of supplements – it’s an incredibly high-functioning, good quality, well-engineered and well-designed product.
As a nootropic, NooCube is designed to improve your memory and concentration, improve your ability to multitask and effectively communicate, and deliver a lift to your mental energy and clarity, overall brain function, and, crucially, your mood.
It does this with a laundry list of potent natural ingredients. I don’t have the space to go through them all here, though you can check out our full, in-depth NooCube review for more information. However, there are a couple worth underlining for their ability to improve your mood.
This starts with Alpha GPC, which most nootropics unfortunately neglect. It’s a compound proven to protect you against cognitive decline. This will ensure long term brain health and mental wellbeing. It can also improve your ability to think creatively and make decisions. Though not in itself a mood booster, it will maintain your cognitive wellbeing, which in turn will allow you more agency over your mood and overall wellbeing.
It also contains a generous helping of Bacopa Monnieri, which is happily found in plenty of nootropics. It’s a potent ingredient for anxiety relief, keeping you calm whilst enabling clearer thinking and improved mental health. It can also improve memory and learning.
Bacopa Monnieri is also a fantastic antioxidant. This will mean less inflammation in your brain, which will in turn protect you against stress, depression, and signs of aging.
NooCube is one of the best nootropics going; it’s one of the smartest supplements on the market in several senses. Your mental wellbeing will improve if you take it – and if you combine it with our mood boosting tips above then you’ll be on to a winner.
New Mood is a very interesting mood boosting supplement. It mostly revolves around serotonin. This is a tricky one. Serotonin is a vital neurotransmitter that is key to maintaining your mental wellbeing. Until very, very recently we understood serotonin to be directly linked to mood, with a lack of it causing depression. A meta-study released just a short while ago disproved this theory, seemingly for good.
However, serotonin medications such as SSRIs are still known to be very effective for treating depression and anxiety. We are just now unsure on the nature of that link – not knowing how serotonin medications affect depression doesn’t undermine the fact we know they do.
With this in mind, New Mood is still a good shout. It contains serotonin’s two building blocks – L-tryptophan and 5-HTP. It also gives you a good dose of vitamin B6, which works as a converting catalyst, as well as several micronutrients known to help optimize your body’s levels of serotonin.
So, it should help you to create optimal amounts of serotonin, which should help to fight depression and anxiety (though we are a little unsure as to why).
It also contains plenty of traditional herbs associated with decreased anxiety levels, combined and tailored to bring you to a state of relaxation and peace. This means that it will fight anxiety on the one hand whilst lifting your mood on the other – it’s a very well-rounded approach which I really do respect.
It comes in a capsule which is easy to take, easy to manage, and will give you a good, long lasting lift to your mood.
New Mood Instant
New Mood Instant works in much the same way as New Mood Original. It is designed to boost serotonin levels. It contains the same two fundamental ingredients as the original recipe – L-tryptophan and 5-HTP. These come with vitamin B6, once more to work as a converting catalyst, and the same micronutrients aimed at boosting serotonin levels for optimum effect.
It includes the same traditional herbs designed to reduce stress and anxiety, meaning that it, too, works from a couple of different, highly effective angles.
So far, so similar.
In fact, their base formulas and the theory underpinning them are near identical. The main difference is in their delivery. The original recipe comes as a capsule. It’s designed for slower release, so you take it once daily and carry on.
New Mood Instant comes as a powder. This means (in theory) it should have faster absorption. I don’t know how useful this is – we aren’t talking about acute ingredients like caffeine here, but rather longer term brain health, though serotonin levels can fluctuate hour by hour.
However, it is easy to use, mixing with a glass of water or a protein shake for a refreshing, positive kick. It comes in four very lovely flavors – mango, pineapple, orange guava, and, my favorite, elderberry lavender.
New Mood Instant will be perfect as part of a morning ritual. Have a glass with your breakfast, every morning, to start your day right and refresh your palate on waking.
Mind Lab Pro
Mind Lab Pro is another favorite of mine. It’s the only other nootropic I use personally on a daily basis (the other being NooCube). It’s high quality, a smart drug almost but not quite without equal, which targets and optimizes several pathways with the brain.
In so doing, it aims to optimize and improve how your brain generates and maintains waves and chemicals. It also helps to improve regeneration with the brain whilst protecting it against the effects of aging.
Mind Lab Pro is a whole brain supplement, which sets it apart from much of its competition. It should help you to maintain improved brain health in the long term. It should also aid your short term brain health, which is where it comes into this list. Your mood should improve in tandem with your cognitive abilities, which should begin to improve very, very quickly.
There are a lot of different benefits you can expect Mind Lab Pro to deliver. Amongst these, arguably the most profound are its ability to improve information retention, short and long term memory abilities, and information recall. It should bring you greater clarity and focus, freeing you from the brain fog from which many of us suffer when we are stressed and/or tired.
Mind Lab Pro also brings a bit of an energy boost. It should keep your mood and energy levels elevated. However, this doesn’t come from stimulants – there is no caffeine or guarana. Rather, by upping the blood flow to your brain whilst delivering the above effects, it should give you more enthusiasm, motivation, and the ability to think more clearly for longer, without the jitters that too many espressos can bring to bear.
Long term – Mind Lab Pro use will help to support improved neural plasticity whilst protecting against the effects of natural cognitive decline and the vagaries of the aging process. In the short term, it should boost your mood, energy levels, and overall ability to think and function clearly.
It’s really quite fantastic.
I want to wrap this list up with a product that brings great potential yet, I think, slightly falls short. It’s still a worthy inclusion and I would encourage anybody to try it out. If you think it sounds right for you, give it a go – it may work wonders for you.
I’m talking about Genius Joy, a natural mood booster from The Genius Brand designed to combat depression and low mood.
The Genius Brand are generally a good bet. I like them a lot. They have earned a solid reputation as mid-quality purveyors of brain supplements (their lead focus enhancing nootropic, Genius Consciousness, is similar to, but not as good as, the nootropics included in this list, Mind Lab Pro and NooCube), health stacks, and other, similar products aimed at so called ‘biohacking’.
The theory is pretty decent. It’s strong, in fact.
Genius Joy sits a little uncomfortably in the nootropic camp, though it undoubtedly brings benefits to your cognitive health and wellbeing. However, it works by addressing serotonin levels, which we have already seen on this list. No matter the recent doubt surrounding serotonin, most healthcare professionals maintain their respect for serotonin manipulation in depression and anxiety treatment.
In focusing on boosting serotonin, Genius Joy aims to aid in reducing stress and anxiety levels, even out mood and energy swings, improve motivation by keeping you mentally healthy and alert, and fight depression.
This is why Genius Joy sits uncomfortably in the nootropic sphere. It doesn’t aim to boost memory, mental clarity, or focus. However, it’s also why it sits so nicely in this list – its primary focus is in mitigating the effects of stress, anxiety and depression whilst aiding overall mental wellbeing.
With this in mind, it includes some fantastic ingredients. It gives you a good dose of tyrosine, a common ingredient on the nootropic market. Tyrosine promotes greater drive and motivation, giving you a degree more focus. Genius Joy also contains high levels of Rhodiola rosea, one of my favorite ingredients for combating stress and anxiety.
However, it also uses a couple of questionable ingredients. These are the ones aimed at boosting serotonin levels, which is problematic – I question whether Genius Joy can fulfill its primary function. This is because it relies on oral 5-HTP ingestion, which is ineffective for boosting serotonin levels (hence why people rely on medically prescribed SSRIs instead) and SAMe, which is unproven in its effects on depression.
It’s a good idea, no doubt. The Genius Brand’s execution is a little off, though.
If you really want to boost your mood, there are two avenues of approach. You can fight depression and anxiety, and/or you can aim to boost brain health and function.
If depression and anxiety are too much of an issue, though, I wouldn’t recommend supplementation. I would recommend talking to your healthcare provider. They will be able to prescribe relevant treatment options, including medication and therapeutic practices.
Supplementation really comes into its own in improving brain health and function.
This is where nootropics are most valuable. I would encourage everybody and anybody to give them a go. The effects can be minor. They can be quite profound. If they are profound, you will find your life completely changed by them.
If you’re going to go for a nootropic (which, as above, you should) then I would recommend Mind Lab Pro or NooCube as the only sensible choices. There are plenty of options out there, of course. However, none of them quite find their mark. None are as well-designed or as high-quality. And, of the two, NooCube wins by a whisker, for me.