With everyone living such hectic lives trying to keep up with work and family life, it’s easy to feel worn out, and even a bit down in the dumps thanks to stress. All you have to do it take a look at the supplement aisle of your pharmacy or stacks of energy drinks in the coolers at the convenient store to know that there are a lot of people out there looking for a way to boost their mood and reduce stress. But before you go chugging caffeine or sugar to try to make yourself feel peppier or whipping out the credit card for a little retail therapy, try one of these methods of naturally boosting your mood.

1. Exercise

According to the Mayo Clinic, just 30 minutes of brisk walking stimulates brain chemicals that reduce stress and boost your mood, and because it also helps you stay fit, you’re more likely to feel better about yourself.

2. Go outside

Natural News reports that Canadian researchers found a vitamin D deficiency and depression are strongly linked. The best way to get enough vitamin D is from the sun, so spend 15 minutes outside each day to get the recommended amount (but be sure to check on sun safe exposure for your area and the outdoor temperature).

3. Draw a cupcake 

While enjoying comfort food may be one way to reduce stress and boost your mood; the typically highly caloric foods don’t do much for the rest of your body. But there’s good news; Mother Nature Network recently reported on a newly released study featured in the Journal of Behavioral and Brain Science that says that drawing a cupcake is just as much of a mood booster as eating one.

4. Spend time with friends

There may be no better feeling than getting some quality time in with good friends. Whether it’s meeting up for a coffee or even talking on the phone, the National Institute of Health’s Medicine Plus guide suggests spending time with good friends and family to help ward off depression and reduce stress. Not only are you certain to have a lot of laughs, but it’s also a great opportunity to offload anything that is stressing you out.

5. Volunteer

If you’ve ever volunteered in the past, you likely know what a wonderful feeling you get from doing so. Not only does volunteering provide a sense of accomplishment, but it can be fun too. The Corporation for National & Community Service says that those who volunteer suffer from lower rates of depression, and tend to have greater functionality and lower mortality rates.

SOURCE: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/5-ways-to-reduce-stress-and-boost-your-mood-naturally.html

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