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How lifestyle can brighten your mood
Date: 2019-07-09
Author: By Georgia Marrion, BHSc(Comp med) AdvDipHSc(Nat) MHumNut
Access: Public

The mood we experience on a daily and weekly basis are influenced by many internal and external factors. Also, our mood can have a significant impact on our overall health.

While fluctuations in mood is part of being human, there are lifestyle strategies that can be put in place to support a healthy mood and therefore overall health and happiness.

When considering internal factors that can influence our mood, remember that all body systems are connected. So if these systems are in balance, our mood is generally humming along nicely, meaning less mood swings, a generally positive outlook and a good stress response. However if they are out of balance, our mood can be negatively affected.

Factors affecting mood
Gut health influences mood by directly communicating with the brain and influencing the synthesis of many of the brain’s messengers (neurotransmitters).1

External factors that can influence our mood include too much stress (physical or mental), excessive environmental noise and pollution, lack of sleep, poor dietary habits and alcohol intake.2-6

Along with reducing exposure to these external factors, there are a number of lifestyle strategies that can be put in place to support a healthy mood.

Key treatment strategies
The saying ‘we are what we eat’ holds true for mood, with links observed between positive mood and a wholefoods-based diet that includes plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, fish, wholegrains, quality fats, protein and adequate water.2,3,7

Hormones including oestrogen and progesterone also regulate mood, and imbalanced levels have been associated with mood changes.8

Good gut health is an important part of a healthy mood, so including fermented and probiotic foods such as yoghurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, fresh miso or a good quality probiotic supplement to a wholefoods-based diet can provide extra support.

Ensure you are getting enough of the key mood nutrients including magnesium, selenium, zinc, B-vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids.9-11

Lifestyle changes
Including stress management practices into daily life such as meditation, mindfulness and yoga have also been associated with boosting daily mood,12-15 while spending time in nature has been linked with improvements to mood and happiness.16 A number of meditation and mindfulness apps are now available for download on mobile devices and can fit into even the most busy lifestyle.

Other strategies that help to support a healthy mood include regular exercise and getting adequate sleep.17,18

Including the above diet and lifestyle suggestions into your life can have a positive and long-term impact on your overall mood and sense of wellbeing.

If you would like further mood support, please discuss interventions with your healthcare provider. To find a healthcare practitioner in your local area, please visit our Find a Practitioner page.



1. Wiley NC, Dinan TG, Ross RP, et al. The microbiotia-gut-brain axis as a key regulator of neural function and the stress response: implications for human and animal health. J Anim Sci 2017;95(7):3225-3246.
2. Marx W, Moseley G, Berk M, et al. Nutritional psychiatry: the present state of the evidence. Proc Nutr Soc 2017;76 (4):427-436.
3. Jacka FN, Cherbuin N, Anstey KJ, et al. Western diet is associated with a smaller hippocampus: a longitudinal investigation. BMC Med 2015;13:215.
4. Triguero-Mas M, Gidlow CJ, Martínez D, et al. The effect of randomised exposure to different types of natural outdoor environments compared to exposure to an urban environment on people with indications of psychological distress in Catalonia. PLoS One 2017;12(3):e0172200.
5. Tzivian L, Winkler A, Dlugaj M, et al. Effect of long-term outdoor air pollution and noise on cognitive and psychological functions in adults. Int J Hyg Environ Health 2015;218(1):1-11.
6. Rodrigues R, Franke RA, Teixeira BC, et al. Combined and isolated effects of alcohol intake and one night of sleep deprivation on mood states, hormonal and inflammatory responses in healthy male adults: a crossover randomized controlled trial. Chin J Physiol 2017;60(6):327-337.
7. Jacka FN, Kremer PJ, Leslie ER, et al. Associations between diet quality and depressed mood in adolescents: results from the Australian Healthy Neighbourhoods Study. Aust N Z J Psychiatry 2010;44(5):435-442.
8. Del Río JP, Alliende MI, Molina N, et al. Steroid hormones and their action in women’s brains: the importance of hormonal balance. Front Public Health 2018;6:141.
9. Serefko A, Szopa A, Poleszak E. Magnesium and depression. Magnes Res 2016;29(3):112-119.
10. Wang J, Um P, Dickerman BA, et al. Zinc, magnesium, selenium and depression: a review of the evidence, potential mechanisms and implications. Nutrients 2018;10(5):584.
11. Nabavi SM, Daglia M, Braidy N, et al. Natural products, micronutrients, and nutraceuticals for the treatment of depression: a short review. Nutr Neurosci 2017;20(3):180-194.
12. Lindsay EK, Chin B, Greco CM, et al. How mindfulness training promotes positive emotions: dismantling acceptance skills training in two randomized controlled trials. J Pers Soc Psychol 2018;115(6):944-973.
13. Colgan DD, Klee D, Memmott T, et al. Perceived stress mediates the relationship between mindfulness and negative affect variability: a randomized controlled trial among middle-aged to older adults. Stress Health 2019;35(1):89-97.
14. Ng QX, Venkatanarayanan N, Loke W, et al. A meta-analysis of the effectiveness of yoga-based interventions for maternal depression during pregnancy. Complement Ther Clin Pract 2019;34:8-12.
15. Pascoe MC, Bauer IE. A systematic review of randomised control trials on the effects of yoga on stress measures and mood. J Psychiatr Res 2015;68:270-282.
16. Capaldi CA, Dopko RL, Zelenski JM. The relationship between nature connectedness and happiness: a meta-analysis. Front Psychol 2014:5:976.
17. Mikkelsen K, Stojanovska L, Polenakovic M, et al. Exercise and mental health. Maturitas 2017;106:48-56.
18. Goracci A, Rucci P, Forgione RN, et al. Development, acceptability and efficacy of a standardized healthy lifestyle intervention in recurrent depression. J Affect Disord 2016;196:20-31.


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