Quick 15-minute natural mood boosters for your busy life

Sep 22, 2010 at 1:44 p.m. ET

In times of stress and anxiety, it’s easy to fall into down moods from time to time. When you find yourself feeling a little low, is there anything you can quickly do to make yourself feel better? Read on for nine 15-minute natural mood boosters—things that will make you feel better fast.

Woman eating dark chocolate

1Try aromatherapy

Essential oils in scents such as lavender (calming) or rosemary (stimulating) can quickly help you feel more relaxed and cheerful. Try an essential oil diffuser, or even hand lotion infused with one of these fragrances.

2Listen to music

Have you ever sung along to a favorite song on the radio? Didn't it make you feel better? Music seems to reduce stress hormones, may lower blood pressure, and seems to increase positive emotions.

3Indulge in dark chocolate

Used in moderation, chocolate can help boost your mood, probably because it contains several different substances that stimulate mood-boosting brain chemicals. Just don't overdo—keep your chocolate indulgences to an ounce or two.

4Help someone

Studies on volunteering have found that helping someone else helps people feel better about their own lives, as well as reducing sadness and anxiety. Make a quick phone call to an elderly parent, or offer to run an errand for a sick neighbor.

5Clean or organize something

It's hard to feel cheerful if your surroundings are in chaos. Clean out a kitchen drawer, sort through papers on your desk, or clean out your purse for a quick way to feel better about your space.


Laughter triggers the release of endorphins and serotonin—the "feel good" hormones. It also reduces muscle and emotional tension. Create an emergency stash of things that make you laugh—including newspaper comics, funny stories, or a list of websites with funny content.


Meditation has been shown to improve mood and reduce stress levels. People who meditate also display more brain activity in areas of the brain linked to positive emotions.

8Get outside

Natural light helps the brain produce more serotonin, a natural mood booster.

9Stroke a pet

Research shows pets have positive health effects on their owners—they help to reduce blood pressure, loneliness, and stress. Who can feel down while cuddling a cat or petting a dog's silky ears?

The next time you feel down, try one of these quick mood boosters. Better yet—don't wait until you need a lift—incorporate one or more of them every day and you just might avoid a bad mood altogether.

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