How to Enhance Your Mood and Tackle Stress

In my previous post, I emphasized how important good quality sleep was to brain health. I highlighted that without good quality sleep it was much more difficult to be in a good mood and to handle stress. When it comes to mood and stress, once you start enforcing good sleep habits, other variables can be very beneficial too, such as improved gut health, exercise, meditation, and positive thinking.

Gut Health

The brain and the gut are continually communicating with one another. Research reveals a clear link between what is happening in the gut and an array of behavioral and mood conditions, along with depression, anxiety, and neurodegenerative diseases. Gut flora imbalances and/or digestive disorders transmit signals to the brain through the central nervous system, giving rise to mood changes.

So in your quest to feeling your best, an important step is to remove foods that do not sustain gut health, such as sugar, refined flour, and industrial seed oils. Focus instead on low-toxin, anti-inflammatory foods. Feeding the good bacteria in your gut by selecting the right foods that work well for you is key.


Exercise (not chronic cardio) naturally helps trigger the release of different beneficial neurotransmitters including GABA. GABA is a neurotransmitter that soothes nerve activity and lessens anxiety. As psychiatrist Dr. John Ratey explains, “Exercise increases all the neurotransmitters that we target in psychiatry for depression, anxiety and attention, as well as helping deal with cravings and addictions. It also makes us much more social, makes us much more eager to connect to other people.” What else is there to say?


Meditation is the ideal practice to feel more serene in your mind, body, and emotions. When you meditate, even for just five minutes a day, it lowers anxiety at the neural level by firing up certain areas of the brain that soothe your nervous system. If you take the time to meditate on a daily basis, you improve your capacity to focus without being distracted for prolonged periods of time. Pick the type of meditation that you can stick to over time. As a starting point, check out some of the many meditation apps available to you as mentioned in my post: 20 Minutes of Me Time Every Day: What to Pick.

On a Final Note

Applying yourself to entertain more positive thoughts via venues like cognitive behavioral therapy and practicing gratitude (see what resonates most with you) can also help you deal with stress and anxiety. Each time you think differently about something, you can progressively rewire your brain by reinforcing new neural pathways. 

Gut health, exercise, meditation, and chasing away negative thinking: four new undertakings that promote brain health. And don’t forget the ones listed in the previous post: good quality sleep, healthy fats, and intermittent fasting. One step at a time.

Until next time!


“Brain Health: The Ultimate Guide to Keeping Your Brain Young and Strong.” Dave Asprey, 12 Nov. 2019, Accessed 29 Jan. 2022.

Henderson, Kim. “METHODS for RELAXATION: 5 of the BEST WAYS to KEEP CALM!” BrainMD, 1 Feb. 2022, Accessed 12 Feb. 2022.

Hickey, Greg. “The Effects of Exercise on the Brain with Dr. John Ratey.” KineSophy, 1 Oct. 2020, Accessed 13 Feb. 2022.

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Mary Davis stated: “The more grateful I am, the more beauty I see.” Indeed, the more you practice gratitude, the more you are going to automatically have a positive outlook on life instead of entertaining a negative worldview. It’s about focusing on the goodness that is already present in your life as opposed to longing for what you don’t have. Gratitude rewires the brain. This well-being triggered by feeling grateful, thankful, and therefore happier can allow you to be stronger and more resilient at the same time.

It’s about celebrating little things (and bigger ones too of course) and making a daily practice of it. Just a few minutes of self-introspection each day can go a long way. Practicing gratitude is a powerful way to strengthen the parts of your brain that are linked to positive thinking. 


One option is to write down 3 things you are grateful for in the morning, and to repeat that at night before going to bed (or at the dinner table as a family). 

You can also do this just once a day, in the morning or evening, whatever works best with your schedule. If in the morning, it can be part of a new morning routine, whether you are an early riser or not. If at night, this can actually help you de-stress from the day’s usual ups and downs.

Another option is the one described by Tim Ferriss in Tools of Titans: The 5-Minute Journal (5MJ), which I find very introspective. 

– In the morning, you want to answer the following prompts:

  • I am grateful for…1._______ 2._______ 3._______
  • What would make today great? 1._______ 2._______ 3._______
  • Daily affirmations. I am…1._______ 2._______ 3._______

– In the evening, you want to reflect on the day:

  • 3 amazing things that happened today…1._______ 2._______ 3._______
  • How could I have made today better? 1._______ 2._______ 3._______

Examples of Gratitudes

When you write down what you are grateful for each day, it is better not to repeat the same things over and over. Going on autopilot is not the purpose of this practice. Find simple things around you, within sights, like passing a beautiful bird on your way to work, enjoying a delicious cup of coffee, or witnessing a happy event. It can be finally completing a project that you are proud of or being thankful for a special moment with your child, reading a book at bedtime. You can be grateful for an old relationship that was dear to you or for the opportunity you have to call someone you haven’t chatted with in a long time. The list can be endless.

And if some days are not perfect in taking the time to count your blessings in writing, it’s okay. Just pick right back up the next day where you left off. Making it a habit to see the good that surrounds you will help you deal with challenges on a whole new level.

Did you get your notebook yet?

Until next time!


Asprey, Dave. “Use Gratitude to Rewire Your Brain.” Dave Asprey, 28 Nov. 2019, Accessed 14 Aug. 2021.

Ferriss, Timothy. Tools of Titans : The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers. Boston, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017, pp. 143–48.

Lipman, Frank MD. How to Be Well: The 6 Keys to a Happy and Healthy Life. Houghton Mifflin, 2019, pp. 232-33.

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