Mood-boosting Lifestyle Strategies

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 As endocrinologists, our main focus is on hormonal health, but we believe that it is important to address endocrine issues with consideration to your health and wellbeing as a whole. Low mood (that may have causes other than or in addition to hormonal changes) is a common issue that comes up in our consultations, and so we often share care of these issues with our GP, psychiatrist and psychologist colleagues.  But a very common and reasonable question we often get is: 

 “What can I do to help myself?” 

“How can I improve my mood in addition to or instead of medication or to help be able to come off medication?” 

Our colleague Dr Karl Jansen, Psychiatrist,  has kindly shared some evidence-based strategies to help with mood and anxiety below  

An increase in dietary tryptophan may help improve antidepressants to be more effective and may reduce low mood and anxiety. A higher level of tryptophan needs to combined with carbohydrates, preferably complex carbohydrates, for optimal absorption (otherwise the tryptophan will have to compete with other amino acids for the same absorption pathway).  

Dark chocolate, and fruits such as pineapple, bananas, kiwi fruit, and plums are good dietary sources. Tomatoes, all poultry (chicken, goose, turkey), eggs, all milk products (e.g. milk, cheese), fish (e.g. salmon, canned fish), nuts and seeds (including peanuts, peanut butter, pumpkin and sesame seeds), tofu and soy including soy sauce, cocoa powder, spirulina, whey, and dried herbs (Spearmint) ideally need to be combined with carbohydrates. Pure tryptophan and 5-HTP supplements can be self-defeating; the co-factors found in food are needed for absorption. 

Self-management approaches can be effective. There are many books for the public on managing mood. Many can be found, for example, at or in the library system. There are numerous free videos on YouTube, and many audible books at 

You could consider, for example, Unwinding Anxiety, The Anxiety Toolkit, Overcoming Anxiety, Rewire Your Anxious Brain, Mind Over Mood, Mindfulness for Beginners and The Power of Now. 

For procrastination, Eat That Frog! is a very short book which contains key advice in this area. For non-readers, this is also available as an audible book. Beyond that are larger works such as Get It Done, Get Things Done, The Getting Things Done Workbook and How to Get Things Done. 

There are many accessible books on improving short term, working memory, some of which are also available as audible books. I recommend The Memory Book by Harry Lorayne and Jerry Lucas, Unlimited Memory by Grandmaster Kevin Horsley, How to Develop a Brilliant Memory – Week by Week, Memory Craft, Keep Sharp, You can have an Amazing Memory, The Complete Guide to Memory and Memory Rescue. 

Movement and exercise of any kind are almost always helpful. 

Dr Karl Jansen  

MB.ChB., M.Med.Sci., D.Phil. (Oxon.), FRCPsych 

has over 30 years of experience as a psychiatrist.  He assess and treats mostly general adult psychiatry, adult ADHD, mood and anxiety disorders, court reports, post-traumatic stress disorder and addictions including alcohol.   

Areas of Specialisation 

  • Psychiatric Disorders 
  • Alcohol & Drug Abuse/Addiction 
  • Anxiety Disorders/Depression 
  • ADHD 
  • Chronic Fatigue 
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder 

Find out more about Dr Karl Jansen here:

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