From (Heated) Pillows to Probiotics, We Tested 10 New Ways to Bust Your Bad Mood

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So you’re in a bad mood. Depending on the circumstances, the symptoms of a bad mood — sadness, restlessness, loss of sleep — can oftentimes be addressed through easy at-home hacks and items that don’t require a pricey professional visit or prescription.

For Zak Williams, son of the late actor Robin Williams, the loss of his father in 2014 spiraled his anxiety “into overdrive” and led him on a six-year search for ways to cope more naturally. “[After my father died] I found myself depressed, anxious and unable to cope with daily life,” he tells Rolling Stone. “I found myself trying to treat the chronic stress and anxiety I had with alcohol and cannabis products, which left me feeling numb, disconnected and addicted.”

On a search to find healthier ways to cope, Williams discovered the benefits of adaptogens and amino acid complexes that are said to help “recalibrate” the body and brain. “I spent the next two years innovating on compounds, taste, bioavailability and accessibility to create a safe, natural and effective anxiety and stress relief product,” he says.

This year, Williams officially unveiled PYM (Prepare Your Mind), a “mental health support brand” that launched with the release of a tin of “mood chews,” designed to help calm nerves and anxiousness, especially in uncomfortable or overwhelming situations. According to PYM, the fruit-flavored gummies naturally target your body’s hormone levels, to effectively manage stress and anxiety. It’s not a one-dose-fix-all solution, but if you need a little boost, Williams says a couple chews could go a long way.

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And while everyone’s relationship with mental health is different (and ever evolving), Williams says the important thing is to not leave your feelings unchecked. “Your mood is your body’s barometer on what your needs are,” he says. “If you are not taking care of yourself, your moods will be inconsistent and will not be balanced. In my case, when I neglect my well-being, I end up responding disproportionately and make mountains out of molehills, I get defensive for things I shouldn’t be defensive about, and I find myself getting resentful over silly things,” he says. “When I take care of myself and listen to what I need, I can get to being joyful and am able to manage challenging situations and scenarios with ease.”

“When I’m able to check in with myself and actually understand how I’m feeling, I’m able to provide myself with the things I need to balance me out,” Williams continues. “And when I’m feeling balanced,” he says, “I can show up for others as I would want others to show up for me.”

Whether you’re looking for a way to relax, something to help calm your nerves, or something to cheer you (or a friend) up, we’ve rounded up ten products that can help bring some lightness and levity back to your life (Note: we don’t profess to be medical professionals, so if you’re experiencing severe mood swings or anxiety, it’s always best to speak to a doctor). For everyone else, scroll through this list to find a few easy ways to get a little lift this week.

1. Miroco Light Therapy Lamp

Amazon

One of the easiest ways to boost your mood is with a little bit of light therapy. This UV-free desk lamp delivers a warm, cascading glow to mimic the appearance of sunlight. It’s great for people who suffer from seasonal affective disorder (S.A.D.) or those who need a pick-me-up during the day. It’s also idea for those who have trouble waking up in the mornings, as the gentle light slowly lulls you up from bed.

The mood lamp delivers up to 10,000 lux of light; choose from three modes based on your light sensitivities and desired effect. You can also set a timer to deliver anywhere from 10 to 60 minutes of light. The simple, portable design allows the lamp to easily stand on a desk or bedside table; it folds flat when not in use.

Miroco Light Therapy Lamp, $37.99, available at Amazon

2. Mood Probiotics

Jetson

The team at the probiotic supplement company, Jetson, believes that the key to improving your mood could start from the gut. According to Jetson, 90% of your serotonin (the so-called “happy chemical”) lives in the gut, making it important to keep your gut healthy. Jetson’s “Mood” capsules contain three clinically-validated probiotic strains, along with vitamin D and vitamin B12 for vitality, and L-theanine, an all-natural amino acid that Jetson says can help reduce stress-related symptoms, depression and anxiety.

The capsules are super easy to take and in our experience, have been gentle on the stomach. They can be incorporated with other daily vitamins as well. Take a Mood capsule daily or as needed when you feel moodiness symptoms creeping in. As Jetson says on its website, Mood is a “complete powerhouse probiotic capable of bringing back the pep in your step.”

Mood Probiotics, from $35, available at Jetson

3. Caliper CBD

Caliper CBD

Caliper CBD’s perfectly precise packets contain 20mg of odorless, flavorless, dissolvable CBD powder that can be easily added to any food or beverage for a quick boost to your overall mood and provide temporary relief from stress, occasional aches, or restless nights. Caliper was founded by CBD skeptics who recognized a need for a quality, science-backed CBD in an industry rife with misinformation and unfounded claims.

Caliper says its clinical studies have shown its CBD powder is 6.5 times more bioavailable in the first 15 minutes and 4.5 times more bioavailable overall than oil-based CBD, which means you get more of the CBD you expect. Why we like Caliper: it offers you the flexibility of CBD on your terms, wherever and whenever you need it most. Sprinkle this into a glass of water, your morning coffee or a cup of tea before bed.

Caliper CBD, $49.99 (30-pack), available at TryCaliper.com

4. Heatbag by Ostrichpillow

Ostrich Pillow

The company behind the ingenious (if a little clunky) Ostrich pillow has come up with a much easier way to relax. The heatbag (stylized as one word) is a new take on the classic hot water bottle or heating pad. It’s filled with natural clay, rather than water inside, which is safer to use and stays warm or cold for a longer period of time. The filling is wrapped inside a squishy memory foam cover and lined with a T-shirt-soft jersey material.

The heatbag is great for post-workout aches and pains, and the company says it’s great to help relieve cramps and minor aches as well. Microwave the clay for just 30 seconds and zip it inside the cover. The bag is designed to release heat slowly; we alternated between having the heatbag against our back and propped on our shoulders, and the warmth lasted for hours. If you want to melt away your stress or recover a little “me” time, this should be an essential part of your self-care kit.

Heatbag, $59.99, available at Ostrichpillow

5. PYM Mood Chews

PYM

If you don’t love the idea of taking pills, consider these citrus-flavored gummies from Zak Williams’ company, PYM. The PYM Mood Chews are made with safe, naturally-occurring amino acids like GABA (for pain relief), L-Theanine (for relaxation and focus) and Rhodiola (for support for depression and anxiety). Take one gummy a day, or whenever you start to feel a sense of anxiety or start feeling overwhelmed. The all-natural formula is gluten-free and sugar-free and starts working within minutes.

PYM Mood Chew, $30, available at You Can PYM

6. Studio Oh! Current Mood Candle

Amazon

Candles can be a great way to — literally — burn off the bad vibes, and this one, dubbed “Current Mood,” is made in the USA by stationery and home accessories brand, Studio Oh! The candle is made from an all-natural coconut-soy wax, with essential oils and notes of red currant, cassis, roses and pomelo. It’s grounded by base notes of incense and vetiver, for a warm, soothing scent that’s subtle and delicate — not overwhelming. Each 7. 5 oz. scented candle gets up to 40 hours of burn time.

Current Mood Candle, $20, available at Amazon

7. Bulletproof Coffee Kit

Bulletproof

Thousands of people tout the brain-boosting benefits of Bulletproof Coffee, which uses the addition of MCT oil to burn fat, boost cognitive function and increase energy. This set gets you a 12 oz. bag of coffee, plus a bottle of Brain Octane C8 MCT Oil and grass-fed ghee. Blend 1-2 tsp of ghee and the Brain Octane oil into your coffee for an instant energy boost and to help with focus.

Bulletproof also sells a number of high-powered advanced supplements that help with everything from stress relief to mental clarity and sleep. See their top-rated products here.

Bulletproof Coffee Kit, $56.60, available at Bulletproof

8. Udemy Happiness Courses

Nebojsa – stock.adobe.com

The online learning site Udemy has an entire section dedicated to “happiness courses,” with classes about how to get “unstuck” from your life, how to manage stress and anxiety, and even courses on how to manifest more joy in your work, relationships and daily interactions. The courses are taught by certified life coaches, professors and industry leaders, and with prices starting at just $9.99, it’s way cheaper than therapy.

Sign up for a class and get instant access to hours of online lectures, reading materials and more. Unlike real school, you can show up to class whenever you like and proceed at your own pace.

Udemy’s featured course in this category right now is dubbed “Happiness: Practical Secrets to Being Happy.” Taught by a leading motivational speaker, the course promises to help you build the mindset and skill-set to feel more fulfilled, empowered and in control of your life.

“Practical Secrets to Being Happy,” $99.99, available at Udemy | See more courses at Udemy.com

9. Pet This F*cking Puppy – A Touch-and-Feel Book for Stressed Out Adults

Always Fits

This tactile board book is a grown-up version of the scratch-and-sniff books you loved as a kid, only with decidedly more adult-themed text. The book features 12 pages of puppies, rainbows, sunsets and other mood boosting motifs, each with a different texture or interactive element. It’s great for when you need a little respite or distraction, or when — as the publisher states — you need to calm the fuck down.

The book is available on AlwaysFits.com, a site known for its irreverent books and home goods, and pop culture-inspired gifts and accessories.

Pet This F*cking Puppy, $18, available at Always Fits

10. TeeTurtle Reversible Octopus Plush

Amazon

Show your mood without having to say a single word. These plush toys were popularized on TikTok and feature a reversible, flip-over design, with a smiling face on one side and a frown on the other. The palm-sized plushies are available in more than a dozen colors, and while we can’t promise that they’ll cheer you up, they can hopefully add a little smile to your day — even if it’s not on your face.

TeeTurtle Reversible Octopus Plush, $14.66, available at Amazon

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