(Note: this post is not attempting to address serious mood disorders. Please get appropriate professional help if you are experiencing depression.)
We all experience the occasional bad mood. But nobody wants to stay there. Thankfully, there are simple, healthy ways we can get out of a bad mood quickly.
Likely the most important tip is:
1) Ignore It
The fastest and easiest way to get out of a bad mood is to simply ignore it. Moods are temporary – both good and bad emotions quickly pass. Whatever you feed, grows. So the more attention you pay to a low mood, the longer it sticks around.
Women are more likely to ruminate than men. We try to analyze what happened and why. This is one of the reasons women suffer from depression more than men.
But ruminating tends to perpetuate whatever it is you’re feeling. No, scratch that. Ruminating tends to perpetuate bad moods, not good.
In fact researchers have discovered that the more people analyze why they’re *happy*, the less happiness they report feeling.
So stop thinking about your moods and just enjoy them. Moods are the spice of life. Go on about your business and do whatever it is you normally do or need to do, and stop freaking out or even paying undue attention to your mood.
Note: French women are good at this. A French woman doesn’t put unrealistic expectations on herself to be happy all the time. She realizes that life has its ups and downs, and she rides it out without drama.
2) Self Nurture
This may take the form of a nap, or a bit of exercise, or whatever makes you feel good without being self destructive. Avoid sugar or empty carbs, which will just make you feel guilty after eating it, and will plunge your blood sugar too low, triggering even more cravings and low mood.
Things that work for me to get out of a bad mood quickly:
A cup of something hot. Caffeine has natural antidepressant qualities, but overdoing it causes problems. I love a cup of oolong tea (a very small amount of caffeine) with a splash of cream, caramel flavoring and sea salt. So decadent yet healthy.
Listening to music I enjoy on Pandora will jolly me out of a bad mood. Going for a walk or spending time outside increases endorphin levels and produces a feeling of well-being, and is one of the most important things I do to elevate my mood. Hugging my kids and hubby helps. Reading a great story aloud to the kids, or reading anything I enjoy reading improves my mood. Staying off the cell phone helps – unless you’re using it to reach out to a friend (see below).
You might find it helpful to make a list of ten things that make you happy, and keep it close by. When you are having a crappy day, pull out your list and do one of those activities.
Note: if you struggle to find time to do the things you love while raising your kids, you need this free e-course, called Make Time For You.
3) Reach Out
When you’re feeling low, the natural tendency is to isolate yourself. We feel tired when we’re in a bad mood, and we don’t want others to see our bad side. A nap or a bit of pulling in may be just the ticket, but sometimes, it’s the worst thing to do.
Reaching out to help others can remind you that your negative feelings are temporary. You focus on someone else, which can bring welcome relief. Shifting focus tends to take you out of whatever mood you’re in.
If you keep a journal, you can go back and read your entries and it will become really clear to you that your moods are transitory. No matter how bad you feel today, you’ll feel better soon – maybe in a matter of hours.
If your bad mood persists over a few days, it may be time to take stock of your life and schedule. What is missing? Perhaps you need to declutter or take something out of your schedule. When I’m feeling low and the mood isn’t passing quickly, I get out my Bullet Journal and make a list of my disquieting thoughts. Then I make a plan of action. Maybe I just need to pray about the issue and be patient. Other times, I can take specific action to solve a problem.
Researchers who study the science of happiness will tell you that:
negative events never impact you as badly as you think they will, once the dust settles and
positive effects don’t impact you as positively as you thought they would, once the dust settles.
I read a little book called You Can Be Happy No Matter What: Five Principles for Keeping Life in Perspective
It has been, literally, a life changing book for me. Another great book: The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin.
So now it’s your turn. What are your tips for getting out of a bad mood quickly?