Last weekend, I didn’t feel very happy.
Sometimes, the reason(s) why don’t come to me right away.
I try not to ruminate as a general rule (ruminating is one reason why women have more depression than men, and it tends to make a bad mood linger), but I found myself trying to figure out why I wasn’t feeling happy. For the sake of my Happiness Project. So that I could avoid the trigger in the future.
Sometimes, it doesn’t work very well.
What usually DOES work is to DO something that will snap you out of a bad mood.
Here’s a great quote:
…action and feeling go together; and by regulating the action, which is under the direct control of the will, we can indirectly regulate the feeling…”
— William James
In other words, it’s easier to control what you DO than to control how you FEEL. But, by controlling what you do, you end up creating how you feel.
5 Ways to Snap Out Of a Bad Mood
I’ve been exercising daily this month but because we had rain (and my daily exercise is usually walking around my neighborhood), I skipped a couple of days. I invited my 10 year old to go for a walk with me and found my mood immediately lifting. There are reams of studies linking exercise with improved mood. It’s easy, free and accessible to everyone. And it doesn’t have to be exhausting. A 10 minute walk will do the trick.
Music is a powerful “state changer”, to borrow a phrase coined by Tony Robbins. Listening to music has a powerful effect on mood. Pick something that makes you happy and lifts your energy, is in a major key, and which you can sing along to. (Think The Beatles or B-52’s, not the depressive shoegaze 90’s bands of your teenage years (guilty!).
Getting the sun in my face, I have discovered, is absolutely essential to my mental state. I begin to feel the effects of sun deprivation if I stay inside for as little as two days. While I can’t control the weather, I surely can get outside when it IS nice. This is one of the resolutions on my daily checklist. On rainy or gray days, I take a Vitamin D pill.
4) Get Social
Our relationships are our most important happiness maker or breaker. When I’m blue, being near my husband or my mother or a friend always helps. Perhaps this because our loved ones can help us get clarity on things we might miss. For instance, last night while talking to hubs I realized that I *always* feel a little blue every other weekend when my kids are with their dad.
And while I try my best to avoid being negative and especially gossip (happiness suckers), I do find that sharing my feelings helps. Even writing about a bad mood on my blog instantly lifts it. Perhaps it’s true than when you share your problems with someone else, they’re halved?
5) Do Something… Anything
In her book, Gretchen Rubin recommends “creating an easy success” as a key to snapping out of a bad mood. Cleaning out a junk drawer for 15 minutes can give me an immediate high. Doing a little housework, running an errand (especially if it’s to one of my favorite places, the library), reading a story aloud to my kids… anything active and productive, especially if it lifts someone else’s mood, can lift your mood.