We’re all intimately familiar with what it’s like to be in a bad mood. Sometimes there is a reason for it, other times you simply wake up on the wrong side of the bed. There are times bad moods need to be felt. Where we need to take a day to take it easy or process the reasoning behind our mood. But there are other times you can recognize you’re in a bad mood and that you don’t want to be in it but you can’t get out of it. The bad mood becomes a dense fog you want to navigate out of, but every turn is met with fog.
Just as pilots plot their routes before take-off and have GPS to help them navigate if the weather turns, you too can plot a way out of your bad mood before it happens. Create a bad mood tool box that contains a list of things you can run through to help you navigate your way out of the bad mood cloud and back to enjoying life. This bad mood tool box will be your guide back to inner peace.
What you add to your tool box is up to you. It takes trial and error to see what will work. When you find something you enjoy, something that elevates you, add it to your bad mood list. This way, when you’re in the midst of the bad mood cloud you don’t have to spend the energy thinking through what will help you. You can simply run through your pre-created list. If you have negative coping strategies, you can place the list somewhere near those things so when you’re tempted to turn to them, you have other options. Here are some tools that many of my clients have found to be helpful:
- A walk. Take a walk out in nature. Notice the weather, the plants, the animals you see as you walk. Put your phone away and breathe the fresh air. Nature is healing
- Ground Yourself. Put your bare feet on the ground. Feel the grass, the snow, the rain, or the warmth under your feet. Become reconnected with the earth.
- A podcast. Listen to a podcast. It can be an inspirational one or simply one you find interesting. Immerse yourself in what is being talked about. This break from your own thoughts can be just want you need to help elevate you out of the bad mood. Some of my favorite podcasts are the Skinny Confidential His & Her podcast, Glennon Doyle’s podcast: We Can Do Hard Things, Gabby Bernstein’s podcast: Dear Gabby, and the Rachel Hollis podcast.
- A videogame. Play your favorite video game! This is another great tool that can give you a break from your thoughts. This break can be just what you need to regroup and break the bad mood.
- Change of scenery: Changing your scenery or your daily routine can help you switch your perspective. Removing yourself from your day to day routine helps you realize that there are bigger things at work and the universe doesn’t center around you and your problems. Reaffirming that life goes on and the world keeps spinning, even when it all seems to be crumbing down, can be comforting when it feels like the weight of the world is on your shoulders.
- Create a good things photo album: Create a photo album in your phone with all the things you encounter that bring you joy. When a bad moods arises pull it out and look at all the things in your life that you love.
- Hydrate. When everything seems complicated, impossible, and horrible, ask yourself how much water you’ve had that day. Sometimes it just as simple as you’re not able to deal with the hard thing’s life is throwing at your because the only thing you’ve had to drink all day is iced coffee. Water is key, it might not be that simple but sometimes it is that simple.
- Nutrition: When was the last time you had a fruit, vegetable, and protein? It’s unfair to ask our bodies and minds to perform at 100% when we aren’t feeding them the nutrients they need to thrive. When you feed your body a wide variety of nutrient dense foods it will have the fuel it needs to perform at its best. Your body will let you know when it isn’t getting what it needs, sometimes that manifests in a bad mood.
- Meditation. Meditation is great for so many things. It reconnects you with yourself, your true self without all the outside noise. It’s also a practice of taking control of your thoughts. Having control over your thoughts is game changing.
- Gratitude practice. Where you place your focus is the reality you create. If you are focusing on everything going wrong, your reality is that everything is wrong. If you place your focus on the things going right, your reality is everything going right. By consistently engaging in a gratitude practice you can train your brains baseline, it’s default focus, to be focused on the positives. This is a game changer for increasing your satisfaction and enjoyment with life.
You may get to the bottom of your list and find your still in the bad mood cloud. If nothing works-do nothing. Sometimes the only thing you can do is hunker down and wait for the fog to lift. When this happens, the best thing you can do is nothing. Sleep it off, and find comfort in the fact that nothing lasts forever, the storm will lift and you can make it through. Brene Brown is an American Researcher who studies human emotions. In her talks, she speaks of overwhelm. Bad moods can sometimes build to the level of becoming overwhelming. When it seems like nothing is going right, you cannot communicate with others or yourself the way you usually would, or if tasks that are usually doable become unmanageable, it’s a sign your bad mood is transforming into overwhelm. Overwhelm transcends the feelings of being stressed or annoyed. Overwhelm means you cannot process the events in your life at the speed they are happening. Your internal systems are overloaded. When this happens, Brown confirms the best thing to do is nothing. Don’t drive, don’t make important decisions, don’t work, don’t cook dinner, or clean. Do nothing. Your nervous system needs time to calm down. When in an overwhelming bad mood, the best thing to do is hunker down, breath, and wait for the clouds to pass. You have got this.
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