There might be various factors causing a bad mood which we ourselves might not be aware of. One catalytic factor might be because we are feeling stressed or bored with our lives. Feelings of unworthiness or low confidence can also lead to a lot of discontent and angst within ourselves. External factors like someone’s irksome behaviour might be one or we could be a victim of a near one’s mercurial temperament. As a matter of fact staying around anyone’s constant unpredictable mood swings, be it a colleague or a friend, is no less a downer. So what do we do to get out of this bad mood?
First, I’d suggest a change of scene. Go outdoors for a while and try to absorb the sound and sights of nature. The soft lull of the leaves in the trees, the vibrant colours of the flowers, the chirping of the birds, the deep blue sky – try to get the feel and sense of every element in your surroundings. Or, if you live in the city go out for a walk and try to absorb the sights and sounds around you. Feel the evening breeze and observe the lively shops, the passersby engaged in their own story of life, children playing, young people frolicking and so on. It will change your focus from whatever has been bothering you at that moment. You might also meet someone on the way in course of your solitary walk, who might want to chat you up and thereby get you involved in his or her conversation. This will help to disengage you from that heavy chatter playing in your mind and thereby break the chain of murky thoughts that seem to hold you a prisoner of your bad mood.
Another way to get out of a bad mood is by writing down your thoughts on paper. Without editing, just write spontaneously about everything that comes to your mind at that very moment. Mention every thought as it comes. The very act of unloading your thoughts on paper will open and give way to the healing process for you. You will feel a lot lighter and find a sense of clarity once you log down your thoughts for the day. Writing really helps and I strongly recommend you try it out. It will reduce the intensity of whatever you are feeling at the moment. You will feel calmer and at the same time you will grow stronger internally. Writing allows you to process those murky feelings till your agitation cools down and you feel at ease and somewhat serene of the whole situation. It will also help you see what are the situations that keep causing you repeated agony and in course of time find a solution to beat that problem. Another aspect to keep in mind is that when we see a problem as a third person or an outsider it helps us gain some sense of meaning or resolution to the conflict raging inside our heart. The reason is that when we are inside our own drama it makes our mind clogged and stops us from assessing our problems logically. But when we are less emotional or analyzing a situation as an outsider we gain more logic over it. Writing also releases the resentments you feel against people. So instead of bottling them up and stewing over them, writing becomes a kind of cathartic release for you. Since it slows down that anger or that intensity of feelings inside us, it also gives us some time to focus on another’s point of view and thereby have a better assessment of the situation.
Exercise is another way to change your mood. Twenty to thirty minutes of exercise can be a great mood booster. Besides cardio and the regular workouts you can opt for something you enjoy for e.g., a dance program like zumba, hip hop, aerobics, belly etc or a fun sport like badminton, cycling, tennis etc. Something that you really enjoy doing instead of it being a punishing routine to be followed every day. You can also join a gym or a club nearby. A regular work out or a dance program will help to keep your mood stable on a daily basis. The people you meet there every day with whom you can enjoy a chat or a laugh in course of your fitness routine also adds up to your mood. Regular exercise will also help weight loss and give you a sense of achievement to boost your confidence levels. The blood circulation and rush of adrenalin in course of your fitness program will help alleviate that bad mood into a lighter and better mood. Exercise helps the brain to release chemicals such as endorphins, adrenaline, serotonin and dopamine which act to relieve the tension and uplift your mood. Yoga is another practice that helps the flow of blood all over the body and removes the blocks causing tension in our body and mind. It helps stabilise our inner world.
Meditation is another great way to beat out a bad mood. Instantly at that very moment, find some place to sit quietly and focus on your breathing. As you relax each part of your body you will find your thoughts slow down. Let your thoughts come and go and don’t try to get attached to any particular thought but be aware of every breath that you take. Try this for ten minutes. You will feel much calmer and lighter after you meditate. If you practise this everyday you will definitely feel like a changed person for life. It’s not that you won’t have bad days or you won’t lose control but you will change into a relatively stronger and calmer person. You can also try out guided meditation where a voice makes you relaxed as it takes you through different images in your mind. Whichever method you use, this is a great technique to uplift you and relieve you from those sore feelings gnawing at your heart.
Music is another way to help alleviate your bad mood. Listen to songs which uplift your heart and has had the ability to put you in a good mood in the past. I am sure you will feel much better again after you get immersed and hum to the tune of your favourite musical melodies.
Daily chores like washing dishes or ironing also keeps you busy and distracts you from following that heavy thought pattern hovering in your mind.
Get involved in a hobby that you are passionate about. Painting, drawing, colouring and craftwork are great stress busters which shifts your focus and gets you involved in its creative process. It will also give you a sense of achievement once you see your creations fill your home and boost your confidence hugely.
If you have a good circle of friends and if they are free then dress up and go out with them. Or watch a good movie. Of course this is something external and hence only a temporary mood enhancer as your friends might not always be around. So don’t depend on this too much. Depend on something which is yours to own, so that you can make it part of your routine or a daily habit. A daily ritual of your own will keep your mind trained to always stay in a good mood and thereby stabilise your mood swings.
Don’t be on social media too much if you are in a bad mood. If you are feeling very lonely at a particular moment, then seeing pictures of your friends holidaying or partying might make you even more morose. Social media also comes with expectations. And if you put up a status that not many people have been inclined to comment or ‘like’, then that might bother you even more. It might also manifest a feeling of being ignored or create a lower self-esteem. Negative statuses of your friends may drive you further into a depressive mood, so it’s best to avoid social media during those instances of your life.
Do random acts of kindness like visiting that aunty who lives all alone or calling that friend who is depressed and encourage her. All these small acts will change your focus from your own situation and help you feel better.
As much as possible, go out and smile. Act as if you are cheerful and enthusiastic about your life and greet people around you in that cheerful fervour. And slowly your mind and heart also will catch up with it till you really feel much happier and better. In other words – “fake it till you make it.”
If you are around someone who is always affected, try not to get drawn into that person’s bad mood. Distance yourself and build a wall internally against that person’s mood. Realise that change of mood is a part of that person’s personality and you need not be a victim of it. You have a choice to decide how your mood will be and not anyone else. Be calm and composed no matter what. Decide for yourself how you will be and what will you be.
Getting involved passionately in your work will keep you focused in the present and keep your thoughts in the right track. Try to live in the present moment as much as possible and not dwell in the past. The past is done. It had its purpose and is water under the bridge now. No point mulling over it. Instead try to see it more philosophically and understand that there was a lesson which we needed to learn for our self-growth.
Don’t fret yourself on the future whether it is a project or some plan or any event. Believe in the positive and expect that it will occur in its own sweet time. Live in the present moment and appreciate what you have in life. The bad situations are only a few splashes in our large canvas of life and believe that those too will pass. This is called living mindfully. Be grateful for all that you have in life. Make a gratitude list and you will find there is so much to be grateful for. Don’t take everything for granted. Appreciate all the blessings in your life and try to enjoy each moment. If you still feel down, look at people who have far less than you. This will surely change your perspective and make you feel so much better. Training yourself everyday to change your mood by following the above steps will surely change you into a naturally positive and happy person.