Most of us have used the phrases, “I woke up on the wrong side of the bed,” “I’m in a funk,” or simply, “I’m in a bad mood today.” Moods influence how we view situations, which impacts how we behave and interact with other people. For example, how do you behave on a day when you wake up in a bad mood? Perhaps you are less productive, have less patience for others, or are more easily flustered or irritable when a problem arises. Our moods can have a powerful impact on all areas of our lives, but if we can identify when we are in a bad mood, this means we can also work to manage them.
Recognition is an important first step, but it is important to take it further by first accepting the bad mood and then implementing strategies to manage or change it. The hope is we can step in before our bad mood negatively impacts our whole day. Here are some strategies for managing bad moods:
Take a moment to identify the source of your mood.
Many factors influence our moods including hunger, exhaustion, weather, relationship problems, work stressors, etc. So this step includes checking in with what is going on in your life and how it might be contributing to how you are feeling. This step doesn’t have to take a long time, but will go a long way with supporting you in managing a bad mood.
Give yourself a break.
Be compassionate with yourself and give yourself a moment. It can be doing 5 minutes of deep breathing or taking a lunch hour out at work.
Stay in the present and observe it without judgment. If you find your mind wandering to the past or the future, bring your focus back to what’s happening right in front of you. Observe it, and don’t judge it. If you have thoughts about the past or the future, simply bring your focus back to the here and now.
Sometimes a little distraction is what’s needed. Have a chat with a good friend, give yourself time to read a book, or watch an entertaining YouTube video. It can be helpful to shake things up with a different activity.
Nourish your senses.
Have a snack, listen to some music, or light a scented candle. One of these simple steps may give you a slight adjustment that changes the course of your day.
Remember, this feeling won’t last forever
One of the difficult parts of being in a bad mood is the feeling that it is never going to end. The day drags on and you may fear that this feeling will continue endlessly. Instead, imagine your mood as a wave. It builds to a peak but ultimately it will come back down. Your mood will also pass.
Bad moods are a part of life, and take practice to manage effectively. But remember, you also don’t always have to do it alone. Working with a therapist can help you to build skills to manage bad moods. A therapist can support with all of the strategies above such as helping you to identify when you are in a bad mood, supporting you in developing strategies for coping with factors that contribute to bad moods, and practicing skills such as mindfulness and acceptance.