Moods are a part of life, and while it’s normal to feel down sometimes, it’s not fun at all, and you likely won’t feel the way you want to feel throughout the day.
Although you can’t just tell yourself to feel better, you can change the thoughts and behaviors that help influence your mood, according to Ruth Ellingsen, clinical assistant professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Oregon.
Ellingsen explained that the first step in changing your bad mood is to identify what kind of mood you’re in.
″[It] It sounds simple but it really involves being fully aware of our current state.” Ellingsen added that it’s fairly common to ignore our emotions as we go through our daily lives, which makes it impossible to improve your mood. How can you feel better if you don’t know how you feel?
To determine your mood, Ellingsen said she recommends doing a Check the feeling temperature using what is known as a thermometer. She said the sensation thermometer has four zones –Green (which represents a relaxed feeling or good mood), Yellow (which is the next level on the thermometer, indicating that you might be feeling a bit tired, for example), Orange (which is another level higher, very stressed or frustrated) and Red (which is something very uncomfortable – such as feeling sad, angry, or any other negative emotion). This easy resource for determining your mood is an excellent tool for gauging your feelings.
Once you become aware of how you’re feeling, you can figure out what to do about it and take steps to control your mood before it hits that red zone, which, she says, is an emotional state, and is hard to capture. out of it.
But if you’re in the yellow or orange zones, you can easily use a few strategies to change your mood. Here are some ways to do that.
Try breathing exercises.
“The only thing we ever use is use breathing “to get out of a bad mood,” said Gregory Sullivan, Director of the Master’s Program in Positive Coaching and Sports Leadership at the University of Missouri.
He recommends trying a breathing exercise the next time you’re feeling down. One option is the “physiological sigh,” which consists of two quick inhalations followed by a long exhalation.
“What it does is it removes it [carbon dioxide] Sullivan said:
This double inhalation increases the lung’s capacity to fill with air and decreases the amount of carbon dioxide in the body, Andrew Huberman, MD, professor of neurobiology at Stanford University, told the school’s podcast. According to Hubermann, increased levels of carbon dioxide activate our body’s stress response, so being able to expel carbon dioxide also reduces our stress.
Sullivan added that breathing affects the vagus nerve in the body and takes us out of the fight-or-flight or freeze mentality. Therefore, this long exhalation helps you relax.
He noted that you can also try the 6-7-8 breathing exercise, which is to breathe in through your nose for six seconds, hold your breath for seven seconds, and then exhale for eight seconds.
When it comes to breathing exercises, Sullivan said they allow the body to control the mind rather than the mind controlling the mind. “It shifts our focus away from what might be bothering us,” he added.
Turn to fitness.
You’ve likely heard many times that exercise is good for your mental health, and the same is true of its impact on helping you get out of a bad mood, according to Sarah Sarkis, executive coach and senior director of performance psychology at Exos, a corporate wellness company.
Move your body for 15 counts [to] 20 minutes, Sarkis said. “You’ll get a dose of endorphins and adrenaline, which can help us change perspectives quickly.”
When you’re not feeling your best, switch to a favorite fitness routine like running, yoga, tennis, or indoor cycling. If you’re in a bad mood, you don’t want to put extra pressure on yourself by doing an exercise you don’t like.
Focus on others rather than yourself.
Shifting your focus away from yourself is a great way to lift your spirits, Sullivan said. He added that one of the early contributors to positive psychology, Chris Peterson, stressed the importance of others when it comes to your mental health. Helping or building relationships with others will only make you feel better (and help get rid of that bad mood).
“The simple thing is to decide you’re going to do some random act of kindness or… [ask] “A co-worker if they could use some help,” Sullivan said.
Therefore, if you find yourself in a bad mood, you can try to reach out to a friend who is going through a difficult time or donate things to an organization that needs support.
Shifting your focus away from yourself is one of the most powerful ways to beat a bad mood, Sullivan added.
Spend some time outside.
Study after study has found that nature is good for your mental health—spending time outside can lower stress levels, reduce anxiety, and all in all, just put a smile on your face.
“Nature can be a medicine if we use it in this way, and going out and changing your perspective sometimes can change your mood fairly quickly,” Sarkis added.
She said adding music to your time outside can be more rewarding and can “meWe break the cognitive loop that sets in so quickly once we’re “in a bad mood.”
“The most powerful and beneficial positive emotion is gratitude — being grateful makes us happier,” Sullivan said.And being happy and in a bad mood is definitely incompatible behaviour.
To get in tune with your inner gratitude, he said, think of two or three things in your life that you’re grateful for. These don’t have to be big things, they can be something as simple as the smell of a new candle or the weather.
You can practice gratitude at the beginning or end of the day, although Sullivan said he prefers to do this to close out his day.
“Thinking about gratitude helps me sleep,” he said. Bonus: sleep is an important tool for avoiding bad moods.
live in the moment.
“Often when we’re in a bad mood, we’re ruminating on something that happened in the past, or worrying about something in the future,” Ellingsen said.
“HThe xperts believe that about 90% of the things we worry about never happen,” Sullivan explained. So, most of those worries that contribute to your mood are usually useless.
“We can do something behaviorally on purpose to bring ourselves into the present moment, whether that’s breathing deeply or just tuning in to our senses to really distance ourselves from what’s going on.” [we’re] anxiety,” Ellingsen said.
In other words, it’s a good idea to practice mindfulness in these moments, which can mean doing the breathing exercises mentioned above or trying meditation.
Sullivan added that another way to get rid of anxious thoughts about the past or the future is to reason with yourself. So, let’s say you’re nervous about an upcoming conversation with your boss. Instead of giving in to those thoughts, ask why you feel this way. Furthermore, remind yourself of previous conversations with your boss that went well. This may help calm you down.
If you are upset, take an ice pack.
According to Ellingsen, you can do things that affect your body chemistry and kind of trick yourself into becoming calm.
“One thing that’s actually very effective, especially if you’re really angry… is to literally calm your body down, so… ice chest And you put it on your forehead.”
Ellingsen added that there is just something about the physical cooling effect that brings about a feeling of relaxation.
Focus on your muscles.
You can also try progressive muscle relaxation, Ellingsen said To help improve your mood.
For this, you tense and then relax certain parts of your body—so, you can start with fists and then relax or shrug your shoulders high and then let it go, she said.
“Again, this can trick your body into relaxation mode,” Ellingsen noted.
And do not dismiss your unpleasant feelings – they are normal.
“While getting out of a bad mood can be really helpful in the short term, learning to accept our feelings, whether positive or negative, may be the best long-term strategy,” Sullivan said.
He added, “Positive psychology is the study of well-being, and although happiness is part of well-being, well-being does not mean that we are happy all the time.”
According to Sullivan, a key aspect of well-being is the ability to accept the full range of human emotions—from excitement and joy to boredom and pain.
“It’s also important to note how quickly it goes away [our emotions] we are; Sullivan said, “They come and go, knowing that’s a big step in dealing with bad moods and negative feelings.”
Meaning that even if you feel bad, you won’t feel that way forever.
What’s more, Sullivan said we’re genetically inclined toward negativity, which goes back to our caveman ancestors who used negativity to stay safe from real threats.
To some extent, that still keeps us safe today,” but sometimes, that negative bias can overwhelm us. “It’s important to find a level of emotional harmony, and that’s where positive psychology and the interventions created through Research can really help with that.”
In the spirit of listening to your moods, Sarkis added, “Moods don’t have to take over your day if you’re working out…how to move through your moods in an emotionally healthy way.”
This can mean following some of the practices listed above, such as breathing exercises, physical fitness, and general awareness, to better prepare you for all the moods—annoying and unpleasant—that come your way.
While it’s normal to be in a bad mood once in a while, you should be aware of some warning signs.
Just getting out of a bad mood isn’t a reality for some people. “Mood can also be affected by other psychological factors such as a diagnosis of a mood disorder,” Sarkis said.
Let’s say you feel sad most of the day for at least two weeks. In that case, it’s worth talking to a therapist, Alayna L. Park, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Oregon, who previously told HuffPost.
Or, if you feel hopeless, overwhelmed, or have lost interest in activities you once enjoyed, you should also find someone to talk to. But, again, this could be more than just a “bad mood” and it can’t be helped just by using the above tips.
If you need professional help, you can use Psychology Today’s online database to find a therapist near you.