What’s the secret to snapping out of a bad mood?
That’s not an easy question to answer.
But you probably know people who are able to put a smile on their face no matter how dire things are back at the ranch.
How do they do it? Do they have some mood-lifting secret that you know nothing about?
They probably do and they have more than one of them.
It may happen consciously or unconsciously, but some people know how to put on a brave face no matter what’s going on in their lives.
Today I’m going to share some of these tried and tested strategies to improve your mood when you feeling down. The first one is the most important.
1) Work on your emotional intelligence
The first step to changing how you feel is to know exactly what you’re feeling. It’s so easy to tell yourself that you feel depressed or emotionally unavailable when in reality that’s not what you’re really feeling.
Part of emotional intelligence is to be able to differentiate between different states of being. So, determine whether you are feeling down, bored, a little out of sorts, or just lazy. None of those are serious mental conditions but can easily be mistaken for feelings of depression if you’re not analytical enough to differentiate between them.
If you’re actually just bored, you could call a friend and suggest an outing together and that might be all you need to lift your mood.
2) Try to get to the bottom of your feelings
It’s easier to deal with feeling down if you can figure out what caused it. Take a few minutes to go over your interactions and actions over the past day or two to see if you can pinpoint if something lead to your current mood. If you can, then decide what action to take.
Sometimes there’s no reason for feeling the way you do. In that case you’re better off just accepting it and trying one of the other suggestions below to lift your mood.
3) Get perspective
Unless something catastrophic has happened, whatever you’re feeling, it’s not the end of the world. Tell yourself it’s not a crisis, that you’ve felt like this before, that you have recovered from it before and you will again. Nothing lasts forever. This kind of perspective results in a definite sense of relief that can lift your spirits.
4) Practice gratitude
This is no silly New Age nonsense. It really works. All of us have much to be grateful for every day. Actually, for the most part, we have more to be grateful for than to complain about. Take time every day to write down things that you are grateful for and you’ll soon realize that you can seldom justify feeling down.
5) Find some company
Unless you are feeling really down and can’t face people at all, it’s a very good idea to find some friends, or family to spend time with. Just be with them, and let them dictate the conversation.
Just be a spectator and learn what you can from those around you. Listen to them. What is going on in their lives?
Showing interest in others, takes you away from your own cramped little world. And can be very invigorating.
6) A change of scenery is as good as a holiday
Try to get away. Remove yourself physically from your situation. I find this one of the best ways to cope with negative feelings. It seems as if the physical distance translates into psychological distance as well.
One doesn’t feel so overwhelmed and can gain a better, more balanced perspective on what one’s going through. Different surroundings with different company can lead to new insights that you won’t easily come to alone on your couch at home.
7) Immerse yourself in a physically demanding activity
There is nothing quite like being physically totally exhausted to focus one’s attention. If you are bone tired, you don’t have time or energy to feel sorry for yourself. All you’re focused on is getting out of the situation and that focus relaxes the mind in a way the makes your troubles seem insignificant.
When your feet are killing you and you’re dying of thirst, there’s no psychological space for feeling down. Exhausted and impatient maybe, but not down.
8) Watch a movie, but choose carefully
If you enjoy comedies, by all means watch a comedy or two – we all know that laughter heals.
But if you’re like me and laughter and jokes will only irritate you when you’re down, then watch a movie that will take you completely out of yourself to another world – something like a fantasy. Or alternatively an inspirational movie depicting the best in human spirit: bravery, resilience, and compassion.
Experiencing vicariously through the characters on the screen these types of qualities can be very uplifting.
9) Crying is not just for cry-babies
Crying is not a sign of weakness or immaturity. It’s a natural response to stress and a whole range of feelings. If you have the urge to cry, give in to it, don’t supress it.
Crying has a soothing effect and releases stress. Did you know that tears actually contain stress hormones?
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