How to Improve Your Mood

Improving a Bad Mood

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I don’t wait for moods. You accomplish nothing if you do that. Your mind must know it has got to get down to work.
— Pearl S. Buck


Are You Feeling Moody?

Okay, so you’re feeling a little moody at the moment. For some reason everything seems to bring the worst out of you. But when you think about it, there’s just no reason for you to feel this way.

When experiencing a bad mood it’s important to realize that in one way or another you have lost some form of control over events or circumstances. Certain things didn’t go your way, or as expected, and as a result you are feeling somewhat irritable and annoyed. It might not even be anything big, but rather many small things that have come together over time that have suddenly pushed you over the edge.

It’s difficult to break out of a bad mood when you don’t quite take the time to figure out how, when, where and why you ended up in this pitiful emotional state. Just maybe some of the following reasons are to blame:

  • You are moody because you are trying to escape your problems. Instead of trying to solve them you are more inclined to try and ignore them or runaway from them.
  • You are moody because you are indulging in procrastination or perfectionism. You have so many important things to do, but can’t seem to get yourself motivated.
  • You are moody because you are indulging in negative thoughts about failure, about mistakes that were made, about criticism you received, or about the regrets you have about things you did or failed to do.
  • You are moody because you are feeling guilty about something you did or said. This guilt is eating you alive and causing you to lash out at other people for no reason.
  • You are moody because you are feeling stuck. You’re trying to do something but nothing you do seems to work, and as a result you feel stuck and frustrated.
  • You are moody because your life seems out of control. Problems, events and circumstances are getting the better of you and you seem to have no control over future outcomes.
  • You are moody because your beliefs are being challenged. Someone challenged one or more of your core beliefs, and this has sent your emotions into a tailspin. You can’t accept the fact that you might be wrong.
  • You are moody because you didn’t get what you wanted or expected. This just doesn’t seem fair. In fact life doesn’t seem fair and you have no idea why things are going against you.
  • You are moody because you are in some way being held back from reaching your unconscious or conscious goals.

The last point is important because it’s the unconscious goals that are always the biggest mystery. Your conscious goals are clear and you are very aware of them. Being held back from achieving these goals can be frustrating, however you can work through these things because you are consciously aware of them. Problems arise when you are being held back from unconscious goals. These are the goals that you don’t consciously acknowledge.

For instance, consciously you want to be in a relationship because you want to find a deep sense of love with another person. However, at the same time, unconsciously you long for independence and the personal space and freedom required to express yourself creatively. And so finally you find a deep loving relationship. This satisfies your conscious goal. However, this relationship is severely encroaching on your personal space and your creative self-expression. As a result you’re not quite happy, and kind of moody at times, and you don’t quite understand why.


The Consequences of a Bad Mood

Being moody obviously doesn’t feel great. However, it might not phase you too much in the short-term. You’ll just get over it and cool-off. Eventually things will be okay. Yes, things may eventually cool-off and you’ll wake up tomorrow feeling better about yourself. However, what about today? What about this very moment? Have you considered the consequences of your mood and how it affects your life and those around you?

For starters, your bad mood gives you narrow tunnel vision. When in a bad mood you’re seeing things from a very narrow perspective — as if looking through a keyhole. This narrow perspective changes how you view other people’s intentions and behavior. It also changes how you view and interpret events and circumstances. As a result you see things that aren’t really there — things that have been exaggerated in your mind, or simply misinterpreted. And as a result you do and say things that aren’t appropriate for the situation and this ends up hurting you and your relationships with other people. People lose respect in you, and you lose your ability to influence other people in a positive way.

Your bad mood will also significantly effect your levels of productivity. You cannot hope to be productive while moody because you simply have too many things on your mind that are going to distract you from the work that needs to be done.

You Have a Problem to Solve

Being moody means just one thing: You have a problem to solve.

You are in a bad mood for one reason or another. Identify why you’re feeling this way, and then spend time rectifying the situation by solving this problem. Ask yourself:

What problem am I facing?

How will I solve this problem?

How will solving this problem help me improve my mood? Why?

What’s the first step I could take right now?

The moment you begin seeing your bad mood as a problem, is the moment you start moving away from a victim mentality — where things seem to be out of your control — and step into a “take-charge” mentality where you consciously decide to take back control of your life, circumstances and emotions. This choice is yours to make.


Improving Your Mood

There is a five step process you can use that will help you to work through your moody feelings in an effective and productive way. This process will encourage you to seek-out solutions instead of wallowing in self-pity or lashing out at other people.

Step One

Your first step is to acknowledge that you’re in a bad mood. At times this can be difficult. In fact, while in a bad mood, you’ll probably be tempted to deny the fact that you’re feeling moody. As such, this might be the most difficult step in this entire process. However, it’s important you don’t move forward until you consciously admit that you’re in a bad mood and that this is causing you to do and say things that are inappropriate and unhelpful.

Step Two

Having acknowledged that you’re feeling somewhat moody, it’s now time to identify what specifically has triggered this bad mood. Ask yourself:

Why am I in a bad mood?

What did I expect would happen?

What happened instead?

What is the root cause?

Which of my beliefs have been challenged?

What goals am I unable to accomplish?

The goals that you are unable to accomplish lie at the root of your problem. This is the actual problem that you are dealing with. You must work through this problem and find a solution in order to improve your mood.

Remember, as previously discussed, that your goals can be both conscious and unconscious. Your conscious goals are easy to recognize. However, you might need to work a little harder to gain some clarity about your unconscious goals. Here are some questions that might help you through this process:

What did I really want to get from this situation that didn’t end up going my way?

What were my underlying motives?

What were my actual reasons for wanting to accomplish this?

Why are these reasons important?

What else was important here? Why?

This process is much like peeling back the layers of an onion. You keep peeling until you reach the core unconscious goal you were wanting to accomplish in this situation. Keep peeling back these layers until you’re satisfied you have found the underlying reason that will help you work through your bad mood successfully.

Step Three

It’s now time for you to assume control of the situation. You won’t of course be able to control everything. But that’s okay. You don’t need to be able to control everything in order to gain control of your emotions. Ask yourself:

What am I able to control?

Am I able to control how I think about this?

Am I able to control how I talk about this?

Am I able to control what I focus on or how I focus on things?

Am I able to control how I feel about this?

Am I able to control or influence anything outside of me?

What can’t I control?

Can I control people, events and/or circumstances? Probably not…

Acknowledge what you can physically and mentally control, and let go of what you physically cannot control. The moment you let go of wanting to control things, is the moment you will be free to find the solutions you are after that will help you to overcome your bad mood.

Step Four

At times you will find that there is no valid reason why you are feeling moody. Nothing makes any sense. You are throwing blame and lashing out at people for no apparent reason. In such instances it’s important to question the validity of your mood. Ask yourself:

Am I over-exaggerating my experience?

Am I taking things too seriously?

What’s funny about this?

Am I seeing things clearly?

Am I seeing things objectively?

Am I simply being closed-minded about my situation?

How else could I view this situation?

How will this help me achieve my goal?

When it comes to making yourself feel better, it often begins with how you experience and interpret your circumstances. At times you’re simply not seeing things clearly enough, or just taking things too seriously. In moments like these you need to lighten up and transform your perspective of the situation. This is important because what you might find is, that the problem you are experiencing is nothing more but a phantom of your mind. It’s an illusion — a trick your mind is playing on you. However, if you do find that you still have an physical problem on your hands, then you need to start searching for a solution.

Step Five

The final step of this process is to search for solutions that will help you overcome your problem and consequently achieve your goal. Ask yourself:

Could my goal be achieved another way? How?

What’s the opportunity here? How could I take advantage of it?

Maybe I just need to be patient and wait things out…

Ask yourself solution-focused questions that will help you figure out how to overcome the problem you are dealing with. And once this problem has been successfully overcome, your mood will likewise improve and you will no longer be lashing out at other people and the world for no apparent reason.


Controlling Your Mood

There will be moments when all of a sudden you will become very moody. During these moments you might not have the time or patience to think things through effectively to get yourself out of this foul mood. You might not even want to work through the five step process discussed within the previous section. That’s okay. There are still things you can do that will help you control your mood to prevent things from getting out of hand. Here are some suggestions:

Release Your Pent-Up Energy

Sometimes the best cure for a bad mood is to spend some time releasing that pent-up energy.

For instances, hit a punching bag for a few minutes and focus on channeling your pent-up energy out of your body and into the bag. Alternatively do some form of exercise or go for a run. The fresh air will force you to breathe deeply, which will clear your head and encourage you to think somewhat differently about your situation. You can also spend time stretching, or just splash some water on your face. The act of splashing water on your face is so simple, and yet it can immediately help you clear your mind while providing a fresh perspective of things.

It’s important you release your pent-up energy in a productive way that doesn’t hurt you or hurt other people. Your goal is to use this process to get your negative emotions out of your head so that you can think about things with more clarity and purpose.

Don’t Dwell on Negatives

You can effectively control your mood by re-focusing your mind away from the negatives and onto things that serve a purpose and can help you move forward through your emotions in more productive ways.

Dwelling on what went wrong, on the mistakes you made, and on your regrets will only make you feel miserable. Likewise, complaining about things that are out of your control, and making excuses doesn’t do much for your situation, and certainly won’t make you feel better. Instead, you must focus on the things you can control, on the things that make you feel good in the moment, and on the things that can help you work through your bad mood successfully.

Instead of dwelling on the negatives, spend some time thinking about what you’re grateful for:

What am I grateful for?

Why am I grateful for these things?

What is there to be grateful about this situation?

The more gratitude you find in the moment, the more control you will have over how you feel about things. Who knows? Gratitude might even help you see things from a new vantage point. Maybe it will help shift how you’re viewing the situation in a positive way. Maybe it can even help you find the solutions you are after.

Talk About Your Feelings

Talking about your feeling with another person will help you in two important ways. Firstly, it will allow you to get all your problems, excuses and complaints off your chest. Just this act alone of releasing these feelings may help you to see things more clearly. Who knows, it may even dawn upon you that you are being rather irrational, and that there is absolutely no reason for you to feel moody.

The second advantage of talking with someone about your feelings is that they might help you gain a different perspective of the situation. However, you must be open and willing to accept the possibility that they actually might be right and that you might in fact be wrong. If you close the door, and don’t allow yourself to see the situation in a new light, then you’re never going to get over your bad mood and this could eventually hurt you in the long-run.

Listen to Relaxing Music

One of the best ways to ground yourself is to spend a little time listening to relaxing music that will help calm your body and settle your mind. The act of listening to music is very effective because for starters it separates you mentally from the things you are moody about, and secondly the calming effect of the music will put you in a different frame-of-mind — a frame-of-mind that might actually help you see things more clearly.

Take a Break

Sometimes the best way to control your mood will be to simply step away from the things that are triggering your bad mood. Take a break by separating yourself from these triggers. It could simply involve going for a walk, or stepping into a quiet room where you can mull over your thoughts. In other instances, if you have time, then take a nap. While napping your brain will process everything that has transpired, and you might very well wake up feeling refreshed with a renewed perspective on life.

Don’t Make Big Decisions

When you’re feeling moody you will often see things in a different light. In fact, very often you will see things in a very negative light, and this can cause you to make very rash decisions that you would not necessarily make under normal conditions. For this very reason it’s important that you refrain from making big life altering decisions when you’re feeling moody. Instead, wait until you calm down and regain the proper perspective before deciding to get a divorce. ;)


Transforming Your Mood

There are certain things you can do throughout the day that will help you transform your mood for the better. None of these suggestions are mind-bending. They are all very straight-forward, however please don’t allow that to fool you into thinking that they won’t work for you. Some of the best solutions to your problems are always the easiest to implement.

Live a Healthy Lifestyle

It’s no secret that the food we eat — or fail to eat — influences how we feel on a daily basis. You might have for instance not eaten breakfast, and it’s now lunchtime and your stomach is growling — you’re now hungry and this is causing you to feel a little moody. It’s also very possible that a diet high in fat is raising your anxiety levels and causing you to overreact to situations unnecessarily. Maybe it’s raising your heart-rate and this is making you feel impatient and a little on-edge.

There are many foods, preservatives, additives, colors, etc, that can affect your state-of-mind, behavior and mood. Your mood might very well be linked to your diet. What are you really ingesting into your body during breakfast, lunch and dinner, and even during those in-between snacks? Who really knows how the food you’re eating is affecting your emotional well-being?

The safest thing to do is to eat healthy. Eat natural foods like vegetables, fruits, nuts, grains, unprocessed and organic foods. These foods will not guarantee that you will never experience a bad mood, however they are most certainly better alternatives that will give your body the nutrients it needs to handle stress and anxiety far more effectively.

Getting enough daily exercise, keeping yourself adequately hydrated throughout the day with water, while also getting enough fresh air and sunlight will help you to stay on top of your emotions and away from unexpected mood swings.

Your physical health and your emotional health are forever intertwined. What you do with one, influences the other. For this very reason it’s important that you spend time looking after both. When you’re not physically healthy, it’s very difficult to be emotionally resilient.

Make Yourself Laugh

One of the best ways to transform a bad mood is to make yourself laugh. Watch a funny movie, listen to some stand-up comedy, read some jokes, or spend time talking with a friend about a funny experience. It doesn’t really matter how you make yourself laugh. Maybe all you need is for someone to start tickling you. Maybe a little tickle is all you need to begin seeing things in their proper perspective.

When you’re in a bad mood, it’s a clear indication that you are taking things too seriously. If this sounds like you, then maybe a bit of fun and/or laughter is exactly what you need to help transform your mood for the better.

Do Something Meaningful

When in a bad mood, you will often find that you are narrowly focusing on things. You are blowing things out of proportion and often making something out of nothing. In fact, you could very well be focusing on all the small and insignificant things that really have no meaning in the greater scheme of your life. You are simply lost in the details of your life experience, and have lost sight of the bigger picture.

Take time to reconnect with the things that have the most meaning and significance in your life. These are the things that you are enthusiastic and passionate about.

When you’re involved and focusing on things your passionate about, the other little things just no longer seem to matter. Your life suddenly has meaning and purpose. Live from this place every day and you will never have time to be in a bad mood.

To reconnect with this part of yourself, take some time to make a list. Create a list of the following things:

  • Things that I love to do…
  • Things that I would like to accomplish…
  • Things I am most passionate about…
  • Things I value most in life…
  • Things I am thankful for…

Refer to this list on a daily basis whenever you are feeling a little moody. It will help remind you of what’s most important, and will immediately help transform your mood for the better.

Help Someone

A fantastic way to overcome a bad mood is to reach out and help people in need. This could mean helping a friend, neighbor or co-worker. Or you might prefer to support a great cause or charity in your community by volunteering your time and energy. The act of giving up your time to help another person will immediately help you to forget about your own problems, and instead focus you on more important things. Who knows, helping another person might help you put your mood into its proper context. Maybe your problems aren’t as important as you initially made them out to be.

Become More Curious

Curiosity takes you from a place of powerlessness, to a place of empowerment. You go from being a victim of your mood and problems, to being the director of your life.

When you’re curious, you start asking better and more insightful questions about your life and circumstances. These questions present you with new perspectives, possibilities and solutions that may help you work through your problems successfully. Curiosity will also make you feel better about yourself in the moment, because you are no longer wallowing in your bad mood, but rather doing something about it.


Time to Assimilate these Concepts

Improving a Bad Mood

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3 Responses to “How to Improve Your Mood”

  1. Roel V. Avila July 4, 2013 at 10:33 pm #

    for Adam Sicinski,

    I am grateful for your generosity and concern. I find your mindmaps useful as I lecture on philosophical analysis. If taken seriously, they are enlightening and life-changing. Your patience and focus are awesome. Again, thank you for sharing with us a portion of your substantial thoughts.

    Roel Avila (Philippines)

    • Adam Sicinski July 4, 2013 at 11:48 pm #

      Thank you Roel. I appreciate all your support and your kind feedback. It’s great to hear that the maps are of some value.

      Adam

  2. Roel V. Avila July 4, 2013 at 10:37 pm #

    Many persons like me find it hard to contain our negative emotions. “How to Improve Your Mood” is a clear path to emotional maturity which is a salient ingredient to attain success in any field.

    Roel

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