We blame it on mornings, on Mondays, and on the weather. We blame it on other people, lack of sleep, being hungry, and the state of our nation. Many of these things can certainly have a direct effect on our mood.
If you suspect that you suffer from a serious mood disorder or chronic depression, then my advice to you is to seek professional intervention. You may not even know for sure what comes first, the mood or what influences the mood, but chances are you need some help sorting it out. It’s too overwhelming to just “snap out of it”.
For the rest of you, just admit that we all ‘get into a mood’, and when we do, it effects our overall wellness; our sense of well-being. Let’s flip that. Let’s create such a positive sense of well-being that it can only improve our health and help us live to the fullest each day!
A bad mood manifests itself as irritability, anger, withdrawal, or negativity. It can cause blood pressure to go up, increase stress hormone levels, and eventually leads to stress. You can feel drained, cranky and unproductive. When this is acute, and goes away tomorrow, you can chalk it up to a “bad day”. Remember, we all have those from time to time. But Mondays, bad weather, people, etc. don’t always go away. Do you really want to live with your bad mood day in and day out?
Take this simple test. Better yet, have someone take the test for you!
- Are you especially fond Oscar the Grouch, Grumpy Cast, Grumpy (you know, Snow White’s friend), Eeyore, Garfield the Cat, and Scrooge, to name a few?
- Do you speak more complaints than compliments?
- Do you always feel tired or irritated?
- Do you often slam doors and drawers and it actually makes you feel better?
- Do you huff and puff and heavy sigh?
- Do you have a hard time being silly and playful? Do you roll your eyes when others are having fun?
- Do you allow your circumstances to dictate your attitude and your thinking?
- Has someone asked you “what’s wrong?” lately?
- Can you remember the last time you laughed out loud? What about the time before that?
How’d you do? Chances are that you’re either feeling pretty good about your ‘Bad Mood’ (or lack of) score right now, or a little anxious, knowing this is you..
Fortunately, overcoming our bad moods isn’t really that difficult. I am assuming you want to be in a better mood, so check out these simple ways to get your mood back on track and boost your well-being:
Smile. Sounds too simple, but it’s true. The act of smiling really can turn a frown upside down.
Get your NICE on. Do something nice for somebody else and feel better! Small things like letting a car pull in front of you, letting someone cut in line at the store, holding a door for someone, or paying for the person in line behind you at Starbucks! The feel-good rush will take over.
Eat Healthy: Food restores nutrients. If you’re in a bad mood because you haven’t eaten and your blood sugar is low, you will feel better after a few bites. The following foods are a few of my favorites for reducing stress, easing anxiety and fighting bad mood:
- Any heart-friendly fish rich in omega-3 fatty acid will do.
- Avocados are natural hormone balancers, ensuring your brain is making the right chemicals needed to keep it feeling great.
- An antioxidant-rich nut and a great source for magnesium and omega-3 fatty acids. Magnesium is believed to stabilize mood by regulating blood sugar levels in the body.
- Carbohydrate-rich foods may cause serotonin to soar making us feel happier, but eat carbs that are high in fiber and have low glycemic content; carbs from vegetables, fruits and whole grains like popcorn.
- Rich in mood elevating magnesium, energy producing potassium and vitamin B6.
- Dark chocolate. Dark chocolate is made up of high levels phenylalanine, a goodtreatment for depression as it enhances the production of serotonin and dopamine in the brain.
Get outside. Get outside for a walk around the block or sit in the park. Breathe in the fresh air and enjoy nature.
Exercise: Exercise can flip my mood from bad to good in literally a few minutes. Sometimes the toughest part is starting. But since I know from experience that I feel better when I get in some physical activity, I just do it. And when I do, it’s not long before the endorphins kick in and naturally boost my mood.
Listen to Music: Make it happy, fun or favorite music and it can trigger a release of dopamine into your brain. Listen and sing along for an instant mood-lifter. You can do this in the car, at home, at work, or on a walk.
Play with a pet. Get the ball or the ball of string out and let the play take over. After a few pounces and wagging tails you will feel better.
Turn off the news and disconnect from social media. As mesmerizing as it can be, and even harder to turn off, for your sense of peace and a better mood, minimize the attention you give to to these platforms. Your choice. Turn it off.
Practice Mindfulness. A bad mood can give you a sort of tunnel vision and you fail to reflect on and pay attention to the present. Mindfulness is actively noticing new things. It puts you in the present. It makes you more sensitive to context and perspective. In the end it give you more energy rather than sapping your energy.
Change negative thoughts. Notice when your thoughts or words become negative, critical, or ‘glass half empty’. Flip the thought! Reframe it in a positive way. Put a check on every thought and conversation until they become ‘glass half full’.
Make a decision to cultivate a better mood, happier habits. You win and so does everyone around you. That’s well-being.