How To Improve A Bad Mood Quickly & Naturally
Welcome to another day in my life. Today is Sunday and I hope you are having a beary safe and great weekend so far. Dab the AIDS Bear is off with the Army Reserve this month and at other events so stay tuned for new pictures soon.
Bad moods can be tricky to treat, especially when accounting for mental health diseases. Usually a bad mood doesn’t have one root cause, either. But whatever has you down in the dumps, these few tips will help create a more mindful and peaceful day.
Look around you.
One of the biggest causes for unhappiness is an unfocused, wandering mind. A Harvard study showed that about 47% of people’s waking hours are spent thinking about things that are not actually happening! (For more information on the study, click here.) If you’re in a slump, take yourself out of your head for a moment to gain perspective. In bed with the shades drawn? Open them up! Out for drinks with friends? Join the conversation. Whatever the situation, be present! You may feel like you’re stuck in your head with only your thoughts, but you are three-dimensional, outwardly affecting everything all the time.
Move your body.
Everyone’s probably heard by now that exercise releases endorphins – neurotransmitters responsible for activating our body’s opiate receptors, blocking pain, and controlling emotion.
To get their effects, you don’t necessarily need to jump off the couch and directly onto the treadmill. The very act of jumping or standing -- or the stretching – will send the signal to your brain to start activating these receptors. To get your blood and oxygen circulating (to keep the receptors active), you can take a brisk walk around the neighborhood; put some happy music and start dancing around; or break out the broom or vacuum.
Tidy up what you can.
“A cluttered space is a cluttered mind.” I’m not a neat freak, so I pull that mantra from the brain bank when I notice chores piling up. Dishes in the sink; clothes thrown on random furniture; make-up strewn across the bathroom counters; these things can rack up during a busy or stressful week. Turns out, clutter affects the brain. The research shows physical clutter in our surroundings competes for our attention, which can increase stress and decrease productivity. That means not putting my clothes in the hamper is going to compete with Netflix (creating stress) or lead to a bigger pile of clothes next week (decreasing productiveness).
Think or do joyous things.
Though I’m not religious, one of my favorite quotes is a journal-entry-turned-prayer from Bible scholar Matthew Henry.
“I thank Thee first because I was never robbed before; second, because although they took my purse, they did not take my life; third, although they took my all, it was not much; and fourth, because it was I who was robbed and not I who robbed.”
It shows us that there is always something to be thankful for. However, if thinking your way to gratitude and joy isn’t doing the trick, then do something that will. If you’re down, watch a funny movie. If you’re stressed, try meditating or doing yoga. If you’re angry, write your feelings down. It’s also been researched that doing things for others can improve our mood and create a cycle of happiness. Check out your friend’s YouTube channel you’ve been meaning to get around to. Send out that “thank you” card, even if it’s a month late. Kick-start a happiness cycle to deter mood swings in the future.
Set a time limit on your mood.
Some days get off to a rough start and set in motion a snowball effect: waking up late means I skip breakfast and drive in circles looking for parking at work; being late to work means I can’t catch up on e-mails before the meeting; being unprepared makes me look/feel stupid, etc. Days like these can be a drag on our moods overall, but no matter what is causing your bad vibes, it’s good to give yourself a reality check. Most people are going to empathize with these minor setbacks, which might reinforce our brain to think this pattern is ok. Feeling frustrated, annoyed, sad, or anxious are all natural tendencies, but for some they are addictions. Recognize your feelings as a natural response to stimuli; acknowledge those feelings and try to understand them; and then move on.
Look up inspirational or motivation quotes. Look up Do-It-Yourself projects or make a wish list of products, hobbies, recipes, or places. Take in the beauty from somewhere or something you’ve been neglecting.
Remember, a bad mood doesn’t have to become a bad day. And creating good days isn’t about faking good thoughts. It’s about creating healthy, realistic thoughts. So, the next time the proverbial dark cloud is looming over you, realize that clouds are just masses of water vapor. No matter how many of them come along to block the sun, the sun is still there, shining.
Additional suggestions for treating a bad mood:
*THIS OUTLINE CANNOT AND DOES NOT CONSTITUTE MEDICAL ADVICE.
Please seek immediate professional help:
• If you have thoughts of killing (or otherwise harming) yourself or others;
• If you are gravely disabled (unable to care for yourself or those in your care);
• If you are abusing substances or have an addiction;
• If you or someone else is in any danger of harm;
• If you have been diagnosed with a mental health disorder or suspect you have one;
• If you or a loved one are in need of an intervention.
Hope you're having a beary safe and great Sunday!
Until we meet again; here's wishing you health, hope, happiness and just enough.
big bear hug,