By Ozlem, Nov 30 2014 11:51PM
One of the cornerstones of emotionally intelligent living is the ability to manage moods and emotions.
Whether we wake up with a bad mood or find ourselves grabbed by one as our day unfolds, we all experience unwanted moods now and then. And of course some of us have them more often than others.
It is important to acknowledge our emotions. They are there to protect us as well as carrying messages about us and our environment.
Still, altough negative moods are a part of a healthy mind as well as positive moods, they can be pretty draining and distracting at times- eating into our time, energy and creativity. Inevitably, if we don’t figure out how to manage them they’ll demotivate us and lead us to procrastination- and in the long run even to depression…
Meanwhile, there is quite a bit of research pointing to the fact that people who manage to stay in positive moods are more productive and happier.
So what can we do to snap out of bad moods?
1. Check your physiology!
The first thing you need to bring to your conscious awareness when you’re in a bad mood is your physiology. How are you sitting or standing? A bad posture-a slouched back, hunching over desks and computers etc… is likely to put you in a negative state. Sitting/ standing up with a straight back, avoiding sitting in the same position more than 30 minutes (or avoiding standing in the same position for a long time) and holding your head up should immediately begin to move you towards positivity.
How tired, sleepy, hungry or dehydrated you are also plays a big role in the way you feel. So make sure you take care of your body by consuming enough liquids and food. But be aware! Nutritionists state that too much sugar or meals filled with fatty ingredients will also put us into a negative state.
Drinking water regularly and having a healthy snack / meal will massively improve your mood.
2. Think of the moment just before you got into a bad state.
The moment you realize you’re in a bad mood, remember what you were doing, who you were talking to or what exactly you were thinking just before feeling that way? It’s most likely that you focused your attention on the negative. What were you thinking? Where does that thought or belief come from? As it’s not a helpful one, what can you do to change that thought and focus your attention to the positive? Decide how you’d like to feel instead and take immediate action to feel that way.
3. Practise mindfulness.
Similar to number 2 above, when you suddenly felt bad, were you focusing on a negative experience or evidence from the past? Or were you rushing ahead and worrying about something you do not want in the future? Either way-just stop. Come back to the only real moment- the one you’re in now. Take a deep breath or a few. Whether you are at your desk at work or at home, just try your best to still your mind and think of nothing. Focus on your breathing, the expansion of your chest, the air that fills your lungs and nothing else. If it’s appropriate, try to meditate for about 5- 10 minutes.
4. Break the pattern with a piece of music you like.
Yes, put an energizing, uplifting track on. And listen to it to break the bad mood. Focus on what a great piece it is! Think of a fun memory attached to it, if you have one. Even dance to the tune if you can;)
5. Smile or even better “Laugh”!
Research shows that even putting a fake smile on your face improves your mood. So just smile, even if you don’t feel like it. You’ll see the positive effects within minutes. Even better- if it is possible, watch a short clip or a short video you like which makes you laugh. You will be breaking the pattern by laughing and immediately will feel positive.
6. Get some light & oxygen!
If you can- get out! Whether it is a sunny day, a rainy one, or a bitterly cold one, the light outside and the fresh air will help you switch your mood. If it is dark outside, the air will still help. If you aren’t able to leave the space you’re in, you can always open the window and allow in the air and light by taking a deep breath and feeling the breeze on your face.
Exercise is another useful way of breaking the ‘bad mood’ pattern. Even if you’re at work, you can always stand up and walk around. However, it is even better to take a 20 minute walk. If you can - go for a run or head to the gym. Physical activity will help you manage your mood. And you still have that song to dance to ;)
8. Talk to someone.
Talk to someone but choose wisely. Who around you is generally positive and energized? Who do you know to be managing their own emotions well? You can give them a quick ring if you’re not able to see them- and you don’t even have to talk to them about your mood. You can just talk about something random. Research shows that even talking to strangers -for instance in queues or at the till of the grocery store, about something as trivial as the weather, has an uplifting effect on us.
9. Remind yourself at least 5 things you are thankful for.
Psychologists suggest that it is beneficial daily practice for us to write down the things we are thankful for every day. We are advised to do this before going to bed, the first thing when we rise or both- in order to develop a positive mindset. And when in a bad mood, focus your attention on the things that you cherish the most about your life. These can be your personal strengths and passions, family/friends/colleagues who inspire you, your health, your job, your flat… The list goes on…
Developing ways of managing your moods and emotions will make you more resilient. You’ll be able to bounce back from challenges and set backs easily. Moreover, studies show that people who generally know how to hold on to positive moods and manage the negative ones, are healthier.
Understanding and managing our emotions is also the gateway to understanding and managing the emotions of people we interact with, hence an important step to healthier relationships.
Please feel free to let me know about your own strategies of snapping out of bad moods!
Until next time, wishing you fun and growth!