Breaking Bad Moods: 15 Tips for Shaking the Funk You’re In

Woman looking at balloonsWe have all had a case of the blues. You know, those times in our lives where the world looks bleak and things just don’t seem to be going in our favor. No matter how hard we try to turn things around, it seems to end up as wasted effort and all we can do is throw our hands up and ask, “Why me?” But as much as we resist our sadness, anger, frustration, or grief, it is often during these dark moments when we come to realize we have the greatest opportunity for transformation.

Finding yourself in a funk you cannot seem to shake? Here are 15 tips to transform your bad mood and learn from it in the process:

  1. Acknowledge and accept it: You have probably heard the phrase “resistance is futile.” Fighting against negative feelings will not make them go away. If you find yourself in a dark room, you will not make it light by pretending it is not dark. You must, at some point, acknowledge that it is dark before you search for light. In order to change your mood, you must first admit to yourself how you are feeling.
  2. Reframe your bad mood: Every experience can serve as a lesson. When you experience mood changes, examine the triggers behind your emotions and try to reframe your thinking. Emotional reactions can teach us a great deal about our personal values and desires. Rather than see your bad mood as an enemy, reframe it as a friend that’s there to help you learn about yourself and grow as a person.
  3. Cultivate gratitude: When you find yourself waking up in a bad mood, try focusing on what you are grateful for. Many people tend to focus on a bad event or situation that isn’t unfolding according to plan, rather than looking at all the good things surrounding the event or situation. Taking a few moments to build a simple list of things you are thankful for each day can greatly improve your mood and change your outlook.
  4. Monitor your thoughts: If you seem to always be in a bad mood, start monitoring your thoughts for negativity. Our thoughts typically precede our emotions. If we consistently engage in negative self-talk, it is virtually impossible to feel good about ourselves. Try to remain aware of your thoughts throughout the day, or consider keeping a journal to help you shift your negative thoughts into positive affirmations.
  5. Remember, you are not your emotions: It’s easy to get so caught up in emotions that we become them. We often hear people say, “I’m angry,” rather than “I have anger.” Emotions are passing experiences. When we can become the witness consciousness—able to observe closely without reactivity or judgment—and separate ourselves from our emotions, it is easier to stay centered and at peace.
  6. Exercise: Exercising releases endorphins, which create a positive feeling in the body. Regular exercise has been shown to improve mood, alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression, and reduce stress.
  7. Meditate: Meditation not only helps us monitor our thoughts and feelings, but it also brings us into the present moment. Many times, when you are in a bad mood, it might be over something that occurred yesterday or even last week. When we come into the present moment, we can experience a sense of freedom and peace.
  8. Try something new: The daily grind of life can start to feel mundane, and a lack of stimulation or excitement can contribute to a bad mood. Novelty awakens the senses and sparks our curiosity. Try something you’ve never done and enjoy the benefits of shaking up your routine.
  9. Talk to someone: Sometimes, simply speaking your thoughts aloud and sharing your feelings with others may help you feel better. Consider talking to someone you trust, such as a friend, family member, or qualified therapist.
  10. Get creative with your emotion: Emotions are meant to be expressed, not repressed. When you feel like you are in a bad mood, try using your favorite creative means to express your feelings. Write a poem, play an instrument, draw, paint, dance, or craft—whatever moves you.
  11. Spend time in nature: Spending time outside naturally relieves stress. Sunlight, fresh air, and living plants tend to provide us with a sense of invigoration and aliveness. Going outside also gives us a great excuse to exercise. Try going for a bike ride or a walk or hike in the woods next time you feel down in the dumps.
  12. Pay it forward: Giving evokes feelings of gratitude and promotes feelings of goodwill. Giving is also known to release oxytocin, a feel-good hormone in the brain. Shifting your focus away from yourself and onto someone you care about may help you gain perspective and feel a stronger connection to others.
  13. Focus on self-care: When you’re down in the dumps, it is easy to let your self-care regimen fall apart. Taking care of ourselves is essential to making sure that we feel good physically, emotionally, and mentally. Among other important things, make sure you’re eating a healthy diet, getting plenty of rest, and effectively managing your stress.
  14. Set attainable goals: Studies have shown that people experiencing depression often set unrealistic goals. While setting goals is a great way to motivate oneself, setting unattainable goals will only increase our feelings of dissatisfaction and hopelessness. Consider working with a life coach or therapist to help you create realistic goals and set them into action.
  15. Forgive yourself: Sometimes when we ask ourselves, “Why am in a bad mood?” we may find it is due to feelings of shame, regret, or guilt over mistakes we have made in the past. Forgiving ourselves is typically more difficult than forgiving others. Remind yourself that you are human and that life is a learning process. Let go of your mistakes and focus on how you can do better in the future.

Know When You Need Help

If you have tried unsuccessfully to improve your mood and nothing seems to work, consider reaching out for help. Depression and chronic bad moods can seriously affect a person’s quality of life and lead to more serious mental health issues. The great news is that depression is highly treatable, with 80% to 90% of those who seek treatment reporting relief. If mood changes persist for a long period of time or you continue to feel down, consider finding a therapist or counselor near you.

References:

  1. Public Broadcasting Service. (n.d.). Depression out of the shadows. Retrieved from http://www-tc.pbs.org/wgbh/takeonestep/depression/pdf/dep_stats.pdf
  2. Strunk, D., Lopez, H., & DeRubeis, R. (2006). Depressive symptoms are associated with unrealistic negative predictions of future life events. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 44. Retrieved November 28, 2014, from https://psychology.sas.upenn.edu/system/files/Strunk Behav Res Ther 2006 Negative Predictions.pdf
  3. Zak PJ, Stanton AA, Ahmadi S (2007). Oxytocin increases generosity in humans. PLoS ONE 2(11): doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0001128

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  • Bonita

    Bonita

    December 3rd, 2014 at 11:52 AM

    When I am having a bad day or am in a bad mood, especially at work, I try to get it out there and just say it. That way I feel like no one will bother me so I can just simmer until I get myself out of it. No hurt feelings this way I will hope!

  • MsPeach

    MsPeach

    December 3rd, 2014 at 3:06 PM

    When I am sad, I try to focus on the good things in my life instead of only fixating on the bad.
    Sure some days will be tougher than others, I am human and I have to accept that. But what I don’t like is when I stop thinking about the things in my life that are good.
    I have clothes, I have food, I have somewhere to live, I have security and stability. This is a whole lot more than what tons of other people have, so I should find a way to be happy with that and move past the cloudiness that I may be feeling.

  • shaun m

    shaun m

    December 3rd, 2014 at 8:21 PM

    thank you for these very helpful tips..I find myself grappling for solutions when down in the dumps..sometimes I do negative things to get myself out of the deep zone,like drinking all alone until I think I have forgotten about my problem.i know that’s not the right way but I am positive about the things mentioned here. thanks a lot.

  • Anxiously_Panicky

    Anxiously_Panicky

    December 3rd, 2014 at 10:57 PM

    When I am in a bad mood and I feel like hating everyone around me, I go to the bathroom and cry my head off. It takes time but eventually relaxes me.

  • Tiffany

    Tiffany

    December 4th, 2014 at 3:44 AM

    It can feel really good to do something for someone else especially at this time of year.

    So why not find a way to turn that anger or sadness that you are feeling into something good by doing something good for another?

  • mst

    mst

    December 4th, 2014 at 10:22 AM

    #15 is a big one for me. Forgiveness doesn’t come naturally to me, probably because my family follows a strict religion based in shaming us. I’m a grown up woman now but still can’t forgive myself even for small mistakes.

  • Peter

    Peter

    December 4th, 2014 at 11:22 AM

    Honestly I just try to hide out a little until I can shake it off. No one really wants to be around me when I get like that any more than I want to be around those others when they get like that. It’s okay we are all human and we all have bad days or even bad weeks. I don’t have to share the pain with others.

  • jemma

    jemma

    December 5th, 2014 at 3:51 AM

    haha Peter I am completely the opposite in that I just try to go hang out with the loudest most fun group of people that I know!
    Their moods are often infectious, in a great way

  • Lori W.

    Lori W.

    December 5th, 2014 at 3:31 PM

    When I am in a bad mood from negative events or situations that have happened, I have to recognize that this “bad mood” won’t last forever, and if I force myself to go to the gym or something else that will get me out and get me out of my own head, I find it to be VERY helpful and I find that it can actually change my mood. One of the best things I ever did was join the gym because on numerous occasions, it has changed my mood for the better.

  • Lesley Bainbridge

    Lesley Bainbridge

    December 6th, 2014 at 7:16 PM

    I think these strategies are helpful & worthwhile even if doing them may feel like an effort. Another tip I tell clients is to identify a self soother ; something healthy but that when you do it or think it, it feels soothing. Some people have a couple for different situations. All the best to everyone else writing here: feeling a sense of community is my self soother!

  • Grace

    Grace

    December 8th, 2014 at 3:52 AM

    If I can just find a way to work in a good three to five mile run, that always helps to clear my head.

  • Destiny

    Destiny

    January 8th, 2015 at 9:20 AM

    I enjoy using water to break my blues. I beleive water is a healing source use your imagination as long as there is water element involved :)

  • Diane

    Diane

    February 11th, 2015 at 7:20 PM

    In the grooming business it’s very difficult to get negative feedback from a first time customer. This happened today and it saddens me. Been in the biz for 8 yrs now and this is the 3rd time. Trying to get over it. We groomers can be ultra sensitive, it’s our nature.

  • Joanna

    Joanna

    July 13th, 2015 at 12:10 PM

    Well written article to read with very good suggestions how to re-energize your mood.

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