A bad mood squelches any possibility of having fun until it is over. After all, you’re not going to be savoring the moment if you’d rather be at home in bed with the covers over your face. A bad mood is often made even worse by the fact that you can’t seem to shake it off, and can even feel doomed to stay stuck in the gloom forever, or at least for a very long time.
It sounds obvious to say that bad moods are bad for you, but all too often we get stuck in a funk and forget to get ourselves out of it. Without a set strategy to help us out of the swamp, it’s easy to get trapped in a bad mood for hours, or even days. That’s a real waste, especially since with the right tools you can fight your way out of a bad mood pretty quickly.
Here are five ways to get rid of a terrible mood fast so that you’re free to enjoy your day.
1. Wash yourself.
When you feel like you look good, you’re more likely to feel good. No matter whether you’re a librarian or a hipster or a lumberjack or a prom queen, you’re probably at least a little bit vain. That’s bad news for your moral character, but it’s great news if you’re in a bad mood, because it means that taking a shower and putting on a nice pair of slacks will probably soothe your angst.
2. Distract yourself.
Turn on a favorite movie, album, tv show. Open a favorite magazine. Get a friend to tell you really terrible jokes. Jump up and down a hundred times. It doesn’t matter what you do as long as you shake it up: if you can focus on the task at hand, you’ll forget all about your bad mood.
3. Eat something.
Now, I’m not advocating grabbing three dozen donuts to drown your sorrows in, but I am advocating keeping your blood sugar steady. Often, a bad mood is the result of a blood sugar crash from going too long without food. Have a piece of whole wheat toast, and you may discover that the demons torturing you were just plain old hunger. Don’t be embarassed if this turns out to be the case: a lot of grownups are surprisingly un-adept at knowing when to break for snacktime.
4. Research more fixes.
Finding new and better ways to trick yourself out of the gloom is a positive, decisive action that can in and of itself help you start to feel better. Associated Content is a great place to start your search for ideas for feeling better; there are articles here on everything from yoga to positive self talk to journaling to anything else that you can think of!
5. Pass the buck.
When all else fails, blame someone who can’t defend themselves. If you can convince yourself that you’re not to blame for feeling bad, it will be easier to cheer up. Once you’re in a better mood, you can forgive your “villain.” This may sound silly, but the proof is in the pudding: the next time you’re in a serious funk, try blaming a childhood bully, or even a fictional character like the Wicked Witch of the West. The mere act of stopping your tirade of gloom to think about something else, like who to blame, can lift you out of a bad mood. Plus, externalizing the negativity by deciding the cause of it is rooted in someone else instead of in you literally gets it “out of your system.” The Dalai Lama has said that he sometimes deflects negativity or anger by saying that it doesn’t come from him, but is merely someone else’s negativity reflected off of him; this idea works on the same basic principal.