A bad mood can really wreck your whole day if you can’t shake it. Addressing it soon after it starts is the best way to get your day back on track, and there are plenty of ways to do that. The tips in this video are meant to help you move out of a bad mood and into a good mood quickly; it’s meant to address moods that are related to short-term problems. If you’re struggling with mental illness that can produce longer periods of anxiety or depression, these ideas might help you feel a bit better in the moment but aren’t meant to treat the condition. But if you’re just in a bit of a funk, these ideas are great to get you feeling good again.
The easiest way to get out of a bad mood involves first figuring out what got you into it. People are emotional creatures and there are countless things that could spark the feelings that start a bad mood. Are you dreading a certain task? Feeling guilty? Not liking how you look today? If something is bothering you, it’s probably standing out in your mind and should be easy to identify.
Once you’ve found what’s upsetting you, think about how you can address it directly. If you’re miserable about the things you have to do that day, make a plan to complete the tasks so your mind can at least stop nagging at you. If you’re feeling guilty about something you did, find a way to make up for it so you can let go of the feeling. If you don’t like how you look that day, wear your favourite outfit or take an extra few minutes to do something you like with your hair. For whatever problem is causing your mood, there’s an action you can take to relieve it, at least a bit. Any step you can take will either break the bad mood or be enough to lighten it so you’re closer to getting through it.
For times when trying to resolve the issue directly isn’t enough to fully lift the mood or you’re just feeling a bit off and can’t find a reason, you can take action in a way that is intended to generally improve moods. Finding an option that works can be pretty personal—only you know what makes you smile and what will make you feel worse. But there are some things that are proven to help induce a good mood, and fast, that are worth a shot when you’re feeling low.
Try distracting yourself with an uplifting activity like writing a short list of things you’re grateful for. When you’re busy thinking about the things you appreciate, you’re taking focus away from the bad mood you’re in. They can be big, significant things or small and somewhat silly things. Thinking of silly things you’re thankful for can actually help bring in the good mood you’re after more since the thought of them might be funny. You’re bound to smile thinking about how thankful you are for your dog’s squished face, for example. This exercise shifts your focus to positive things and that can influence your mood for the better really fast.
If you’ve got a pet, take a few minutes to snuggle up with your animal friend. Studies show that spending time with pets, especially dogs, can improve your sense of wellbeing in general as well as reduce stress and lower your level of anxiety. There’s something about being around a familiar animal that changes your mood for the better. Also, the affection felt—either given, received, or both—while cuddling with your pet is sure to release endorphins and get you feeling good.
Have you ever heard of colour psychology? It examines the effects that colours have on people’s behaviours, emotions, and perceptions. Most people recognize blue as being calming, but might not realize that red and yellow are known to stimulate appetite or that green is mood-boosting. In this situation, you can take advantage of green’s influence to get yourself feeling happier on a bad day. Whether you choose to have a lush green salad for lunch, wear a green sweater to work, or get cozy with a green blanket, having the colour in your view for a while can boost your mood. It’s thought that our minds associate the colour green with nature, which tends to be calming and refreshing. If you can go for a walk in an area with lots of trees, that’s even better. But anything green will help lift your mood.
Speaking of nature, you don’t have to leave your home to reap the benefits that nature can have on your mood; having flowers around can affect us in a number of surprising ways. A research study from Harvard determined that positive moods, like happiness, tend to come later in the day but that looking at flowers can have you feeling good, even first thing in the morning. The researchers recommended having a full, colourful bunch of flowers in the kitchen, since it’s somewhere that most people frequent in the morning; however, if you plan to take advantage of this trick at other times of day, you can place them other places in your home or even have a small plant at your desk at work. Along with having an immediate effect on happiness, looking at flowers was also found to ease stress and improve overall satisfaction with life.
Sometimes a positive change in your environment is enough to make a positive change in how you’re feeling. Taking a few minutes to organize your space helps clear up your mood in a couple of ways: the activity can be a short distraction from your negative thoughts; the accomplishment of something that has immediate results can make you feel good; and being in a tidier space can feel like a breath of fresh air if you’ve been surrounded by clutter for a while. And you don’t have to commit to a major clean to feel the effects; just straightening up the stationary at your work desk or the books and coasters scattered across your coffee table will make an impact. Some people thrive in chaos, but for most of us, bringing order to the surrounding area is great for a quick and easy mood boost.
A change in routine can also be great for busting a bad mood. Introducing something new into your day when you’re feeling off can feel special or a bit exciting and be just the thing to push you toward a good mood. This is another tip that can sound like it involves something major, but it doesn’t have to. It can be great to try a new activity to alter your routine and your mood, like going for a walk in a park you’ve never been to or going to a new class at the gym, but if you’re a student or have a job, your day might be too busy for you to drop everything for a couple of hours when a bad mood hits. In that case, just make a small change: order a coffee or tea you’ve never had before instead of your usual, take a more scenic route to get to work and admire the area, or choose a different seat than you’re used to in class. It’ll stimulate your brain by getting you to pay more attention to the experience, distracting you from your bad mood and letting a good one take its place.
The phrase “fake it ‘til you make it” isn’t always great advice, but there’s something to it when it comes to changing your mood. We all know that when we’re happy, our facial expression lightens and we smile to reflect that feeling; the “facial feedback hypothesis” suggests that it works in reverse, too. The idea is that putting on a smile, even if you don’t really feel like smiling, can cause a happier mood to follow. It’s not about putting on a fake face to fool other people into thinking you’re feeling fine; it’s about tricking yourself into actually feeling good by putting on a smile that might be fake at first. It’s so easy to do, it’s at least worth a try if you’re feeling down.
There are endless options when it comes to cheering yourself up; along with the ideas covered here, basic things like listening to uplifting music, watching funny videos, or venting to a friend are all great ways to break a bad mood and most of us have used them with success in the past. If one method isn’t quite doing the trick, try another. You’ve got plenty of options in front of you, and if you approach them with a sincere desire to improve your mood, you’re sure to shift out of your funk and into a happier state in just a short while.