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Bath Time Moods

In a Bad Mood? – Try These Five Steps to Feel Better

Creative Commons LicensePhoto credit: Jared Smith

I have two moods. One is Roy, rollicking Roy, the wild ride of a mood. And Pam, sediment Pam, who stands on the shore and sobs… Sometimes the tide is in, sometimes it’s out.

— Carrie Fisher

Moods.  We all have them.  They can be uplifting and encouraging.  They can be reals downers, too.

Moods are one of the many factors that can assist us in achieving our 2013 goals… or they can get in the way.

More than once, I’ve made decisions based on where I am (how I feel) vs. where I want to go (what I want to accomplish).  No matter how motivating the goal was when I set it, if I’m feeling crummy – physically or emotionally –  I usually choose something that will make me feel better in the short term.  Lots of us do the same thing.

We eat to feel better.  We drink to feel better.  We curl up in front of the television or we sit and read a trashy novel.  It’s not the individual behavior – eating, drinking, vegging in front of the TV or reading trashy novels that does us the real damage.  It’s our moods that do us in.

Why Bad Moods Feel Soooo Bad

Most days we get up and do what we feel that we’re supposed to.  But on those days that we’re depressed or tired or withdrawn, we don’t really know how to fix things.  And worst of all, we remember the really bad moods more than we remember the good moods.  After all, not all moods are bad.  It’s just that we want the bad moods to go away and we feel powerless in their grip.

This last weekend both Saturday and Sunday were just that kind of day.  I wanted to hide – I have no idea why.  It’s like the bad mood gremlin kidnapped me and took me away to the Awful Island.  Now, I’d like to go stay on an island, but I’d prefer Balboa or Kauai.  Especially if where I was staying was generously stocked with goodies.

To attempt to escape, I read.  I watched movies.  I napped.  Most of all, I just tried to feel better.  But, nothing seemed to work.

Rest, Chocolate, A Trashy Novel and More Chocolate

I could hypothesize about what caused my funk, but it doesn’t really matter.  Even if we figure out why we’re feeling yucky this time, that won’t stop us from feeling yucky next time.  What you and I really need is a strategy for getting out of the mood because the worst part of it, from my point of view, is being at its mercy.  If we could get a little control back, we’d probably feel better.  So, here are five steps for avoiding and getting out of crummy moods.

  1. Avoid getting overly tired.  I could quote you statistics on how Americans don’t get enough sleep.  We are seriously sleep deprived… but you already know that, don’t you?  What makes it worse is that we may do all the right things and still not sleep well, resulting in… you guessed it – being overly tired.  IF you’re aware you’re not well rested and IF you have the option, take a nap.  You’re not lazy, you’re sleep deprived.
  2. Indulge yourself.  If you feel like eating chocolate, eat chocolate.  This mood isn’t going to last forever and the first thing you need to do is convince yourself of that.  If chocolate raises your mood, have some.
  3. Use the lift you get from your indulgence to move into something more active that lifts your mood. (There are times when choosing what to do next requires an infusion of energy just to get to that point.)  You might decide to watch a good movie.  It could be Young Frankenstein if you want to laugh or a Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan movie if you want something more bittersweet.
  4. Take your emotional temperature and decide where to go next – back to the chocolate or out to run an errand – back to your room or out to talk to neighbors.  Whichever it is, trust your gut and just do it.
  5. At the end of the day, let it go.  Set your expectation that tomorrow will be better and let go of the yuck from today.  Instead of reviewing how badly you felt during the day, preview a better day tomorrow.  This can preload how you view the day when you awake.  Expecting a good day gives you better odds that it will be a good day.

None of these are sure fire solutions to make sure you never have another bad mood.  They occasionally show up, just like cloudy days in Southern California.  But the clouds pass and so do our moods.

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