You know those days, when you don’t want to climb out of bed. You just woke up and suddenly find that you have no motivation to go on through the day. The world around looks black and white, or even worse – it’s grey, and there’s only one name to your day – the bad mood day.
We all get it sometimes, some more often, some less. For some it persists, for others – goes away. How can some people manage to punch the bad mood right in the face and bounce back? This is what we are going to explore.
The Two Paths
There are, in general, two paths to take on a bad mood day.
First is to let the mood influence you. When we choose this path we somewhat let ourselves be defeated, we acknowledge no power over our emotions (which is not actually true because it’s all in the head). We become a couch potato, watching pointless TV programs all day, eating junk food and wearing PJs all day long, and for anything that comes up on our way we have just one excuse “I’m not in a mood today”. It all might seem like the right thing to do – you can’t really force yourself do anything significant when you’re in such a bad mood, so why try to only make it worse?
But the problem with this broody approach is that it makes you feel worse in the end of the day. You are likely to feel that you wasted the day, you have done nothing and you let your mood ruin the day when you could have actually tried to get your act together and instead be productive. How does this realisation make you feel? Well, it definitely doesn’t boost or improve my mood. Instead, it gives me a reason to be even more disappointed because I couldn’t beat my bad mood. I let my mood define me.
The second path is to take measures to improve your mood. You may not always succeed, that is true. But at least you tried. And if you are successful, it will boost your mood and the sense of accomplishment even further – a total opposite of what letting your mood take its course would do to you, isn’t it?
So how can you boost your mood? How can you defeat the broodiness and your emotions and get your life back in your hands?
There are numerous ways to improve your mood. They all act on your brain but in different ways. Let’s have a look at them.
The Bad Mood Cure
Ways To Instantly Improve your Mood
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1. You are not your mood
This is the very first step. Understand that you are just having a bad mood and it’s all in your head. Thinking about how bad you feel will only reinforce this mood. Make a conscious decision to think positive, no matter how hard it is. It will pay off later.
2. Practice Affirmations
You are not your mood, but you are what you think. Your brain is great at playing association games. So if you think negatively of yourself or your bad mood, you will instill this association in your head. Conversely, if you start saying that you feel great and practice positive affirmations, you will eventually trick your brain into believing that. The way we think changes the chemistry in our brain and affects the way we feel.
Practicing affirmations is like a pep talk, in a way. Make sure that you only use positive words, negations can negatively work on your brain (it’s so tempting to do what we are told not to!). If you’re new to this, you can say something like “I am happy. I feel great today. I am full of enthusiasm and I can do anything”. You can say whatever you feel is the desired opposite to what you’re feeling now. Repeat it several times, it is your new mantra for now.
3. Write in a journal
This always helps when nothing else does. It’s hard to keep it all in your head, and actually quite toxic. Pouring your thoughts and feelings out on a paper is a good way to acknowledge them and move on.
I also love working in Moorea Seal’s The 52 Lists journals. They are great to channel your gratitude, creativity and work on your skills.
4. Express Gratitude
Gratitude is like a lifeline. It gives you hope and a sense of belonging when all else seem lost. Get a piece of paper and list 3 to 5 things you are grateful for. Try to be specific, tell why you feel grateful. Vague statements don’t get you far. Finding your gratitude may help you ease your sorrow and give you something positive to hold on to.
5. Watch or read something motivational
I am a big fan of YouTube for this matter. Whenever I feel low and lacking in motivation, I go to YouTube. There are so many great vloggers who are able to make my day brighter and charge me with their positivity, enthusiasm, groundedness and motivation.
My interests are plant-based nutrition, well-being, productivity, zero-waste and minimalism, so naturally I focus on vloggers who share a similar mindset. If you have similar interests, try my favourite YouTubers:
- Pick Up Limes – vegan nutrition, minimalism, lifestyle
- Jenny Mustard, and The Mustards – minimalism, veganism, fashion, lifestyle
- Lavendaire – zero-waste, minimalism, veganism, wellness, lifestyle, productivity
- Amy Landino – work productivity, motivation
- Marie Forleo – productivity, self-development, motivation
Sometimes, silence and deep breathing is all that you need to feel better. Your bad mood can be a sign that you are mentally exhausted and need to slow down. Meditation or deep breathing is one of the ways of slowing down, but stayed tuned for more.
Exercise triggers the release of endorphines – happiness hormones. It has been scientifically proven to improve mood and even help with depression. So even if you don’t feel like it right now, exercise is always a good idea.
8. Go for a walk
If the weather is suitable, it never hurts to go for a brisk walk. Walking, as exercise, improves your mood and being outside boosts it even further.
9. Clear your space
Sometimes a cluttered and unkempt environment can mentally exhaust us – just imagine that all that clutter that you see has to be processed by your brain every single time you notice it. It overstimulates and overwhelms your brain. The bad mood could be caused by this alone, and eliminating the clutter can help improve your mood tremendously. This is why minimazing and simplifying your space can significantly improve the quality of your life. The cleaning/decluttering part itself is also a good way to take your mind away from the often so-called problems.
10. Light scented candles or diffuse oils
Our sensory system is connected to the emotional centre of the brain, and olfactory (sense of smell) is no different. They are all part of the limbic system, and through the olfactory bulb scents reach the amygdala, which processes emotions and emotional memories. Moreover, the natural chemical compounds in essential oils also affect the brain chemistry. This is why different essential oils have different effects on the body.
Having candles lit in a clean, clutter-free space always lifts my mood, but scents are the ultimate boost and you can feel them work in just minutes. Here are some smells that may help you cure your bad mood:
- Sandalwood – calming and grounding, it can bring you positivity and recharge your energy.
- Jasmine – helps to alleviate tension, anxiety and negative emotions, improving your mood.
- Cinnamon, Vanilla – also warm and grounding, they can trigger happy thoughts.
- Citrus (orange, lemon, grapefruit, bergamot) – uplifting and motivating, they are perfect to create a cheerful environment and mood.
A simple diffuser (I use this one) can make diffusing oils the easiest task as you can put it on timer. They also make breathing easier.
11. Colour Therapy
This is an interesting one. Colour has long been associated with emotions, like blue – calm, red – anger, etc. It turns out that colours indeed affect our mood and emotions, and surrounding yourself with one colour or another may evoke certain feelings and emotions. When you suffer from bad mood and lack of motivation, surround yourself with sunny yellow and orange colours, or pink if you also want some balance.
12. Eat fruit
Vibrant colours, energy from carbohydrates, delicious taste and boost of vitamins to get your spirits and energy up. Even Looking at fruit gives me that kick that I need so much on days like this.
13. Drink tea
Some teas may offer you a mood boost by design, others just by the act of slowing down and drinking tea. Among the teas that possess uplifting and mood-boosting properties are Passion flower (rather relaxing), Green Tea (Mao Feng is my favourite, but hard to find in stores), Lemon and Ginger tea (also immune-boosting) and Chai (this one can also be occasionally found in Aldi). But whatever tea brings you pleasure has a potential to improve your mood.
14. Listen to music
Music can positively affect your mind and your moods. Keep a playlist of your favourite energizing tunes nearby and put it on whenever you need that extra boost.
15. Meet up with a friend or a close relative
Sometimes all we need is just to have someone by our side, and everything else falls into its place. Call them on the phone or better yet, go for a walk together or meet up for coffee.
Even though it didn’t cut it to 15 Things to Improve Your Mood Right Now list, I have one more trick up my sleeve. I found that trying to help people battle with whatever you are battling with (even if it is simply a bad mood) helps you too.
It was me who woke up moody today. It was me who had no motivation to get up and start the day. And it was me who wanted to waste the day as a couch potato. But instead I started working on this article, thinking of all the ways I know to improve the mood. And by the time I reached the actual list, my mood was brighter. Helping people in any way can be rewarding. But doing what you love doing, working on things you believe in is just as great a source of motivation as any.
Always do what you love,
always do what makes YOU happy.