Life has a tendency to knock us down a few notches every now and then. If you are having one of those days when nothing is going right, let me share five ways to change your mood’s direction:
1. Create Stuff That Interests You
I write stories; I’m currently working on a novel, in fact. It’s my first try at a large piece of fiction work, and it’s fun. Every day I write a minimum of 2,000 words and every day I wake up scared witless that I’m going to fail. Sometimes it takes me a couple of hours to knock a couple of thousand words off. Sometimes, well, I miss lunch. But accomplishing 2,000 words gives me power — that I did it, and will step to the table tomorrow and do it again.
If I’m not working on my book and my feelings towards the day start heading south, I try and create some new ideas for articles or projects. It keeps my mind stimulated, ignoring the internal feelings begging me to suffer.
If you love writing, like I do, and you’re feeling ‘not-so-hot’, then grab a pencil, write a story, write about a favorite date, a dream date, an old experience that warms your heart. The point is, just write something. It distracts you from your current need for sadness and will make you feel good after accomplishing it.
If you’re not into writing, create something else. My wife recently picked up crocheting, it keeps her mind distracted if she is feeling stressed, and now my dog is going to be really warm this winter!
You can create anything you like, the only rule is: It should be interesting to you.
2. Read Some Good Fiction
I understand every article like this always tells you to go read some positive, inspirational books, but I want to tweak that message. Yes, it’s great to read something that is going to get your hope-mojo pumping and gives new life to the day, but sometimes it all seems like hogwash, doesn’t it?
When you feel really awful, reading the highly emotional, ‘go get your success’ type of information can be deflating. What if you don’t want to right now? I mean, it’s your right how you want to act.
I’ve found recently that reading good fiction can help, at minimum, to ease my mind. It takes me to a far away place — it gives my brain a break. While some non-fiction reminds us how awful our life is and why we need it to make our life better, a good fiction book just wants to tell you a story, that’s it. My favorite fiction novel is Ask The Dust, by John Fante. A couple more I would recommend are Ham On Rye, by Charles Bukowski and East of Eden, by John Steinbeck.
Give your mind a break: dive into some good fiction!
3. Dance A Little
There’s nothing in the world that changes your mood — naturally, I should add — like dancing. My puppy, Lily, and I will break out into mini-dance parties when I’m searching for a little energy. She jumps up, I grab her front paws, we sway slowly in a small circle while she walks on her back legs. The entire time she tries to gnaw my hand off, but it’s great fun nonetheless.
Put on some music that gets your foot tapping. Before you know it, you will have a full-on dance party trying to impress your dog with your moves.
4. Do 100 Push Ups As Fast As You Can
It’s not easy to instantly drop and pound out 100 push ups when you’re not feeling too hot about life. It’s not easy to just drop and do 100 push ups period, but it does change your energy.
For most people, the ones not dangerously obsessed with fitness, 100 push ups is damn hard to do in under six minutes. Once you hit the wall, your body feels like it’s gained 50 pounds, your arms turn to jelly, your lungs fight for breath. The feeling is horrible, but you’re not in a bad mood anymore because pushing to 100 is your only purpose at that moment. You’re welcome!
Side Note: Don’t do 100 if you can’t. Just a number that creates some struggle and causes you to challenge yourself a bit. You know, get those endorphins everybody talks about flowing. It could be 50, it could be 20. The number isn’t important, the feeling is.
5. Write Some Poetry
This is similar to point ‘1’ if you love writing, but even if you don’t, I’d urge you to try your hand at writing poetry. Writing poetry can be magical. It forces you to see the world in different ways. Even if you write something sad or negative, just getting it out on paper can help shift your feelings.
I’ve written some of my best poems while being in the dumps, but it felt good to get my frustrations out. Don’t worry about structure, just write!
Poetry is an art. Art can help bring peace to your life. As Kurt Vonnegut said, “Practicing an art isn’t a way to earn money…it’s a way to make one’s soul grow.”
The main thing to remember is, no matter how bad or sad you’re feeling, it’s okay, it’s normal. It’s a part of being human, so embrace it and work through it. You only have one life, so you might as well do the best you can to enjoy as many moments as you are given.
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