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Last Updated on December 4, 2020

5 Ways to Get Out of a Bad Mood (Backed by Psychology)

5 Ways to Get Out of a Bad Mood (Backed by Psychology)

There is nothing worse than being caught in a bad mood, especially when it seemingly comes out of nowhere. It can be caused by one thing, one off comment, a snide look, or an empty coffee cup, and the negativity overwhelms us and throws us into a bad mood.

But now that you find yourself in one, it’s pointless to continue to stay there. Being in a bad mood is okay for a short time, but you don’t have to stay in a bad mood. It isn’t productive or conducive to you being happy and living your best life.

What Causes a Bad Mood?

Some psychologists believe a bad mood originates due to ego depletion. Researcher Roy Baumeister[1] suggests when people use up their willpower to avoid temptation, they drain cognitive resources.

Think of yourself as having a stress-threshold. When you pass the line, you get in a bad mood, which might manifest itself as anger, irritability, or cynicism. All of these cause your blood pressure to fluctuate and increase your level of the stress hormone cortisol.

There are so many causes that can put us in a bad mood, and they are all completely personal to you and your situation. While the causes are varied, there are some common strategies that tend to help those who have fallen into a bad mood.

5 Ways to Get out of a Bad Mood

This list is more like a pick and choose for whichever one will work for you. Some will work for some bad moods, but keep in mind that if your bad mood is caused by a strong feeling you are having, you should face that feeling and deal with the situation. The most effective way to get out of a bad mood is to face your problems and resolve them.

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1. Gratitude

Gratitude is the power to switch your mindset from lack and negativity to abundance and positivity[2]. It is easy to get sucked into the a negative headspace with the society we live in, the media, and our culture.

However, by practicing gratitude you literally change the molecular structure of the brain. It keeps the gray matter functioning and makes you feel healthier and happier[3]

The power of gratitude is extensive and has been backed by scientists over and over again. By practicing gratitude, you activate your hypothalamus and the other parts of the brain’s reward pathways to improve your mood. Your brain is an incredible asset and can be used to generate positive or negative emotions, and it’s ultimately your choice.

Practice gratitude as a way to disperse your bad mood. You don’t have to start off big. Start small by appreciating the little things in life: the smell of coffee, the kindness of a stranger, the sound of your baby laughing. Gratitude can be just as addictive as a bad mood.

2. Exercise

Now gratitude is a wonderful asset, but sometimes it isn’t enough. Sometimes you are just in such a bad mood that you can’t even get into that state to express gratitude. This is when you can try exercise. There is so much evidence backing exercise as a mood booster that it is overwhelming[4].

The most notable shift that exercise creates is the release of four notable chemicals into your brain: serotonin, dopamine, endorphins and norepinephrine[5]. These chemicals are released into your body and are designed to make you feel happy; in fact, they are called the happiness chemicals! If you’ve gotten stuck in a bad mood, try an exercise class or go on a long walk or run. You’ll be surprised how much it helps!

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Try these morning exercises to get your day started on a good note!

3. Meditation

Next, let’s talk about a deeper way to deal with a bad mood: meditation. The world is extremely overwhelming, and sometimes exercise and gratitude just don’t cut it. Sometimes you just need to stop for a moment and breathe.

It is so easy to get caught up in those negative thoughts that are floating around your head, so take a moment to sit in them and face them.

When you are stressed or in a bad mood, your medial prefrontal cortex becomes hyperactive and you become depressed. Meditation has been found to change certain brain regions that are specifically linked with depression. Dr. John W. Denniger, director of research at the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital, explains:

“Meditation trains the brain to achieve sustained focus, and to return to that focus when negative thinking, emotions, and physical sensations intrude — which happens a lot when you feel stressed and anxious.”[6]

Meditation is another way to use your amazing body to work with you to help you boost your way out of a bad mood. It makes you stop and face those feelings and relax the tension that they are causing. There are even options to do specific mood-boosting guided meditations to help you if you are new to meditation.

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If you’re not sure where to start, check out this guide to get started.

4. Rest

Meditation, gratitude and exercise are all well and good, but if you are exhausted, they won’t be much help. We are all just human beings, and at the end of the day, we live, breathe, eat, and get tired. When a bad mood comes, it may just be that you are tired and rundown.

Sometimes you just need to rest, something that is frowned upon in our culture. We live in a “get everything done now” kind of world, and if you rest, you are perceived as lazy, and it is draining and exhausting.

Studies have shown that even partial sleep deprivation has a significant effect on mood. University of Pennsylvania researchers found that subjects who were limited to only 4.5 hours of sleep a night for one week reported feeling more stressed, angry, sad, and mentally exhausted. When the subjects resumed normal sleep, they reported a dramatic improvement in mood[7]

Try resting, and I don’t just mean sleeping more or having a nap. I mean disconnect from your constant need to go, go, go and sit and take a day to do nothing and recharge. If you are feeling emotionally drained, you will struggle to lift a bad mood.

5. Connect With Your Support System

This one is incredibly important and often underrated. When we feel low, we feel disconnected and unvalued by those around us. Reaching out and talking out your bad mood to a trusted friend in your support network really helps you get out of a bad mood. It helps us to process our feelings, put them into perspective, and obtain advice and support.

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A new brain imaging study by psychologists suggests that verbalizing our feelings makes our sadness, anger, and pain less intense.[8]

When we talk about our feelings, they become less intense, and we can relax a little. Don’t be afraid to reach out. It isn’t always easy, but talking it can really help you move forward.

Sometimes it feels like we just keep all of this noise in our head, and it gets too loud and we just get overwhelmed. Spending time expressing how you feel in a safe space can be very therapeutic and mood-boosting when you receive support and reassurance.

Final Thoughts

Being in a bad mood sucks, but you are overall responsible for your mood and actions. Someone or something can trigger a bad mood, but you are in charge of how you feel and what you do moving forward.

You can choose to do these activities to boost your mood and take responsibility for how you feel, giving you back power and control over your mood.

Nothing lasts forever, not even a bad mood. Look to the future and gain some perspective. One day, you won’t even remember this moment.

More Tips on Curing a Bad Mood

Featured photo credit: Anthony Tran via unsplash.com

Reference

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Jade Nyx

Qualified Life Coach

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Last Updated on February 11, 2021

Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating

Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating

How often have you said something simple, only to have the person who you said this to misunderstand it or twist the meaning completely around? Nodding your head in affirmative? Then this means that you are being unclear in your communication.

Communication should be simple, right? It’s all about two people or more talking and explaining something to the other. The problem lies in the talking itself, somehow we end up being unclear, and our words, attitude or even the way of talking becomes a barrier in communication, most of the times unknowingly. We give you six common barriers to communication, and how to get past them; for you to actually say what you mean, and or the other person to understand it as well…

The 6 Walls You Need to Break Down to Make Communication Effective

Think about it this way, a simple phrase like “what do you mean” can be said in many different ways and each different way would end up “communicating” something else entirely. Scream it at the other person, and the perception would be anger. Whisper this is someone’s ear and others may take it as if you were plotting something. Say it in another language, and no one gets what you mean at all, if they don’t speak it… This is what we mean when we say that talking or saying something that’s clear in your head, many not mean that you have successfully communicated it across to your intended audience – thus what you say and how, where and why you said it – at times become barriers to communication.[1]

Perceptual Barrier

The moment you say something in a confrontational, sarcastic, angry or emotional tone, you have set up perceptual barriers to communication. The other person or people to whom you are trying to communicate your point get the message that you are disinterested in what you are saying and sort of turn a deaf ear. In effect, you are yelling your point across to person who might as well be deaf![2]

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The problem: When you have a tone that’s not particularly positive, a body language that denotes your own disinterest in the situation and let your own stereotypes and misgivings enter the conversation via the way you talk and gesture, the other person perceives what you saying an entirely different manner than say if you said the same while smiling and catching their gaze.

The solution: Start the conversation on a positive note, and don’t let what you think color your tone, gestures of body language. Maintain eye contact with your audience, and smile openly and wholeheartedly…

Attitudinal Barrier

Some people, if you would excuse the language, are simply badass and in general are unable to form relationships or even a common point of communication with others, due to their habit of thinking to highly or too lowly of them. They basically have an attitude problem – since they hold themselves in high esteem, they are unable to form genuine lines of communication with anyone. The same is true if they think too little of themselves as well.[3]

The problem: If anyone at work, or even in your family, tends to roam around with a superior air – anything they say is likely to be taken by you and the others with a pinch, or even a bag of salt. Simply because whenever they talk, the first thing to come out of it is their condescending attitude. And in case there’s someone with an inferiority complex, their incessant self-pity forms barriers to communication.

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The solution: Use simple words and an encouraging smile to communicate effectively – and stick to constructive criticism, and not criticism because you are a perfectionist. If you see someone doing a good job, let them know, and disregard the thought that you could have done it better. It’s their job so measure them by industry standards and not your own.

Language Barrier

This is perhaps the commonest and the most inadvertent of barriers to communication. Using big words, too much of technical jargon or even using just the wrong language at the incorrect or inopportune time can lead to a loss or misinterpretation of communication. It may have sounded right in your head and to your ears as well, but if sounded gobbledygook to the others, the purpose is lost.

The problem: Say you are trying to explain a process to the newbies and end up using every technical word and industry jargon that you knew – your communication has failed if the newbie understood zilch. You have to, without sounding patronizing, explain things to someone in the simplest language they understand instead of the most complex that you do.

The solution: Simplify things for the other person to understand you, and understand it well. Think about it this way: if you are trying to explain something scientific to a child, you tone it down to their thinking capacity, without “dumbing” anything down in the process.[4]

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Emotional Barrier

Sometimes, we hesitate in opening our mouths, for fear of putting our foot in it! Other times, our emotional state is so fragile that we keep it and our lips zipped tightly together lest we explode. This is the time that our emotions become barriers to communication.[5]

The problem: Say you had a fight at home and are on a slow boil, muttering, in your head, about the injustice of it all. At this time, you have to give someone a dressing down over their work performance. You are likely to transfer at least part of your angst to the conversation then, and talk about unfairness in general, leaving the other person stymied about what you actually meant!

The solution: Remove your emotions and feelings to a personal space, and talk to the other person as you normally would. Treat any phobias or fears that you have and nip them in the bud so that they don’t become a problem. And remember, no one is perfect.

Cultural Barrier

Sometimes, being in an ever-shrinking world means that inadvertently, rules can make cultures clash and cultural clashes can turn into barriers to communication. The idea is to make your point across without hurting anyone’s cultural or religious sentiments.

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The problem: There are so many ways culture clashes can happen during communication and with cultural clashes; it’s not always about ethnicity. A non-smoker may have problems with smokers taking breaks; an older boss may have issues with younger staff using the Internet too much.

The solution: Communicate only what is necessary to get the point across – and eave your personal sentiments or feelings out of it. Try to be accommodative of the other’s viewpoint, and in case you still need to work it out, do it one to one, to avoid making a spectacle of the other person’s beliefs.[6]

Gender Barrier

Finally, it’s about Men from Mars and Women from Venus. Sometimes, men don’t understand women and women don’t get men – and this gender gap throws barriers in communication. Women tend to take conflict to their graves, literally, while men can move on instantly. Women rely on intuition, men on logic – so inherently, gender becomes a big block in successful communication.[7]

The problem: A male boss may inadvertently rub his female subordinates the wrong way with anti-feminism innuendoes, or even have problems with women taking too many family leaves. Similarly, women sometimes let their emotions get the better of them, something a male audience can’t relate to.

The solution: Talk to people like people – don’t think or classify them into genders and then talk accordingly. Don’t make comments or innuendos that are gender biased – you don’t have to come across as an MCP or as a bra-burning feminist either. Keep gender out of it.

And remember, the key to successful communication is simply being open, making eye contact and smiling intermittently. The battle is usually half won when you say what you mean in simple, straightforward words and keep your emotions out of it.

Reference

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