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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

More by this author

Jade Nyx

Qualified Life Coach

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Published on May 4, 2021

How To Spot Fake People (And Ways To Deal With Them)

How To Spot Fake People (And Ways To Deal With Them)

They say we are the average of the five persons we spend the most time with. For a minute, consider the people around you. Are they truly who your “tribe” should be or who you aspire to become in the future? Are they really genuine people who want to see you succeed? Or are they fake people who don’t really want to see you happy?

In this article, I’ll review why it is important to surround yourself with genuine individuals—the ones who care, bring something to our table, and first and foremost, who leave all fakeness behind.

How to Spot Fake People?

When you’ve been working in the helping professions for a while, spotting fake people gets a bit easier. There are some very clear signs that the person you are looking at is hiding something, acting somehow, or simply wanting to get somewhere. Most often, there is a secondary gain—perhaps attention, sympathy, or even a promotion.

Whatever it is, you’re better off working their true agenda and staying the hell away. Here are some things you should look out for to help spot fake people.

1. Full of Themselves

Fake people like to show off. They love looking at themselves in the mirror. They collect photos and videos of every single achievement they had and every part of their body and claim to be the “best at what they do.”

Most of these people are actually not that good in real life. But they act like they are and ensure that they appear better than the next person. The issue for you is that you may find yourself always feeling “beneath” them and irritated at their constant need to be in the spotlight.

2. Murky in Expressing Their Emotions

Have you ever tried having a deep and meaningful conversation with a fake person? It’s almost impossible. It’s because they have limited emotional intelligence and don’t know how they truly feel deep down—and partly because they don’t want to have their true emotions exposed, no matter how normal these might be.

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It’s much harder to say “I’m the best at what I do” while simultaneously sharing “average” emotions with “equal” people.

3. Zero Self-Reflection

To grow, we must accept feedback from others. We must be open to our strengths and to our weaknesses. We must accept that we all come in different shapes and can always improve.

Self-reflection requires us to think, forgive, admit fault, and learn from our mistakes. But to do that, we have to be able to adopt a level of genuineness and depth that fake people don’t routinely have. A fake person generally never apologizes, but when they do, it is often followed with a “but” in the next breath.

4. Unrealistic Perceptions

Fake people most often have an unrealistic perception of the world—things that they want to portray to others (pseudo achievements, materialistic gains, or a made-up sense of happiness) or simply how they genuinely regard life outside themselves.

A lot of fake people hide pain, shame, and other underlying reasons in their behavior. This could explain why they can’t be authentic and/or have difficulties seeing their environment for the way it objectively is (both good and bad).

5. Love Attention

As I mentioned earlier, the biggest sign that something isn’t quite right with someone’s behavior can be established by how much they love attention. Are you being interrupted every time you speak by someone who wants to make sure that the spotlight gets reverted back to them? Is the focus always on them, no matter the topic? If yes, you’re probably dealing with a fake person.

6. People Pleaser

Appreciation feels nice but having everyone like you is even better. While it is completely unrealistic for most people to please everyone all the time, fake people seem to always say yes in pursuit of constant approval.

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Now, this is a problem for two reasons. Firstly, these people are simply saying yes to things for their own satisfaction. Secondly, they often end up changing their minds or retracting their offer for one reason or another (“I would have loved to, but my grandmother suddenly fell ill.”), leaving you in the lurch for the 100th time this year.

7. Sarcasm and Cynicism

Behind the chronic pasted smile, fake people are well known for brewing resentment, jealousy, or anger. This is because, behind the postcard life, they are often unhappy. Sarcasm and cynicism are well known to act as a defense mechanism, sometimes even a diversion—anything so they can remain feeling on top of the world, whether it is through boosting themselves or bringing people down.

8. Crappy friend

Fake people are bad friends. They don’t listen to you, your feelings, and whatever news you might have to share. In fact, you might find yourself migrating away from them when you have exciting or bad news to share, knowing that it will always end up one way—their way. In addition, you might find that they’re not available when you truly need them or worse, cancel plans at the last minute.

It’s not unusual to hear that a fake person talks constantly behind people’s backs. Let’s be honest, if they do it to others, they’re doing it to you too. If your “friend” makes you feel bad constantly, trust me, they’re not achieving their purpose, and they’re simply not a good person to have around.

The sooner you learn to spot these fake people, the sooner you can meet meaningful individuals again.

How to Cope With Fake People Moving Forward?

It is important to remind yourself that you deserve more than what you’re getting. You are worthy, valuable, precious, and just as important as the next person.

There are many ways to manage fake people. Here are some tips on how to deal with them.

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1. Boundaries

Keep your boundaries very clear. As explained in the book Unlock Your Resilience, boundaries are what keep you sane when the world tries to suffocate you. When fake people become emotional vampires, make sure to keep your distances, limit contact, and simply replace them with more valuable interactions.

2. Don’t Take Their Behavior Personally

Sadly, they most likely have behaved this way before they knew you and will continue much longer after you have moved on. It isn’t about you. It is about their inner need to meet a void that you are not responsible for. And in all honesty, unless you are a trained professional, you are unlikely to improve it anyway.

3. Be Upfront and Honest About How You Feel

If your “friend” has been hurtful or engaged in behaviors you struggle with, let them know—nicely, firmly, however you want, but let them know that they are affecting you. If it works, great. If it doesn’t, you’ll feel better and when you’re ready to move on, you’ll know you tried to reach out. Your conscience is clear.

4. Ask for Advice

If you’re unsure about what you’re seeing or feeling, ask for advice. Perhaps a relative, a good friend, or a colleague might have some input as to whether you are overreacting or seeing some genuine concerns.

Now, don’t confuse asking for advice with gossiping behind the fake person’s back because, in the end, you don’t want to stoop down to their level. However, a little reminder as to how to stay on your own wellness track can never hurt.

5. Dig Deeper

Now, this one, I offer with caution. If you are emotionally strong, up to it, guaranteed you won’t get sucked into it, and have the skills to manage, perhaps you could dig into the reasons a fake person is acting the way they do.

Have they suffered recent trauma? Have they been rejected all their lives? Is their self-esteem so low that they must resort to making themselves feel good in any way they can? Sometimes, having an understanding of a person’s behavior can help in processing it.

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6. Practice Self-Care!

Clearly, putting some distance between the fake person and yourself is probably the way to go. However, sometimes, it takes time to get there. In the meantime, make sure to practice self-care, be gentle with yourself, and compensate with lots of positives!

Self-care can be as simple as taking a hot shower after talking to them or declining an invitation when you’re not feeling up to the challenge.

Spotting fake people isn’t too hard. They generally glow with wanna-be vibes. However, most often, there are reasons as to why they are like this. Calling their behavior might be the first step. Providing them with support might be the second. But if these don’t work, it’s time to stay away and surround yourself with the positivity that you deserve.

Final Thoughts

Remember that life is a rollercoaster. It has good moments, tough moments, and moments you wouldn’t change for the world. So, look around and make sure that you take the time to choose the right people to share it all with.

We are the average of the five people we spend the most time with, so take a good look around and choose wisely!

More Tips on Dealing With Fake People

Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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