Ten Things You Can Do to Change Your Bad Mood

Who hasn't had a bad day or suffered through a bad mood? The key difference among people, however, is that some of us have coping strategies -- methods of transforming that bad mood into a neutral mood, and ideally, a good mood.

Bad moods come from a variety of sources. Sometimes, we just wake up in a bad mood. Other times, circumstances around us cause us to become sad, angry, frustrated -- that inconsiderate coworker or boss, that driver that cuts you off, forgetting your phone, stepping in dog poop, forgetting an important date... the list could go on forever.

This article is not about how to never get in a bad mood; sadly, bad moods are always lurking. Instead, this article is about what to do when you get hit with a bad mood... though I should add that some of these tips may actually help prevent or lessen future bad moods.

Strategies for Coping With a Bad Mood

1. Acknowledge the Source. We need to face our bad moods to conquer them. If we let the mood fester, it can easily spread to other areas, including physical discomfort. Find the underlying root of your bad mood, accept what it is, and decide on a course of action to try and not let that same thing put you in a funk in the future.

2. Vent to a Trusted Friend/Family Member. Keeping a bad mood -- and its underlying anger or depression or fear -- is simply a recipe for a crummy day... or days. Talking to someone else and sharing your frustrations is often like a release valve, allowing your bad mood to slowly evaporate as it leaves your system once you have a chance to share it.

3. Walk Away. ... and keep walking. If something -- or someone -- triggered your bad mood, often the best solution is to simply leave; walk away and get a breath of fresh air. If you stay put, you'll just be wallowing in your bad mood. Walking away, even if simply to a place nearby where you can look at a favorite picture on your phone will make it easier to leave your bad mood behind.

4. Give Yourself a Healthy Treat. A great coping mechanism for a bad mood is to try and turn things around with something positive, something you don't treat yourself to often... but just remember to make it healthy -- such as watching a favorite movie, or eating dinner out, or taking your car to the car wash -- not something dangerous or bad for you.

5. Make a Gratitude List. Bad moods can often lead to a downward spiral and pity parties, but the best way to avoid going that route is to remember the things and people in your life, some of which are very easy to take for granted -- such as having a place to sleep at night, food when hungry, a decent-paying job, caring friends and family, and the like. Most of us are blessed to have even more items to be thankful for, so keep a list and refer to it whenever that bad mood arises.

6. Spend Time in Nature. If you've read any of my other work, you might say I am obsessed with the healing powers of nature -- but science and studies prove it. The Japanese call it forest bathing, simply spending time sitting in nature, whether a local park or deep in a forest. Going outside has been shown to improve your mood, reduce stress, increase energy levels, lower blood pressure, and boost the immune system. Read more details in my article: Want to Lead a Happier, Healthier Life? Get out in Nature!

7. Volunteer, Give to Others. Nothing helps reframe a bad mood -- and make us feel better about ourselves and our situations -- than helping others, especially those in need. You can volunteer your time and expertise, you can make a donation, or you can find fun ways to pay it forward to random strangers. If you need ideas, read one or both of these articles:

8. Mediate/Contemplate. When we focus on the present through meditation or quiet contemplation, we escape the small stuff that brings us down, and puts us in a bad mood. Meditating and contemplating also takes us from the present or past and allows us to open our minds to the future. Studies show meditation can also improve concentration, increase happiness, reduce stress, and slow aging.

9. Practice Self-Care. Most of us do not let bad moods drag us down a black hole into depression, but if you are prone to depression, develop and practice good self-care -- including talk therapy; healthy eating; quality sleep; regular exercise; and medications, if required. For some, even something as simple as a warm bath or shower is enough to lift the spirits enough so that you can use some of these other tips in conjunction to fight off the bad mood.

10. Go Easy on Yourself. We all have off days when something small that we might normally shake off triggers an unexpected and unusual (read over) reaction. Even though an outside trigger provoked our bad mood, we sometimes are quick to blame ourselves for allowing it to happen. If that occurs, take a step back and give yourself a pass. Bad things happen and it's okay to be upset for a while, as long as you don't get fixated.

Final Thoughts on Improving Upon Bad Moods

One final comment... nutrition and exercise play a major role in both mental and physical well-being, so it's extremely important to get these two elements working for you. Eating fresh -- and freshly prepared -- food rather than junk-food, fast-food, or processed foot is essential, as is eliminating sugar, corn-syrup, and other dangerous food. Equally important is getting at least 20-30 minutes of daily exercise, including walking, climbing stairs, riding a bike, calisthenics, or going to the gym.

Read more on nutrition and fitness in these sections of my site, RandallSHansen.com:

Dr. Randall Hansen is an advocate, educator, mentor, ethicist, and thought-leader... helping the world heal from past trauma. He is founder and CEO of EmpoweringSites.com, a network of empowering and transformative Websites, including EmpoweringAdvice.com.

He is the author of the groundbreaking Triumph Over Trauma: Psychedelic Medicines are Helping People Heal Their Trauma, Change Their Lives, and Grow Their Spirituality and the well-received HEAL! Wholeistic Practices to Help Clear Your Trauma, Heal Yourself, and Live Your Best Life.

Dr. Hansen's focus and advocacy center around true healing ... healing that results in being able to live an authentic life filled with peace, joy, love. Learn more by visiting his personal Website, RandallSHansen.com. You can also check out Dr. Randall Hansen on LinkedIn.