1) Don’t fight it. Fighting a bad mood is like flailing in water when drowning or panicking in quicksand-it makes things worse. Simply be mindful of your mood-state and accept that, “it is as it is.” (It’s important to note that I am referring to a “bad mood” and not depression, which requires treatment by a qualified mental health professional.)
2) Look for the lesson. Was there a trigger for the bad mood? Sometimes negative consequences are opportunities for learning and growth.
3) Embrace it. Anger can be mobilizing, energizing and empowering. I secretly sometimes love my dragon energy. Ask yourself, how can your negative mood state work to your advantage?
4) Understand that your feelings are always normal. Our feelings may be irrational, but they are always normal responses to our nature and our nurture. Sometimes a current event taps into a well of old feelings from the past, so our emotional response appears disproportionate to the event, but is actually understandable when you consider the full picture.
5) Cut yourself some slack. Nobody is perfect and we are all works in progress. Practice a mantra such as, “I am only human and I am doing the best that I can.” Accept and forgive yourself as you would your best friend or somebody you love very much.
6) Bring your attention to the present. Don’t exacerbate your bad mood by ruminating about the past or worrying about the future. Practice mindfulness techniques such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation or meditation to reboot your mind, body and spirit.
7) Pay attention to your thinking. You can observe your negative thoughts and choose not to listen to them.
8) Take pause. Give yourself a mental time out. A bad mood is a good time to take a walk around the block or shut your office door to have a few quiet moments. It’s not a good time to initiate important conversations about work or relationships! Let loved ones know that your not at your best and hold your tongue so you don’t say things you will regret later.
9) Infuse yourself with self-care. Think of it like an epi-pen shot of self-love. Give yourself what you need, even if it is as simple as a good cup of coffee, a yummy meal, a bubble bath or an early night to bed. Keep the self-care healthy, as drinking and shopping and other compulsive behaviors can masquerade as self-care but may be more harmful in the end. Think of it as being your own good parent and take loving care of yourself.
10) Tell people what you need. Don’t expect others to be mind-readers or you might end up in an unwanted conflict. Use assertive communication to ask for support or space, depending on your needs.
11) Know that you are not your anger. You might feel like you are the dragon, but you are not. You the unique spirit of light and love that your anger is temporarily eclipsing.
12) Understand, this too, shall pass. Like the waves of the tide, your moods ebb and flow. You can trust in the ways of the universe-your low mood will lift in time.