We all know it: everything is just going well and suddenly your mood hits the skids and you think, uh! How did it happen? Your mood is a balance between your thoughts, environmental influences (for example, where you are and who is around you) and life events, and your physiological state (are you cold, hungry, or need to pee?). Changing of one or more of these factors can take you on an unexpected – and uncomfortable – emotional journey. Here are seven bad mood scenarios and how you can work around them.
1. Your friend vented on you and now you are feeling bummed.
This is a case of emotional contagion, a very basic (even primitive) phenomenon. In conversation, people naturally tend to imitate their friends’ facial expressions, posture, body language, and speech rhythm without realizing it. The gradual muscle movements involved in this mimicry (for example, frowning after a friend does) evoke actual sensations in your brain and trigger the same neurons that would be triggered if you experienced an emotion.
This infectious effect has a purpose: to give us empathy for others
we are what unite us as a group; some people, called empaths, seem to feel this more than others. “But absorbing your friends’ emotions isn’t going to help them or you,” says
Dr. Judith Orloff, a psychiatrist at the University of California, Los Angeles and author of the Empath Survival Guide.
Mood Booster: Take a break from conversation to clear your head, even if you’re just going to the bathroom. Then consciously remind yourself who the emotion belongs to – your friend, no matter how much you love her- and that the best thing you can do about it is to listen without trying to make things right.
2. You go over the problem a number of times and still feel grrrr.
It might sound like a good idea to think about complex problems carefully, but sometimes you don’t really solve problems, you think. Meditating means contemplating or obsessing over a situation until your thoughts are reproduced as broken records in your head. “It’s hard to resist thinking because you think you get an idea of yourself – but you really don’t.” Since you’re just spinning your mental wheel without achieving anything, it can exacerbate negative feelings and sap out motivation. Two red flags to think about: Feeling uncomfortable emotions (such as anger or fear) while thinking and keep coming back to the same thoughts instead of switching from one idea to another.
Mood Booster : Distract yourself by reading or viewing something interesting, listening to music, or going for a walk. Also take 15 to 20 minutes later in the day (not just before bed) to write down your thoughts and feelings or to talk to a trusted friend about the problem; then create an action plan to turn the experience into problem solving. In addition to worrying, “You may find that your problem is not as big as you first thought.”
3. You are very stressed all the time.
Sometimes “stressful feelings” are secondary emotions – reactions to other emotions. For example, the frustration of moving on to a deadline and the feeling of being betrayed by a friend can make you feel stressed, but the main emotion is frustration or hurt. This is important because “Emotions contain information about our lives and what we are interested in on a granular level. So labeling emotions helps you know exactly what is really happening to you.”
Mood Booster: Are you wondering what “stress” feels like right now? Identify the main emotion, then ask yourself what causes you to feel that emotion. For example, we often feel strong when our values are challenged or undermined in any way. You can get frustrated at work because you’re being belittled, and that makes you feel bad about yourself, David advises. Once you understand the roots of your emotional turmoil, consider what steps you can take, such as: Strengthening relationships at work, develop new skills, or talk to your manager about taking on a new project. Even
If there’s nothing you can do about it, David adds, the intensity of your feelings will lessen a bit because you name and place them correctly.
4. You feel guilty for not feeling happier.
Rest!!! Meta-emotions – feelings about the presence of particular emotions – are common. If you’ve ever felt sad from fear or embarrassed by crying, you’ve experienced meta-emotions. We are basically judging our own feelings or “watching them say something about us,” explains Dr. Christine Neff, Associate Professor of Educational Psychology at the University of Texas at Austin and author of the Workbook on Conscious Self-Esteem. We do this for a variety of reasons, but it’s not uncommon as a child to say that normal feelings like anger are a bit wrong and interpret them as bad, she says. The truth is that emotions come and go naturally; they do not indicate our personal values or character.
Mood Booster : Recognizing feelings and gently suppressing them without judging them is a time-consuming skill, says Nef, but trying a mindless meditation app like Headspace or Calm can help you observe your feelings. . “Let go of the illusion that you need to be in complete control of your emotions,” Nef said, and the feelings would pass. Then be nice to you. “Think about what you’d say to a friend who comes to you with a major emotion — you’ll probably validate her feelings and deal with her suffering in the moment, then you’ll comfort and soothe her,” says Nef. Remembering that what you feel is okay to feel can help you stop feeling bad.
5. In difficult times, your mind wanders straight to the worst-case scenario.
When we fall – we accept the worst – our brain believes it is preparing us for what lies ahead. However, this way of looking at things can increase your anxiety, so rethinking is the way to go. The idea is not to sweeten your mind, but rather to check its reality and put things into perspective.
Mood Booster : When negative thoughts take over, ask yourself: What is the evidence that this is true? How can I see this in a more positive or neutral light? This process is known as cognitive restructuring and can redirect your mood. Then try to think of a solution or look at the bigger picture. For example, if you risk being late with a work project, explain to your manager what’s holding you back, apologize, and ask for an extension. Or you can have a conversation and focus on how capable you are under pressure or how you usually get things done on time.
6. You experience the blues at certain times of the year.
Changes in outside light or fluctuations in temperature can affect your emotional well-being, especially if they change your sleeping patterns, eating habits, or exercise routine. This is because our bodies are still set to their original alarm clocks, and sun and daylight (or lack thereof) play key roles in hormones that affect mood, sleep, and energy levels. Other signs, such as warnings of a loved one’s death or divorce, can also evoke feelings of loss and grief, where “emotions from the past can bleed into the present”,
Mood Booster : Think about smells, sounds, sensations, or other environmental factors that may have occurred, as well as incidents where you felt similar in the past. “Awareness gives you the freedom to understand how you want to position yourself,” explains Dr. Sharp. For example, it can be helpful to remember that the feelings you are experiencing are a thing of the past and then take a deep breath to focus. Or treat yourself to a little extra treat by pampering yourself with a stimulating activity. If a lack of daylight is the basis for mood swings, take a short walk in the afternoon sun and consider light therapy lamps for winter.
7. At a glance, you become irritable or angry out of nowhere.
It happens to the best of us: the day seems lazy, the little comments from family members worsens everything. But if this is a regular occurrence for you, you owe it to yourself to assess the real trigger. Anything that affects your hormones (including rest, a new medication, or a change in your sleep schedule) or your blood sugar level (such as forgetting to eat or taking diabetes medication) can cause sudden and unexpected mood swings. This allows exposure to a specific person or location.
Mood Booster : Consider whether physiological issues or environmental factors (such as picking up a child from your previous home) might affect your mood, David advises, and whether you pay attention to your body. “Slowly look at the pattern of mood swings and see if you can see the difficulties you’ve been through,” says David. Pay attention to emotions, habits, and interactions with people or places. Once you understand what’s driving you, you can adjust your direction – for example, by improving your sleep habits, reducing your caffeine consumption, or setting limits for difficult people. “Don’t give up or throw away your emotional experiences,” says David. Be curious about them so you can calm them down and feel better about themselves.
Feelings of fear and anxiety do not always resolve on their own. It’s important to seek professional care if anxiety makes it impossible for you to get through your day – a licensed therapist or psychiatrist can help with any symptoms.