Being in a bad mood is a natural part of the rollercoaster of a human experience.
However, when you have those feelings of anger, sadness, hurt or irritability it can feel like you’re in the middle of a storm.
Well, you are. You’re actually in the middle of a thought storm.
Your thinking, at that moment, is like a low-pressure front moving across a weather map. You can’t do anything to control it, but you can manage your reaction. You also need to remember, that like all weather storms it will pass and fresh weather will be along shortly.
So how can you cope with those turbulent feelings of a bad mood?
Separate yourself from those inner voices. If you look back to when your mood changed, you’ll probably realise that it was when your thoughts started telling you negative things about what was happening. So it’s not just the circumstances that are causing your bad mood, but the story your inner voice is telling you about them. If you can, separate yourself from those thoughts by ignoring them, not engaging with them and not believing them. Then the feelings they cause will dampen down.
Try not to take it personally. If your bad mood is the result of someone else’s behaviour or words. Then try to take yourself out of the situation and think about how the other person must be struggling. For them to be behaving this way, their thinking must be very stormy and uncomfortable. If you can respond to them neutrally or with compassion, it will help your mood.
Slow down. A bad mood is generally very energetic, your mind is whirling and overthinking. Slowing down will help you to see any problems with more clarity. You could try breathing exercises, Mindfulness or Meditation to help.
Exercise. It’s common knowledge, that regular exercise releases endorphins, which boost your mood. But, you don’t have to be a gym bunny, any form of gentle exercise will help.
Do something you enjoy. This sounds obvious, but a lot of people when they’re in a bad mood will sit and stew on it. Instead watch a nature programme, phone a friend etc. Even if you don’t think it’ll help, once you’ve started, you’ll probably notice the bad thoughts have passed.
Before writing this blog I was feeling irritable about not achieving much today. It wasn’t until I was nearly finished that I even realised that those feelings had gone.
Don’t sit and analyse and feed your bad mood, get on with life, until the storm has passed.
‘10 Things You Like About Yourself’ is an exercise I use with some clients to develop a positive self-perception and build their self-esteem.
It sounds very simple however it’s more about the process they go through to make the list, than the exact words they use.
One client of mine, Jane (she gave her permission for this) found the exercise incredibly difficult. She struggled to find any positive words about herself, despite easily being able to list her negatives.
I suggested she asked her family, friends and colleagues at work for 3 positive words about her character. She bravely took that step out of her comfort zone. Using me as her reason, she was empowered to get answers from all the people she requested.
Initially she was quite dismissive of the words they gave her. “They’re just being kind” or “they don’t know me very well“.
However when she began to see a pattern in the words used ‘kind, caring, loyal, organised…..’ she started to believe and accept them. This has led to a real change in how she sees herself and her value.
It’s amazing that such a simple exercise can have such powerful outcomes. However it’s also sad that many women don’t actually recognise or celebrate their positive qualities.
How easy would you find this exercise?
How often do you say something positive about yourself to another person?
I’m not suggesting you have to continually blow your own trumpet, just a passing remark is enough to boost your own confidence. Such as “that was a really difficult meeting, but I think I handled it well” to a colleague. Or “I’m really pleased with how my daughters party went, all the organisation I did was worth it” to a friend.
It will probably feel uncomfortable initially, but keep practising as it’s such a powerful message to your self-esteem and confidence that you value yourself.
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Thanks and good luck.