A bad mood can be a pretty difficult thing to shake off. Oftentimes we have no idea how we ended up in such a miserable pickle, and how to snap out of it.
Bad moods have a horrible habit of lingering around, making us feel uneasy, stressed, cynical and angry at the world.
Sometimes a bad mood can hang around for days, affecting our work, sleep and relationships. The more we vent our frustrations and project our moans onto friends and family, the deeper the mood seems to manifest itself and drag us down.
Luckily a bad mood isn’t an illness, and most of us experience one every couple of weeks. Usually they are caused by a blend of negative triggers such as a heavy workload, being overtired, bored, worried and in general being led astray by the monkey mind that jumps from thought to thought provoking our fears, anxieties and grumbles at life’s unfair shenanigans.
The good news is that I’ve got a host of easy, holistic cures designed to help you find a sanctuary of mental and renewed harmony with the world. So next time a bad mood knocks you out of sync and narrows your field of vision, try one or more of these simple actions.
1. Walk it off
Simple but incredibly powerful, exercise is a proven way to release stress and get those endorphins flowing. But this type of walk is about more than just exercise. Going outside and reconnecting with the earth is a spiritual action that will dissolve negativity in mind and body. The idea is to keep walking until the bad mood walks itself away. Don’t do anything except walk and notice the world. Keep a steady pace and embrace the weather, be it rain or shine: Feel the wind in your face, the sun on your skin or the cold snapping at your ears. Get out there and let your “primal self” roam.
2. Create a personal bad mood mantra
Mantras are a powerful way to re-centre the mind and can be as short as one word or as long as a few sentences. As soon as you feel the tentacles of a bad mood poking at your mind, simply recite your mantra, either out loud or internally, to beat back the negativity. I like to use very simple, empowering mantras that act as touch points to take me out of the moment and enable me to see the triviality of my mind-set. For example, when I feel myself getting stressed, I repeat, “Be spacious, be spacious”. Develop a couple of mantras of your own to help combat bad moods and general feelings of negativity.
3. Stretch your hamstrings
It sounds strange, but when was the last time you did this? I bet it has been a good while. The hamstrings take a lot of stress from you being on your feet all day, and also get very stiff if you don’t do much exercise. Stretching them out releases tension in the legs, stomach and lower back, which subsequently releases tension right up into your neck and head. Try it now. Even if you can’t touch your toes, jump on YouTube for some basic hamstring stretches and see how great you feel afterwards. Those who do Yoga or Pilates will know exactly what I am talking about here.
4. Sit outside on your favourite step
Got a favourite step, tree, or wall? Well go sit on it a while. Watching the world go by is a beautiful activity wherever it takes place, but is best done outside in the company of Mother Nature. Having an energy exchange with her ladyship will help you rebalance and recalibrate. But whatever you do, leave your phone indoors!
5. Do some gentle neck rolls
Did you know that your neck bones are connected to much more than the neck? Much of the tension and pain you have in your head and shoulders is related to stiffness in the neck, so when you loosen up your neck muscles, everything else in your body gets looser along with it. You’ll also improve glandular function for the thyroid, pineal and pituitary glands, which in turn will stimulate an increase in mental clarity and alertness that helps you snap out of that haze hovering over your head and contributing to your bad mood. Start by dipping your chin towards your chest and then rolling your head around 360 degrees in a slow and controlled motion. If you hear some clicking and grinding, that’s a sign that a neck stretch is long overdue.
6. Take a nap
I’m willing to bet that ninety per cent of the time you get in a bad mood, you know, all stressy and shouty with others, is because you’re over tired. So don’t fight it, be kind to yourself and take a nap. The more you ignore the desperate calls of your eyelids the more miserable you will become. Your mind and body are crying out for some relaxation, so find a quiet place, close the curtains and rest for at least 30 minutes. A nap improves alertness and general bodily performance without leaving you feeling groggy or interfering with night time sleep. And best of all, you’ll feel all the more positive and happy for it.
7. Exit the digital highway
Even when we are not looking at our phones, often we are subconsciously anticipating a notification, be it an email, tweet, Whatsapp message or a call. This constant attachment to our digital companion stops us properly relaxing and being completely engaged with whatever it is we are doing. The same goes for having the TV on in the background while you are at home, or the laptop lid open or iPad on standby on the coffee table. Try breaking this constant connection and steer your mind away from the digital highway for a while. Switch everything off. Eliminate the digital noise, close your eyes and meditate a while.
8. Read a good book
Now there’s a revolutionary idea! And something we seldom get to do in our busy, fast-paced lives. Think back to when you were a child and your parents would read you stories, or those books you read as a teenager. It was magical, right? A good book is a passage to another world. Reading is a positive form of escapism and release that takes you out of your mood and into a new, alternative moment.
9. Commit a spontaneous act of kindness
If you feel tense and moody, a fast-acting cure is to simply do something kind for someone else. Do something spontaneous like helping an old person across the road, giving some clothes to a charity shop or donating your time to help someone in need. Whatever comes to mind, just do it. Leave your moody self behind and step into a selfless moment of kindness and compassion. The feel good factor you’ll get from helping someone in need will give you a free, healthy dose of happiness.
10. Be grateful
Bad moods are usually pretty selfish endeavours. We find ourselves like a bull in a china shop, hot-headed and destructive. But if we simply stop everything, sit down (and do one of the above) and make a list of all the wonderful things we have in our lives, we soon see that we should be pretty darn grateful and stop being such a party pooper. Seen in this way, bad moods are a positive way of finding our way back to the true reality of things; a pathway back to mental peace and contentment.