5 Tip for Handling a Bad Mood

5 Tips for Handling a Bad Mood

Five suggestions for how to skillfully handle a bad mood
4
Share
email
Two weeks ago, I was in a bad mood—a mood so bad that it qualified for what we (un)affectionately refer to in our household as a foul mood. A bunch of little irritations had added up: some yarn I wanted was two weeks overdue in the mail; I couldn’t find a book I was looking for; the pull cord on one of my bedroom shades was hopelessly tangled. (I’ll spare you the rest.)

I don’t get in bad moods very often, but it happens and, to be frank, it feels awful. (A bad mood is to be distinguished from a heavy or dark mood that goes unchanged for weeks at a time. The latter could be a sign of clinical depression in which case I hope you'll seriously consider seeking the advice of a counselor.) 

Here are five suggestions for skillfully handling a bad mood:

Make an effort not to inflict your mood on others.

I try hard not to inflict a bad mood on those around me (usually my husband). And, when I slip up, I push myself to apologize even if I don’t feel like it. Not only is an apology a nice gesture toward another, but I’ve notice it can lessen the intensity of a bad mood. I think it’s because, when you apologize, you’re forced to reach out to another person and that takes you out of your self-focused mind set.

Cut yourself some slack.

I’ve yet to spend time with anyone who hasn’t been in a bad mood now and then. In a May, 2010 interview with Time Magazine, the Dalai Lama said that he still gets angry; I assume this means that he still can get in a bad mood. Many years ago, I had a Buddhist teacher who was wise and insightful…and subject to bad moods. I never knew what mood I’d encounter when I met with him.

The take away from these two examples is this: if these two people can be in a bad mood, feel free to cut yourself some slack when it happens to you! Adding a negative judgment to your mood, such as “I shouldn’t feel this way” does nothing but increase the likelihood that a bad mood will turn into a foul one. So, instead of blaming yourself, let it be okay with you to be in a bad mood now and then. It’s just one of the full range of emotions that everyone experiences in life.

When it happens, treat yourself with understanding and kindness, and see if there’s a way to ease how bad you’re feeling. A temporary distraction can help, such as a favorite movie or a warm bath.

Investigate it.

In How to Wake Up, I offer a four-step approach for working skillfully with an unpleasant mood or emotion. The third step is to investigate it. Sometimes this can yield surprisingly fruitful results. The day before this past Christmas, I was in a bad mood. My husband seemed quite cheerful, so I resolved not to inflict it on him. Instead, I decided to investigate why I was in such a funk.

I know that I can be a bit sad at times during the holidays, but I don’t recall ever being in such a bad mood right before Christmas—so cranky and irritable. Using investigation to think about my life, I uncovered a negative association I have with Christmas. I realized that, for me, it’s associated with loss—one loss after another.

When I was ten years old, my father died just before Christmas. I felt his absence every Christmas after that until I met my husband and began to spend Christmas with his family. My father-in-law, Huey, took the place of my dad. They were both kind, gentle, and good-natured men. I even remember telling my husband that Huey had become my Santa Claus because they both embodied good will and the cheerful spirit of Christmas. Then Huey died when I was 37, and Christmas lost its luster again.

I took refuge in the traditions we’d developed with our own children, but when they grew up and started families of their own, they started their own traditions. We know we’re welcome to join them (my daughter at her house in Los Angeles and my son at his in-laws near San Diego), but I’m too sick to travel. Another loss associated with the holidays.

This reflective investigation led me to see that this mild sadness I tend to feel when the holidays roll around had turned into a bad mood this year simply because of the cumulative effect of all those losses. As soon as I realized that I associate Christmas with loss, my bad mood turned into a blue mood—a familiar sadness that softened my heart and made it possible for compassion to arise over how hard this time of year can be for me.

When I compassionately accepted those losses as part of my life story, the blue mood eventually lifted, and I was able to make the best of the Christmas that lay before me.

Put your mood in perspective and consider reaching out to someone in need.

Yes, my mom was one of those parents who said: “Eat your food; there are children starving in China.” I consider it admirable that I never imposed this on my own children as they were trying to enjoy a meal. That said, thinking about how insignificant a bad mood is compared to the suffering in the world can put that mood into perspective. Imagine trying to raise your children in Syria right now, never knowing when explosives may hit your house. Imagine being a refuge, living in a tent city due to warfare or a natural disaster.

Putting a bad mood into perspective can not only make it less intense, but can inspire you to reach out to someone in need. Helping others is another skillful way to lessen the intensity of a bad mood. It works. I know, because I’ve tried it. The trick, of course, is remembering to try it. Practice helps; with practice, reaching out to others can become a habit.

Let it be until it runs its course.

I used to worry that a bad mood was the sign of a “new me”—that it was here to stay. But no bad mood has ever taken up permanent residence in my mind. This is because a mood is a mental state that arises due to causes and conditions of the moment, and those causes and conditions will change (that yarn I was waiting for did, indeed, arrive). Realizing the fleeting nature of a bad mood can help you hold it more lightly until it runs its course and passes out of your mind.

In my book, I call this “letting it be,” and it’s the last step in that four-step approach to working skillfully with a painful mood or emotion. A bad mood is only a temporary visitor. It’s no big deal. When it happens, let it be without aversion, and try the suggestions in this piece:

Make an effort not to inflict your mood on others;

Cut yourself some slack;

See whether investigation sheds light on its cause;

Put your mood in perspective and consider reaching out to someone in need;

Let it be until it runs its course, knowing that it’s not a permanent part of who you are.

© 2014 Toni Bernhard www.tonibernhard.com

E-mail me when people leave their comments –

You need to be a member of HEALING INTUITION MASSAGE THERAPY CLINIC to add comments!

Comments

  • Building a Business on purpose, takes lot of planning, lots of energy and lots of focus. Most importantly, you must be willing to persevere... no matter what comes your way. Adversity seems to attach itself to every business with a purpose; however, you must stay focused and stay the course. trend gujarat

    Top Gujarati Folk Singer Ever!
    Introduction Gujarati Folk Singer: When we came to hear the great singing by two singers from Gujarat Nikita and Vijal and came to know their stories…
  • Small and mid-sized businesses don't understand what identity theft can do to their business until it is too late. These thieves can gain access to key accounts and drain them, many times, before the bank is aware of the act. The cost of can be enormous and can shut a business down. There are three key steps every business must take to protect against this kind of crime. Criminals act quickly, so, a business must work hard to implement these key steps to protect its money, image and future. https://reviewlady.com/

    ReviewLady - Most Popular Website for Indian Movies Review and Ratings.
    Most Popular Website for Indian Movies Review and Ratings.
  • An online business directory is a website submission service that allows your small business's website to be added to a specific category where it can be searched for by interested visitors. These searchable online directories allow their visitors to search for websites and businesses that they find interesting or that they want to learn more about. Listing your small business on an online directory increases your website's visibility on the web and helps to create inbound links to your business' website. Online directories make it easy for people to find what they are looking for. All they have to do is jump online, which means that people could find your business' website from their home, office or even while traveling. review lady

    ReviewLady - Most Popular Website for Indian Movies Review and Ratings.
    Most Popular Website for Indian Movies Review and Ratings.
  • If you want to start a business from scratch and are lacking experience in that specific industry then this article is for you to read. Find out the most comprehensive details about starting a fresh business without any experience at all. Royal Beach Casino

    The Royal Beach Casino – Complete Guide
    Royal Beach Casino: It’s been a couple of years since I last visited The St. Kitts Marriott Resort and The Royal Beach Casino, but I love it so much.…
  • When your business has grown to multiple 6-7-figures, it will require that you begin to step into a CEO and Visionary role to lead your business to higher levels of growth. The business now has a life of its own and if you stay in the doing role too long, you will lose control of your vision. OMAD

    OMAD Diet – Do The One Meal A Day Diet
    OMAD Diet: Intermittent fasting to boost performance and weight loss is skyrocketing in popularity, as modern research uncovers the benefits behind...
  • Building a business requires considerable time and effort, and how do you maintain your business legacy? Read on to learn how you can help protect your business in the future through business succession planning NPO Medical Abbreviation

    Future Health Life - Trends
    Trends
  • As a physician executive of a medical "business" or "enterprise", in many cases, you are not only the "doc" that treats patients, but you are also the executive leadership team of one. Business Intelligence (BI) is comprised of data that helps you to plan strategies and make fact-based decisions and business analyses to run the business and make it thrive. This article will give you some examples and provide inspiration on what to do with the data you already have but may not be using to its fullest potential Things To Do In Copenhagen

    Top General Online -
  • Building a successful business takes years of effort and attention. Having expended plenty of blood, sweat and tears over that time, business owners want to maximize their value when selling. Here are some of the major issues business owners should consider before, during and after a sale to secure the best value for their hard work. Specific Volume

    The General Info - Everything Is Here
    Everything Is Here
  • Building a Business on purpose, takes lot of planning, lots of energy and lots of focus. Most importantly, you must be willing to persevere... no matter what comes your way. Adversity seems to attach itself to every business with a purpose; however, you must stay focused and stay the course. Ghent Belgium

    Ghent Belgium Travel
    Ghent Belgium: Despite being one of Belgium's oldest cities, Ghent remains small enough to feel cosy but big enough to be a vibrant...
  • Small and mid-sized businesses don't understand what identity theft can do to their business until it is too late. These thieves can gain access to key accounts and drain them, many times, before the bank is aware of the act. The cost of can be enormous and can shut a business down. There are three key steps every business must take to protect against this kind of crime. Criminals act quickly, so, a business must work hard to implement these key steps to protect its money, image and future. Real Estate Investors Credibility Kit

    The Real Estate Investors Credibility Kit
    Real Estate Investors Credibility Kit: The first reaction to most people when you tell them that you are a real estate investor is to look at you wit…
This reply was deleted.