Much as we all would like to be cheerful, perky and energetic all the time, every so often we find ourselves in a really lousy mood. We don’t feel like doing anything, although the thought of smashing something has occurred. We are apt to bite the head off of anyone foolish enough to come near us while this black cloud is over our head. What can we do to get out of a bad mood?
First, we should not beat ourselves up by feeling bad about feeling bad. Not surprisingly, this second order feeling will make us feel worse. Even more so is attempting to ‘self-medicate’ by over indulging in a bit too much alcohol or a carton of ice cream. Those routes lead to the bad reaction scenario when well-meaning friends or family tell us to cheer up and get on with it. We could try many of the available self help tricks, which can work, but when we are really feeling down, we often cannot get it together to do those rational, positive things.
Let me be clear here. I am talking about a temporary mood. If you have been feeling down and unable to do much for days or weeks, that could indicate a more serious condition and it is time to seek medical help. But if that negative angst can be measured in minutes or hours, here is a win/win solution that always works for me.
Since I am already feeling yucky, I take advantage of the mood to do some necessary, but miserable task that I don’t want to do. For me, handling the administration of my office and keeping my files up-to-date are two such tasks, but in any case, there is no end to the list of unappealing chores that can be tackled when you are not feeling chipper. Maybe you love Pilates, but hate doing cardio. Go for a brisk walk or a run. Or, you love to run, but don’t do strength work. Pick up some weights. Maybe your home needs cleaning – even the bathroom. Spruce it up.
If you are a kitchen-phobe, now is the time to turn whatever is in your fridge into healthy salads or other dishes. Nothing in the fridge? Head to the super market and buy the makings for healthy meals. Be careful to avoid treats or junk foods. Remember, we are wallowing constructively in our misery here.
Is there a pile of unpaid bills or a closet or drawer you are afraid to open? Our work environments and our homes can offer many opportunities to make good use of the times we feel grim. If we think about it, there is no end of tasks that are so nasty we even avoid putting them on our to-do lists. These are the ones that a bad mood can help us clean up.
However, there is one caution. If at all possible, choose jobs that you can do alone. Bad moods can make us short tempered, angry and thoughtless. It is easy to take all these bad feelings out on anyone who is around us. Solitude is the preferred option lest we say or do something everyone will regret later. If you can’t avoid being around people, at work for example, minimize contact and conversation.
Moods do change. They are usually over in hours or less, which is probably a smaller amount of time than it took you to put that annoying task behind you. You are now feeling much better than if you had tried to treat your mood with empty calories. Even more, you may have done a work out, cleaned-up, or filled your fridge with homemade alternatives to take-out the next time hunger strikes. You can take whatever chore you tackled off your list.
You did that. You can do anything.