Mood is a funny thing. It’s something that we all experience. Sometimes it can be hard to understand and manage. The good news is there are ways to improve your mood. Yep, even if you don’t feel like doing so. Here are nine simple yet effective tips for managing your mood:
1. Name what you’re feeling
The first step in improving your mood is giving your feeling a name. Are you feeling angry? stressed? tired? Naming how you feel brings more focus and clarity.
If you are struggling to name what you’re feeling, a feelings (or emotions) wheel may be a helpful tool.
2. Be aware of the triggers
Once you know which emotion(s) you’re dealing with, try to determine its cause (trigger). This means knowing when you’re feeling down or anxious, and why. Are you stressed about work? Is it because of an argument with someone at home? Do you have too much on your plate? Knowing the reasons behind your mood will help you figure out how to change things.
3. Take care of yourself
When you’re not taking good care of yourself, it’s easy to feel guilty. Taking good care of yourself is as important as anything else. Get plenty of rest, eat healthily, exercise regularly, and take some time off for yourself. Taking these simple steps will help you cope with any negative emotions more effectively.
4. Refocus on the positive
When you’re feeling down, it’s normal to focus on the negative things. You might think about everything that could possibly go wrong, or you may focus on past mistakes. Instead, focus on the positive aspects of your situation. Reflect on your recent achievements, or consider what you plan to achieve in the future. Being positive will help lift your mood, and give you energy for whatever comes next.
5. Learn to breathe
Breathing exercises are one of the best ways to learn how to breathe better. They teach you how to control your breathing, and they can help you relax. There are many different types of breathing exercises, including diaphragmatic breathing, abdominal breathing, and slow deep breaths.
6. Get moving
If you’re feeling sluggish or tired, there’s a good chance you aren’t getting enough exercise. Exercise is great for keeping your body healthy and helping boost your mood. You don’t need expensive gym memberships. A short walk around the block has been known to improve one’s mood.
7. Listen to music
When you’re dealing with negative feelings, turning to music can be a great source of relaxation and healing. Try creating a playlist of songs that reflect how you want to feel, not how you currently feel. If you’re angry, create a playlist full of soothing songs. If you’re feeling down, a playlist of upbeat, happy or empowering songs can work wonders.
Not into creating playlists? A quick internet search can uncover playlists others have created that you can listen to instead.
Once you have a playlist, listen to it anytime you need to shift your mood towards positive emotions.
8. Start a mood journal
Mood (emotional) journaling is keeping a written record of your emotions, feelings, and thoughts. Self-reflection and insight are two important aspects of using mood journals. Writing things down is a powerful, therapeutic way to get what’s in your head on paper. Mood journaling can also be used by people experiencing depression and anxiety to identify emotional triggers and responses.
9. Find support
If you’re struggling with depression or anxiety and need someone to talk to, it’s important to find people who will listen. Reach out and confide how you are feeling with someone you trust.
Sometimes talking to people who don’t know you well is easier than talking to people you already know. You can connect with people who share similar experiences or get access to mental health resources from websites like: https://www.nami.org/Get-Involved/Awareness-Events/Mental-Health-Awareness-Month
Emotions are a part of life. In their own way, they remind us that we are living, breathing, imperfect beings. Whether emotions are positive or negative, they are also very personal. Our experiences with feelings is different. As hard as we may try to manage our moods, sometimes it just isn’t possible in the moment. Show yourself grace. It’s okay not to be okay all the time. Give yourself permission to feel what you feel in the moment. Then, reflect on and learn from the experience. Use what you learn about the moment and yourself as a step forward in your personal growth.