7 Ways to Shake a Bad Mood Instantly

Anyone can get stuck in a bad mood—but you don't have to stay there! Use these tips to get back on track.

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- Posted on Oct 4, 2017

smiling woman stands by the window against a brick wall

Woke up on the wrong side of the bed today? Sometimes a bad mood creeps in out of nowhere. Other days, work, family and world events can be so overwhelming it feels like optimism and joy are far out of reach.

You’re not alone. Bad moods can get the best of any of us from time to time. Thankfully, there are easy ways you can change your mood.

Here are seven easy tips to get into a better mood.

1) Replace negative thoughts with positive ones

We can make our situations worse by dwelling on negative thoughts. When these thoughts come creeping in, stop them immediately by replacing a negative thought with a positive thought. “It’s never going to get any better,” becomes “It won’t be this way forever.” “Bad things always happen to me,” becomes “What lesson can I learn from this situation?” “I wasted the whole day,” becomes “I still have 5 more hours left to make today a great day!”

2) Find a happy place

Once you realize you’re in a mood you need to shake, start by going to your happy place. If you’re able, get out into nature and breathe the fresh air. If not, keep a photo on your phone or computer of a beautiful, favorite place and take a moment to imagine yourself there. What’s the weather like? What does the air smell like? What are you doing while you’re there? How does being there make you feel? You’ll instantly feel calmer, lost in the daydream or the memory of your happy place.  

3) Pick up a coloring book

Yes, coloring books are good for adults too! A 2005 study found that when subjects colored mandalas—intricate geometric patterns, as opposed to simple doodling—their anxiety levels dropped significantly. Like meditating, coloring helps adults focus on the present and clear your mind. So grab your kids' pack of Crayola and go to town on an adult coloring book.

4) Get some exercise

Exercise releases endorphins, which help you feel energized and happier. It also increases your chances of a creating a healthier and steady sleeping pattern—a necessary part of maintaining a good mood. Make sure you take some time to exercise regularly, depending on your physical ability. If you’re able, take some time to go for a walk outside or hit the gym. If exercising regularly isn’t possible for you, a new study shows a hot bath can have similar results to hitting the gym.

5) Practice self-care

Whether it is going for a coffee at your favorite café, enjoying a bath, or catching a movie in the theatre or on Netflix, make sure that once a week you schedule some “me” time. Decompress and recharge your mind, body and spirit. That may mean waking up even earlier, going to bed even later, or getting less done for other people during the day, but you deserve to take a mental break, regularly. So prioritize the time you need to recharge.

6) Spend time with animals

A 2001 study found that pet ownership helped people with high blood pressure decrease their levels of stress. Take some time to play with or cuddle your pet or a neighbor’s. You can also visit and volunteer at your local animal shelter to get some time with a pet that's sure to boost your mood.

7) Practice gratitude

When you feel a negative attitude taking over, shake it off by listing 5 things you’re grateful for. Whether it’s the rare bit of easy traffic on your way to work or the break in the weather, you won’t have time to harp on the negative things because you’re so busy being grateful.  

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