Everyone experiences ups and downs in their moods occasionally. You might be feeling calm and content one minute, and then something happens that suddenly puts you in an irritated, sad or anxious mood. While occasional moodiness is normal, frequent and intense mood swings can negatively impact relationships, work performance and overall wellbeing. When you get trapped in a mood swing spiral, it is possible to regain emotional equilibrium. With some self-awareness and helpful techniques, you can learn to effectively “snap out” of mood fluctuations and restore a stable, positive outlook.
Catch It Early
The sooner you realize your mood has taken a dip, the quicker you can intervene. Here are some signs to look out for:
- Set reminders on your phone to periodically check in on your mood throughout the day.
- Recognize physical signals like tensed muscles, changes in appetite or sleep patterns.
- Notice thought patterns shifting to the negative, like interpreting neutral things as offensive.
- Pay attention if others ask if you’re okay or seem concerned about your demeanor.
Pinpoint the Trigger
Take a moment to reflect on what may have first sparked the mood change. Was it:
- Hunger, fatigue, high stress levels, coming down with an illness?
- A disagreement with your significant other, friend or coworker?
- Premenstrual hormonal changes?
- A sudden unhappy memory that popped into your head?
- A nearby irritant like a loud noise or cluttered environment?
Figuring out what initially flipped your mood can provide helpful clues on how to address the root cause.
Use Relaxation Techniques
When you find your mood spiraling, quickly apply relaxation techniques to calm down your body and mind:
- Take 5 minutes for slow, deep breathing exercises.
- Step outside for a brief, brisk walk to get fresh air.
- Listen to soothing nature sounds or peaceful music.
- Do gentle stretching or light yoga poses.
- Splash cool water on your face.
- Pet or cuddle an animal friend who makes you happy.
- Sit quietly and observe sensory details around you like sights, sounds and textures.
Relaxation puts the brakes on a downward mood spiral and clears your head.
Challenge Negative Thoughts
Low moods often cause distorted, overly negative thinking patterns. Counteract this by:
- Writing down the automatic negative thoughts that arise.
- Imagining what advice you’d give a friend who had those thoughts in a similar situation.
- Intentionally looking for objective evidence that contradicts the negative thoughts.
- Consciously replacing negative self-talk with kind, rational messages.
Adjust Your Environment
Discomfort or irritation from your surroundings can worsen moodiness. Make small changes like:
- Heading to a quieter spot if the room is too noisy or chaotic.
- Dimming harsh overhead lights that suddenly seem too bright.
- Opening windows or stepping outside for some fresh air.
- Decluttering a bit if a messy space feels agitating.
- Moving to a different room if certain people are inadvertently aggravating your mood.
Talk It Out
Venting your feelings to a trusted, supportive friend or writing them down in a journal can provide emotional relief.
Engage in some kind of physical activity like taking a walk, climbing stairs, shooting hoops. Exercise releases mood-boosting endorphins.
Listen to Uplifting Music
Pick songs with a fast tempo or positive lyrics to help shift your emotional state out of the slump.
Remember It Will Pass
Mood swings are temporary if you don’t feed into them. Remind yourself this low mood will pass soon.
Use Healthy Distraction
Get fully absorbed in an activity you enjoy like reading, puzzles, crafting, gaming. This interrupts negative thought patterns.
Watch Funny Videos
Laughter releases feel-good hormones like dopamine and serotonin to naturally elevate your mood.
Treat Yourself Kindly
Go easy on yourself. Don’t dwell on mistakes or criticize yourself for having normal mood downswings.
While snapped-out mood changes won’t always happen instantly, with self-awareness and tools to self-correct, you can rebound back to emotional balance fairly quickly rather than staying stuck in a negative cycle. Pay attention to your personal mood triggers and have go-to techniques ready to help stabilize your mood when needed.