The Best Ways to Change Your Bad Mood

We all have bad moods from time to time. A bad mood can ruin your whole day and make it difficult to be productive or enjoy yourself. While some bad moods naturally pass with time, there are also proactive steps you can take to improve your mood when you’re feeling down. With some self-awareness and a few simple strategies, you can learn how to pull yourself out of a funk.

Be Aware of Your Mood

The first step to changing your bad mood is realizing you’re in one. We don’t always notice when our mood turns sour. Pay attention to your emotional state throughout the day. Recognize when you start to feel more irritable, anxious, sad, or lonely. The sooner you realize you’re in a bad mood, the quicker you can try to improve it.

Identify Potential Causes

Once you’re aware of your bad mood, spend some time thinking about what could be contributing to it. Are you stressed about something going on at work or in your personal life? Did you get some bad news or have an argument with someone? Is your bad mood related to tiredness, low blood sugar, or hormonal changes? Figuring out the source of your bad mood can provide insight into the best ways to address it.

Get Moving

Physical activity is one of the most effective and immediate ways to improve your bad mood. Exercise releases endorphins which boost your mood. Going for a brisk walk, run, bike ride, or visiting the gym for a strength training session can all help. Even just getting up and stretching for a few minutes can give you an energy and mood boost. Getting your body moving will stimulate your mind.

Fuel Up

Hunger and poor nutrition often play a role in bad moods. When your brain and body aren’t properly fueled, your entire system suffers. Be sure to eat regular, balanced meals and stay hydrated. Choose nutritious whole foods over empty calories from sugars and fried fare. Getting adequate protein, healthy fats, complex carbs, and vitamins and minerals will nourish your system. Avoid skipping meals which can lead to crashes later.

Get Some Fresh Air

Spending too much time cooped up indoors can worsen your mood. Get outside for some fresh air and sunshine which will lift your spirits. Go for a nature walk, sit in your backyard, stroll through a park, or even just step outside your office building briefly. Sunlight exposure and breathing fresh outdoor air has a restorative effect. Being amongst nature is calming.

Listen to Uplifting Music

Music has an instant effect on your mood. Choose songs with a positive, upbeat vibe to boost your spirits. Create playlists you can listen to anytime you need a quick mood pick-me-up. Singing along to your favorite feel-good tunes will lighten your mood. Avoid listening to sad songs which can drag you down further. Surround yourself with uplifting melodies.

Engage Your Senses

Engaging your senses is an instant way to interrupt a bad mood. Splash some cold water on your face or take a refreshing shower. Sip a warm cup of tea. Enjoy aromatic scents like essential oils. Cuddle a pet or give yourself a hand massage. Indulge in a small piece of chocolate. Engaging your senses distracts your mind and stimulates feel-good endorphins.

Laugh It Off

Laughter truly is the best medicine for a bad mood. Watch a funny video, play with a silly child, or call a friend who can always make you laugh. Read amusing comics or funny stories. Share jokes and make light of your grumpy mood. Laughter helps release tension and triggers the production of mood-lifting hormones. Even forcing yourself to smile can provide an immediate mood boost.

Be With Positive People

Surround yourself with positive people who lift your mood rather than drag it down further. Avoid people exhibiting anger, drama, pessimism, or anxiety as these can be contagious. Seek out family, friends, co-workers, or neighbors with upbeat energizing personalities. Their positivity can be infectious. Positive social interaction increases feel-good oxytocin.

Do Something Nice

Shift your focus off your own bad mood by doing something nice for someone else. Perform a random act of kindness like paying for a stranger’s coffee or helping a neighbor with their groceries. Surprise someone by sending flowers or dropping off cookies at their home. Do a good deed that makes you feel worthwhile. Helping others generates happiness hormones like serotonin and dopamine.

Get Some Sunshine

If you’re stuck in a bad mood rut, get more sunshine. Serotonin, the “feel-good” hormone, is stimulated by sunlight. Sitting in the sun for 15 minutes can boost your mood. Position yourself near windows at home and work to let more light in. Walk or exercise outdoors. On gray days use sun lamps or light therapy boxes. Getting adequate sunshine improves your entire outlook.

Take a Quick Nap

Fatigue, restless sleep, and sleep deprivation can all send your mood plummeting. Take a quick 15-20 minute power nap to refresh your mind and energize your body. Find a comfortable, quiet spot and set an alarm so you don’t oversleep. Even just resting your eyes for a few minutes can recharge your system. Taking a strategic catnap prevents you from getting overtired.

Relax and Breathe Deeply

Slow, deep breathing instantly triggers your relaxation response. When you’re in a bad mood, take long full breaths from your diaphragm. Inhale slowly through your nose, hold briefly, and exhale out your mouth. Repeat this breathing exercise for a few minutes until you feel your tension start to release. Deep breathing lowers stress hormones that contribute to bad moods.

Take a Break

Sometimes you just need a brief timeout from whatever is contributing to your bad mood, whether it’s work, family life, or your current environment. Take a short walk, sit quietly, or engage in an enjoyable distraction like reading a book or listening to a podcast. Stepping away can give you a new perspective. Even a few minutes of solitude can improve your mindset.

Get Creative

Engaging in a creative, artistic outlet can improve your mood. Paint, sketch, doodle, or create a craft. Cook or bake something from scratch. Write in a journal, pen poetry, or work on a story. Sing, play an instrument, or compose music. Using your creativity activates your brain’s reward center, leaving you feeling happier.

Minimize Social Media

Too much time scrolling social media often worsens bad moods. Mindless browsing highlights comparisons, fear of missing out, and negative news. Limit your social media use to avoid this downward spiral. Take social media breaks and put your phone in another room to avoid the temptation. Stay present and engaged in the real world around you.

Pamper Yourself

Do something indulgent and decadent just for you. Take a luxurious bubble bath, give yourself a facial mask, or splurge on a special treat like a massage. Curl up in cozy blankets with a novel and cup of tea. Listen to calming spa music. Light scented candles. Book a hair or nail appointment. A little self-pampering goes a long way.

Speak Kindly to Yourself

The way you talk to yourself impacts your mood. Notice any negative self-talk such as, “I’m such an idiot” or “Nothing ever works out for me.” Challenge unhelpful thoughts. Instead say things like, “I’m doing my best” or “This mood will pass.” Be patient, compassionate, and encouraging with yourself. Changing negative scripts to positive ones improves your mindset.

Laugh at Yourself

When you’re taking things too seriously, learn to laugh at yourself and the situation. Look for humor in whatever is bothering you. A silly perspective shift can make your bad mood seem less dire. We all make mistakes and experience pitfalls. Being able to chuckle at yourself prevents you from worsening your bad mood. Lighten up.

Listen to Guided Meditations

For an almost instant mood booster, listen to a positive guided meditation. Meditating reduces stress hormones while increasing calming alpha brainwaves. When you’re in a bad mood, don’t try to empty your mind. Instead, opt for a focused meditation with uplifting imagery and peaceful music. There are many free meditations online to lift your spirits.

Get a Change of Scenery

If your bad mood seems tied to your current environment, get a change of scenery. Take a day trip or weekend getaway if possible. Flee your normal routine for a bit. Even a short drive to a nearby town can help. New sights and experiences stimulate feel-good dopamine. Exploring somewhere fresh allows you to break out of your funk.

Declutter Your Space

Clutter contributes to chaos which breeds bad moods. Declutter your home, office, car, or workspace. Toss or donate unused items. Organize your belongings. Deep clean your living space. Schedule repairs. Streamline and create order in your environment. Feeling surrounded by cleanliness and order promotes inner calm and mental clarity.

Practice Positive Visualization

Use your imagination to picture positive scenes and images. Visualize yourself accomplishing your goals, going on a dream vacation, or excelling in an area of your life. Picture people you love smiling and happy. Mentally transport yourself to a peaceful setting like a beach or forest. Focus your mind on positive mental pictures, not your current bad mood.

Stop Comparing Yourself

The tendency to compare yourself against others often fuels bad moods. Remember that what you see on social media are carefully cultivated highlights, not real life. You are unique – don’t measure your worth by someone else’s yardstick. Focus on your own growth and goals. Each person is on their own journey. Your path belongs to you.

Challenge Catastrophic Thinking

Magnifying and catastrophizing are common habits when you’re in a bad mood. Remind yourself that it’s not really “the worst day ever” or that your entire life isn’t ruined by one mishap. Avoid thinking in extremes. Examine your thoughts rationally. Apply perspective to whatever is troubling you. Things are seldom truly catastrophic despite how you feel in the moment.

Ask for Help

You don’t have to deal with a bad mood alone. Opening up to trusted friends and loved ones can ease your emotional burden quickly. They may offer reassurance, cheer you up, or provide practical help. Don’t isolate yourself when you feel down. Connecting with others generates oxytocin which alleviates bad moods. Ask for support or just a listening ear.

Be Patient with the Process

Keep realistic expectations of yourself and the situation. Getting into a bad mood is usually much easier than getting out of one. Changing your mood takes time, self-awareness, and concerted effort. Small positive actions add up. Celebrate incremental progress. Patience prevents you from getting discouraged. Persist with an encouraging inner voice.

Everyone experiences bad moods now and then. Fortunately, you have many options to help yourself snap out of a funk. Pay attention to your state of mind. When you recognize your mood worsening, deploy one or more of these strategies. With consistent practice, you can learn to successfully shift your mindset, outlook, and spirits for a happier, more optimistic you!