Tuesday, July 16, 2013



Even positive people get in bad moods. They are no fun, and they make us no fun to be around. They can also cost you your reputation at work, with friends, or even your family. It's best to work it out, and quick!Low moods are a bizarre animal. They’re like a nasty drug that hijacks your thoughts and robs you of your intuition and perspective. They make bad things look bigger and good things look smaller. It’s as if they have their own demented gravity, drawing annoyances and inconveniences — not to mention the crappy moods of other people — out of the woodwork towards you. Foul moods don’t seem to emanate from any particular source, or line of thought, they just waft into your head space when you’re disappointed and vulnerable. They cast a pervasive dullness on the people you meet and the places you visit, and the things you think about.

“Every day may not be good, but there’s something good in every day.”  ~Unknown
Whatever the case may be, you feel something you don’t want to, and you’re not sure how to change it. You just know you need to do something before acting on that feeling.The reality is you don’t have to act on everything you feel. Still, emotional responses happen so quickly that it becomes challenging to put space between feeling and doing.It may seem like the answer is to stop responding to life emotionally, but that’s just not realistic. Paul Ekman, one of the foremost researchers on emotion, suggests it’s near impossible to bypass an emotional response because of the way our brains are set up.Perhaps the best goal is to identify negative feelings quickly and improve your state of mind instead of responding to feelings with more feelings. Odds are if you choose the latter, you’ll do something you will regret later.
Some ways to overcome a negative state of mind:

Get to the root.

If you’ve ever snapped at someone who didn’t say or do anything to offend you, you’re familiar with this common dilemma: you feel something but you’re not entirely sure why. So you start looking for explanations. The kids are too loud. Or the TV’s too small. Or the car’s too dirty.
Maybe you’re afraid of acknowledging someone hurt you because you prefer to avoid confrontation. Or maybe you’re disappointed in yourself but admitting it is too painful. Whatever the case, it’s time to get honest. Lashing out won’t address the problems that are creating your feelings.Attending to your body’s needs is a sensible first step to responding to a bad mood. Understand, though, the difference between what your body needs and what your mind wants. Your weary body might want sleep, while your flustered mind wants Häagen-Dazs. There is a fine line between mental wants and bodily needs, but it can be hard to see.

Be real.

There’s no point in pretending you’re full of sunshine when internally you feel like crying or screaming. You’re entitled to feel the full range of emotions and express what’s on your mind when you need to. Don’t worry about bringing other people down; you’ll only do that if you dwell in negativity.It is very tempting (and common) to treat bad moods by indulging one’s wants. The Häagen-Dazs approach is self-comfort, not self-love. Beware of this phenomenon: bad moods make you wanty. I say wanty instead of needy because often wants masquerade as genuine needs.If someone asks what’s wrong, be honest: “I’ve had a rough day, I don’t feel so great, but I’m sure I’ll feel better when I…”

Take responsibility.

Sometimes when you’re down it might feel like you have to stay there. But the truth is we can influence how we feel by choosing what we do. Sitting around sulking causes prolonged sadness. Doing something proactive will help you start to feel better.
When you realize you’re the only thing standing between you and a smile, you get motivated to take action. That’s the thing about feelings: you can’t sit around waiting for them to change. You have to do something to change them.

Want to understand.

Even if something happened to create your bad mood, you’re responsible for maintaining it–and it’s easy to do that if you refuse to see the other side of situations. If you want to believe your best friend meant to hurt you. Or the world is against you. Or your boss didn’t promote you because she’s out to get you.
Instead of fueling your anger for your friend, feel compassion for the pain she must be in–she’d never hurt you on purpose. Instead of thinking the world is against you, put your day in perspective. Everyone has bad days. Instead of imaging your boss is out to get you, realize she had a tough choice to make, and you’ll have more opportunities to advance down the line.

Use the silly voice technique.

According to Russ Harris, author of The Happiness Trap, swapping the voice in your head with a cartoon voice will help take back power from the troubling thought.When you start thinking about the interview that went downhill, do it as Bugs Bunny. When you rehash the fight you had with your boyfriend, do it as one of those high-pitched mice from Cinderalla. Sound ridiculous? It is. That’s the point.

In my experience, bad moods usually spawn a very strong want for comfort. This can be a spectacularly intense desire — it is crucial to handle it sensibly. If we choose to respond with some sort of indulgence, addiction is a very real danger. Most of us have a favorite way of responding to this comfort-lust, and depending on how conditioned we are to it, it can be a killer.
Some people shop themselves into hopeless debt. Some drink themselves into ruined health and relationships. Some eat until they are ashamed and sick. Some throw tantrums and punch walls. Some stare into the television for four hours straight. All of us do something to respond to the desire for comfort, and most often it has some sort of cost.

Think about how you normally respond to the desire for comfort. What does it cost you? What could you do instead that doesn’t have such a cost?  Bad moods will come and go your whole life. Don’t let them rob you each time. There is no limit to the number of bad moods you can have, so there is no limit to the amount of money, physical health and self-respect you can lose.

Find another way to behave in those situations. Take a walk, visit a friend, pick up a book, work out, go learn something… anything but give up money or health to this bad mood. In any case, indulging the lust for comfort usually just prolongs the funk by making you feel like you need more of that indulgence to push it away again.

Ugly moods pass more quickly when you acknowledge them, let them visit you for a bit, and avoid chasing them away with indulgence. Remember some guidelines: Defer big decisions until you’re in a better headspace. Take all of your assessments — of people and of situations — with a grain of salt. Do not trust any visions you have of the future, or any assessments of your ability, worth or potential. There is just so much there you just can’t see. Beware of assigning blame. Similar to “Don’t drink and drive” is “Don’t fret and decide.” Wait until you sober up. Sleep it off.
The main rule of thumb is this: know it will be gone soon, and do as little harm as possible in the mean time.

I am talking like a geek .

And now I feel fine again. Look at that.