One day, while talking to someone in my family about another relative, they said something that I immediately filed away as "Don't be that woman." They said, "[So-and-so] is beautiful, intelligent and really talented but I still don't like being around her. It's like literally walking on eggshells because she's so moody that you don't know who you're dealing with at any given moment." Whew. Y'all, the older I get, the more I realize that the three words that mean a lot to me are "safe", "stable" and "consistent".
None of us are perfect. This means that all of us are gonna have moments when we show out, times when we disappoint others, and days that are not so good. But in many ways, when it comes to being a moody person, there are things that can be done to prevent that from being a constant or "the norm".
If you find yourself being on an emotional roller coaster more than you'd like or someone in your world tries to pull you into theirs, I'm going to share some of the things that gets us into a bad mood in the first place (because when you know the root of something, you can oftentimes change it), along with a cool hack that I read about that can help you to snap out of a bad mood, pretty quickly.
What Is a Bad Mood? What Causes One?
For the record, let me just say that the kind of bad mood that I'm going to tackle isn't one that is linked to clinical depression or even semi-severe hormonal shifts like menopause or a thyroid disorder. Those are things that need the care of a physician and sometimes a reputable therapist.
I'm talking about when you're going about your life, feeling pretty good, and then you're just…not. As a direct result, that causes you to be hypersensitive and/or irritable and/or snappy and/or combative and/or just not a lot of fun to be around. When this happens, what is that really all about?
Well, let's first address this from a physical standpoint. If you consume a lot of sugar and/or caffeine, that could put you in a bad mood because both are stimulants that can cause your energy levels to spike and then crash. Being sleep-deprived can put you in a bad mood because sleep is what provides you with the fuel that you need to get through your day. If you're not spending any time in the sun, that could put in you in a bad mood because, well, a lack of Vitamin D is linked to mood swings. Being dehydrated can put you in a bad mood. Not getting enough sex can put you into a bad mood (because sex is a de-stressor and semen is a literal antidepressant). Working too hard or too much can put you into a bad mood because we're not designed to constantly be overwhelmed.
Now let's get into the psychological side of things. Not learning what your triggers are and how to deactivate them can put you in a bad mood because you're not able to get a hold of your feelings. Suppressing emotions can put you in a bad mood because you're deflecting instead of validating them. Choosing to not forgive can put you in a bad mood because the person who hurt/harmed you is continuing to take up space in your life—even if it's just your memories (memories that pop up at the most random times). Not asking for what you need—and then requiring those things in your close relationships—can put you in a bad mood because it can have you feeling like you don't matter to those around you. Keeping toxicity in your life can put you in a bad mood because poisonous people are unstable AF. Living your life for others instead of yourself can put you in a bad mood because…I'm hoping that is pretty self-explanatory. They have their life (your parents included). It's selfish for them to think they should hog up yours too.
I know that I only provided 10 things that could be connected to causing a bad mood; however, I'm hoping that if you, as the church folks say, felt any of those in your spirit, it can help you to work through your issues so that "being in a mood" doesn't have to be your constant reality. Yet I did want to address one other thing that could result in a bad mood. Something that goes overlooked far too often and actually helps the hack that I'm about to share make more sense.
One of the Best Hacks for Getting Out of a Bad Mood Is…
Something that I do on the daily is peruse the internet. Recently, I checked out the article, "The New Way to Reverse Even Your Worst Mood". Something that the author (Susan Krauss Whitbourne Ph.D.) shared was the fact that something that Trump (insert all sorts of side-eye and gagging here) caused to be at an all-time high in this country is authoritarianism which she defined as being someone who "tends to show unquestioning submission to people in power, a desire to punish people who don't conform to 'conventional' values, and an unwavering adherence to a set of narrowly-defined moral and religious norms". That's a long way of saying that Trump power tripped, which caused others to follow suit (folks tend to be sheep far more than they realize. Be careful who you allow to influence you. Protect your light).
Anyway, as a direct result, it caused people to become some totally out-of-pocket control freaks. They try and make everything go their way, the pressure of that feeling makes them anxious, if not straight up angry, which ultimately leads to another thing that can trigger a bad mood. What can someone do about this? Well, the hack that the author provided was to take some time out to ponder what part of your personality is triggered by your anxiety/anger so that you can figure out what you can do to immediately de-stress. For instance, if you are someone who really likes order and your co-worker keeps a messy desk, that could put you in a bad mood and maybe even want to clean it up (or at least reprimand them for it). However, now that you know what's up, what can you do to calm down while still respecting their space?
The author has a good point. Still, I want to provide a bit of a twist to this. If you can absolutely say that what tends to put you into a bad mood the most is being pissed because something feels out of control that you want to control, my hack is so simple that it's probably gonna annoy you, so let me say "sorry" in advance.
Simply ask yourself two questions. The first one is, "Why am I even letting this thing influence me this way?" because sometimes, getting to the root of this one inquiry will make you realize that you really and truly are sweating the small stuff. The second question is, "Can I control 'this' or not?" And by "control" what I mean is do you have the power—without dishonoring someone else's personal space and right to make their own choices, because oftentimes what we want to control is someone else—to make significant changes when it comes to this particular person, place, thing or idea? Actually, there is one more question—"Do I have the time, effort and energy to invest into making these changes and do I foresee it all being for the better in the long run if I do?"
I have shared before that I am a control freak in recovery. I know that mine stems from growing up in a household of control freaks. Until I got free, I didn't know any better. And so, for instance, when I'm counseling someone and they are doing something that really drives me up the wall and I'm tempted to try and "force the matter" or "rush a change", I remember those three questions while also keeping in mind that it is their life, not mine. Yes, they are coming for counsel, yet they are still an adult and me wanting to impose my views onto them is more about my ego than ultimately their well-being which means that I'm not doing my job in excellence. Then I remind myself that it makes absolutely no sense to be more focused on someone else's life than my own.
See what I mean? Figuring out why I let something or someone influence me strongly, then asking myself if "it" is something I can control or not and then following that up with thinking about how much of me I really want to invest—can bring clarity. With clarity comes peace and with peace comes a more positive outlook on things.
Is it really that simple? Try it. Because again, a lot of times, when we don't simply say "I'm in a bad mood" but we get down to the nitty gritty of what's going on beneath the surface, we're able to find a solution that makes us feel so much better.
You can control your moods more than you probably think that you can. Keep this in mind the next time you're in a bad one. You might surprise yourself by how quickly you can pull yourself out.
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