We all get down from time to time, and sometimes we’re so stubborn with ourselves to stop, breathe, and think about a logical way to feel better. It’s hard, and I’m not perfect at this either. But, sometimes our ability to snap out of bad moods comes down to understanding the many things you can do to prevent a bad mood in the first place.
“Feeling good beats feeling bad, any day.” – Me.
The aim of this post is to highlight 12 things that can help prevent bad moods and to help change your mindset when you’re in one. Here goes…
#1 Express Gratitude
- When you appreciate what you have, what you have appreciates in value.
- If we aren’t thankful for what we already have, we will have a hard time ever being happy.
I’ve been practicing this by listening to “Anthony Robbins – Get the Edge: A 7-Day Program To Transform Your Life” first thing in the morning. It’s proven to be a very good way to focus my mind and get me in a positive mood to start the day.
Go for a walk (perhaps on your way to work) and start thinking about things within your inner circle, then spiralling outwards. And if you can, say it out loud for a bigger impact. For example:
- I’m so grateful to be alive.
- I’m so grateful for my health.
- I’m so grateful I can surf.
- I’m so grateful for this beautiful day.
- I’m so grateful the sun is shining.
- I’m so grateful I have a good job.
- I’m so grateful for Mum, my Dad, my Brother, my Niece, etc.
- I’m so grateful for my friends.
- I’m so grateful for being grateful. You get the idea!
After 5 minutes of walking around, breathing and being grateful, take note of how your mood has changed. Feeling any better? My guess is yes. Need more ideas on what to be grateful about? Check out this post by Chris Dessi, CEO of Silverback Social – http://www.christopherdessi.com/100-things-im-grateful-for/
#2 Cultivate optimism
- People who think optimistically see the world as a place packed with endless opportunities, especially in trying times.
This is an interesting one. Usually, it’s all too easy to get into the habit of complaining. Whinging about this and that and stressing when a challenging obstacle comes our way. It’s completely normal to be this way, and again, I’m guilty of this too, but next time you have the chance to be pessimistic, why not be the opposite? Even better, why not stop others when they are doing it? Challenge them and ask what are the pros of their situation? What opportunities are there? If someone gives you 5 reasons why something doesn’t work, why not ask them to give you 3 reasons why it could?
I recently read the book “The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari“ by Robin S. Sharma (great read by the way!!) and one of the techniques it talks about is ‘Opposition Thinking’. It’s a powerful technique for ridding the mind of worry and other negative, life-draining influences. The theory is that under the grand laws of nature, the mind can only hold one thought at any one time. Don’t believe me? Try it yourself. Recognising this allows anyone to easily create a positive, creative mindset within a short period.
“The process is straightforward: when an undesirable thought occupies the focal point of your mind, immediately replace it with an uplifting one. It’s as if your mind is a giant slide projector, with every thought in your mind being a slide. Whenever a negative slide comes up on the screen, take swift action to replace it with a positive one.” – Robin S. Sharma
#3 Avoid over-thinking and social comparison
- Comparing yourself to someone else can be poisonous.
- The only person you should compare to is yourself before now.
Oooh this is a tough one sometimes. I remember the old saying “Everyone wants to be like Mike” (aka Michael Jordan). Yes, but MJ didn’t get to where he is today by comparing himself to others. He was fighting himself to become better than he was before, and that took hard work, dedication and plenty of failures along the way. The other point is if you compare yourself to someone else, most of the time you only focus on the best qualities of that person and overlook the qualities where you shine in comparison. It’s good that you can recognise someone else’s qualities, but instead of judging yourself against them, why not ask them how they are so good at what they do, and then learn how to do it yourself? You’ll feel better about it in the end. My book recommendation: I Can’t Accept Not Trying: Michael Jordan on the Pursuit of Excellence
#4 Practice acts of kindness
- Selflessly helping someone is a super powerful way to feel good inside.
This is one of my favourites, probably because it’s soooo easy to do. Think about when someone does something kind to you out of the blue, for no reason at all. It feels good, doesn’t it? Well, the feeling is reciprocated when you’re the one being kind.
Try these ideas out to kick-start your good mood:
- Say “Good morning” to your colleagues with sincerity.
- Give your colleague a compliment, like “You look really nice today” or “I really like what you’re wearing today.”
- Send a text to your Mum, best friend, girl friend, whoever means a lot to you, simply saying “Thinking of you, I hope you have a great day!”
- If you have a partner, why not try leaving thoughtful post-it notes for them to find? It could be as simple as “Have a good day :)” or “I love you” or “You smell, but I still like you :P”
#5 Nurture social relationships
- The happiest people on the planet are the ones who have deep, meaningful relationships.
What else is there to say about this one? You can define what ‘meaningful’ means to you, but essentially if you have a friend, family member or partner who you can be yourself around and talk for hours, then I think it goes without saying that you would be happier to have that than if you didn’t. Meaningful relationships give you comfort to know that someone else cares about you. This also goes with the point about being grateful. Be grateful for your relationship with your loved ones. You’re lucky, but you deserve it.
#6 Develop strategies for coping
- It helps to have healthy strategies for coping pre-rehearsed, on-call, and in your arsenal at your disposal.
This is an interesting one and one that’s sometimes hard to prepare yourself for. Some might look at this point and think, what is a ‘healthy strategy’? How do you create one, etc.? The important thing here is to find things that you can easily associate with being in a happy state of mind, so you can get out of that crabby mood faster. Some suggestions could be:
- Change your computer desktop to an image of a tropical beach. For me, I have a panoramic picture of Burleigh Heads in Queensland that overlooks the Gold Coast. The surf is pumping and there’s a guy lining up for a barrel. When I look at that image, I think about how awesome surfing is, how grateful I am to be healthy and fit, so grateful that I can surf and that I surf every weekend with my best mates.
- Put pictures up of your dearest family members. For me, I have a number of photos of my niece of when she was about 18 months old. When I’m stressed, I look at her and everything gets put back into perspective. Whatever I was stressed about is not worth stressing about. The clock keeps ticking, life goes on and no one will die from whatever I’m stressed about (let’s hope).
- Use an incantation to refocus your mind. The one I use, as recommended by Anthony Robbins, is “All I need is within me now!”. It might sound a bit strange, but it’s a powerful saying whereby if you say it over an over in your mind or out-loud, you will begin to feel stronger within yourself and less doubtful. Eventually, your stresses will dissipate and you’ll be back on track, working towards your goals.
#7 Learn to forgive
- Harbouring feelings of hatred is horrible for your well-being.
You don’t necessarily need to forget, but learning to forgive is definitely important to ensure your mood remains positive. No one likes being disappointed, but what’s the point of wasting energy wallowing in feelings of hatred and disappointment? Move on. Maybe it all happened for a reason and you haven’t quite figured it out yet. What’s the next goal you want to achieve? Invest your energy into thinking about that instead. Yes, it’s easier said than done, but hey, there’s 11 other things you could be doing to prevent your bad mood.
#8 Increase flow experiences
- Flow is a state in which it feels like time stands still.
- It’s when you’re so focused on what you’re doing that you become one with the task.
- Nothing is distracting you or competing for your focus.
I’d suggest one of the best ways to increase flow experiences is to do something you’re passionate about and absolutely love doing. For me, it’s surfing. When I’m in the surf I am at peace. Nothing else in the world at that moment really matters and everything comes back into perspective. I’m focused on the now and I always feel invigorated after a good surf. If you can start from a happy place to increase your flow experiences, then you’re on the right track. As you progress, the other key point would be that if you set yourself goals, for the year, for the week and even for the day, then this would be perfect to focus on. Thinking about what you want to achieve and then visualising the outcome you seek, will help keep you motivated and focused.
#9 Savour life’s joys
- Deep happiness cannot exist without slowing down to enjoy the joy.
This point is really about being in the moment. Here’s a great quote that sums it up quite well:
“The clock is running. Make the most of today. Time waits for no man. Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That’s why it is called the present.” – Alice Morse Earle
As you’re walking and thinking about what you’re grateful for, as outlined in the Tip above, you can also find joy in the little moments that happen throughout the day. Such moments could be anything from appreciating the weather, embracing the beauty of an old tree, or seeing someone smile. These are tiny moments of joy, but when you experience highlights of joy, it’s a good idea to document them, so you can reflect on what you have experienced and achieved throughout the year. This not only helps you acknowledge your successes and create lasting memories of your experiences, it also allows you to recognise the things you would like to do in the future.
#10 Commit to your goals
- Magical things start happening when we commit ourselves to doing whatever it takes to get somewhere.
Have you ever wanted something so bad that you became determined to get it and you got it in the end? If you didn’t try so hard, do you think you would have achieved it? This is a simple indication that the power of the mind can be used to achieve the most extraordinary things.
#11 Practice spirituality
- When we practice spirituality or religion, we recognise that life is bigger than us.
- We surrender the silly idea that we are the mightiest thing ever.
Whether you’re religious or not, it doesn’t matter. Whatever you believe in: God, the Universe or Jedi, believing in something has its benefits. I’m not a religious person myself, but it’s cool to think there might be or are energies that have an impact on us. When I desire something so much, I ask the Universe to bring me positive energy. It might sound weird or stupid, but I always say, “Whatever floats your boat”. Believe in what you want to believe that gives you hope and helps you on your path.
#12 Take care of your body
- Taking care of your body is crucial to being the happiest person you can be.
Exercise releases endorphins in the brain that make us feel happy. If you’re in a cranky mood, even going outside for a walk and some fresh air often does wonders to your mood. And the more you exercise, the more you’ll begin to love it and it’ll eventually become a habit. If I go to the gym or surf several times a week, and then the next week I don’t do any exercise, I become particularly frustrated and much more moody than I should be. In fact, exercise has such a profound effect on our happiness and well-being that it’s actually been proven to be an effective strategy for overcoming depression.
It’s not just exercise here either. Eating well is critical to good health and a good body. I probably don’t need to tell you this, but fresh fruit and vegetables are the things you should eat more of. And always drink plenty of water. Crikey, I’m sounding like my Mum now :-/
Has this helped you?
I really hope so. If I am able to encourage just one of my readers to practice these tips and to know it worked, well, you will make my day. Remember that it’s so important that you take care of yourself (inside and out) to improve your overall state of mind and happiness. Some of these tips won’t suit everyone, and that’s fine. Pick the ones that resonate most with you, so that you can feel empowered knowing how to prevent bad moods and be happy.
So, if this has helped you, I would love it if you could let me know – either in the comments, a tweet, a share, whatever. It would mean a great deal to me.
Still in a bad mood and need more tips to get happy?
Here are a few related articles and resources that I’m sure you’ll find useful: