Do you feel like you’re stuck in a bad mood and can’t get out? No one likes to feel perpetually stuck in a bad mood, but often the solution lies in taking active steps to get out of it.
Getting out of a bad mood may not happen overnight. But by taking the initiative from within to get out of a bad mood, you can start to regain a sense of happiness no matter what your circumstances.
This article will give you tangible ways to turn your frown upside down. With a few simple steps, you can jump-start your journey to feeling like your happy self again.
Is it okay to be in a bad mood?
Before you go trying to get yourself out of a bad mood, let’s get something straight. It’s okay to be in a bad mood.
In fact, sometimes it’s healthier for you to be in a bad mood. Because this means you are acknowledging your own emotions.
If you try to completely suppress your emotions when something tough happens, that’s not necessarily healthy. And the scientific data we have confirms this notion.
Research has found that people who acknowledge their emotions were better able to avoid both psychiatric and physical illness. We've discussed this more in our article on how to better handle your emotions.
Because more often than not, it's harmful to sweep your negative emotions under the rug.
So if you’re going through a tough or stressful time, let yourself feel funky for a bit.
You’re probably confused though, as this article is about getting out of a bad mood. Well, there is a problem with a bad mood. And the problem is when we let it stick around too long.
If a bad mood morphs from a few days to a few months to a few years, then we have a problem. You’re not designed to live in a perpetual bad mood as that will affect your well-being.
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Why do you need to get out of a bad mood?
You might be wondering why it even matters if you get out of a bad mood. Well, other than leaving you grumpy, there are notable cognitive effects.
A study in 2011 found that people who were in a bad mood had more difficulty remembering things. The bad mood impacted their ability to engage all of their cognitive resources.
And another study found that individuals who were in a bad mood had more difficulty suppressing unwanted thoughts.
It’s apparent that a bad mood makes it difficult to think clearly. So it’s no wonder that people who are in a bad mood usually don’t engage in productive behavior.
Your bad mood could be keeping you trapped in a thought process that only serves to reinforce the bad mood.
I know when I’m in a bad mood I’m usually spending my time complaining. This does nothing to help me and obviously isn’t productive behavior.
This is why you have to wake up. Because the only person who can get you out of a bad mood if it’s lingering too long is you.
7 ways to get out of a bad mood
If you’re ready to ditch your bad mood and replace it with a good one, then follow these 7 steps.
1. Get moving
I can sense that you may be rolling your eyes at this one. But there’s a reason it’s listed first.
Research has found that exercise is the best way to get rid of a bad mood. It outperforms many other strategies.
Now exercise is a broad term. It doesn’t have to be an extremely vigorous exercise to do the trick.
I personally use running as my tool for immediately improving my mood. But maybe you need to just turn on a song and dance. Or go for a walk with your pup.
It doesn’t matter how you move your body. It just matters that you move it.
This causes a physiological release of endorphins that are bound to improve your mood. If you want more convincing, here's our article on the many benefits of exercising!
2. Spend time with loved ones
Another great tool for ditching a bad mood is to get around people you love.
When I’m in a funk, I make it a priority to plan a date with my husband or go grab coffee with my best friend.
Spending time with people you love reminds you of all the good in life. And it gives you a little something to look forward to which can be enough to shift your mood.
Make sure you choose the type of people who aren’t going to let you sulk in your bad mood. Because otherwise, this tip may not be very effective for you.
3. Volunteer or serve someone else
If you can’t stop thinking about yourself and your problems, it’s probably only adding to your bad mood. Sometimes the solution is to put your attention on someone else and their needs.
Volunteering is a great way to get yourself out of a bad mood. It literally forces you to get out of your own head (it comes with many other benefits too!)
I enjoy volunteering at animal shelters because it’s like a double whammy. Who can be bummed while helping out cute animals?
Choose an organization or cause that is meaningful to you. And have a list that’s easy to go to when you find yourself feeling funky.
You can volunteer for an hour or a whole day. The time doesn’t matter. Just the act of taking your focus off yourself is usually enough to boost your spirits.
4. Prioritize your sleep
Sometimes we’re in a sustained bad mood because we’re not prioritizing our sleep.
Sleep is critical for mood regulation. Just ask my husband. He’ll tell you I’m practically a monster after too little sleep.
In all honesty, it’s hard to feel good when you’re not sleeping well or enough.
Figure out how much sleep you need to feel good and make it a priority. Stop doom scrolling before bed and minimize arousing activities before bed.
You may just find that after a good night’s sleep, your bad mood has disappeared.
5. Mix up your schedule
A bad mood can be a cue that it’s time to mix things up. If you’re getting stuck in a monotonous routine that doesn’t leave room for joy, it’s no wonder you’re in a bad mood.
I understand you can’t just stop going to work or ignore your responsibilities.
But you can decide to wake up early to go for a 20-minute walk before work. Or you can decide to meet a friend for dinner instead of watching TV for hours before sleep.
Better yet, plan a vacation that gets you excited. That can be a big mix-up in your schedule that gives you a sense of happy anticipation.
But you can’t keep doing the same things and expect your mood to magically change. Shake things up and watch your attitude improve.
If you don't change your routines from time to time, you'll get in a funk in no time. If this is your situation, here's our article with tips on how to get out of a funk.
6. Play some upbeat music
This tip is so simple but so effective. Music has this way of shifting our emotions.
Take advantage of the power of music by finding an uplifting playlist to blast when you’re in a bad mood.
There are whole playlists devoted to “happy mood” or “positive vibes” that should do the trick.
Sometimes it only takes putting on my favorite song to make me smile again. I have personally developed my own playlist for bad moods.
It’s composed of songs that remind me to feel grateful and songs that make me want to dance.
If you really want to take this one to the next level, go for a ride in your car and roll down the windows. With the wind in your hair and the music filling the air, it’s hard to stay sad or mad.
7. Make a gratitude list
At this point, no one is a stranger to the concept of a gratitude list. But what most of us forget (myself included) is the power of a gratitude list.
Research shows that expressing gratitude is great for promoting a positive mood. And better yet, it’s helpful for maintaining that positive mood.
When I’m in a really bad mood, I try to stop and force myself to say 3 things I’m grateful for. And I intentionally try to think about it for a bit before answering.
This is one of the 5 tips that we discussed in this article on how to be more grateful.
Gratitude shifts you from thinking about what’s wrong to thinking about what’s right in your life.
It’s an easy and free tip that you can use anytime and anywhere to change your mood.
💡 By the way: If you want to start feeling better and more productive, I've condensed the information of 100's of our articles into a 10-step mental health cheat sheet here. 👇
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Being in a bad mood sucks. No one will argue that. And it’s okay to be in a bad mood sometimes. But living in a perpetual bad mood will not serve you. The 7 tips from this article will help you ditch a bad mood to replace it with a better one. Because no matter how bad your mood is you can take steps to change it right now.
Are you currently in a bad mood? Or do you want to share your own tip on how to get out of a bad mood? I'd love to hear from you in the comments below!