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How to Snap Out of a Bad Mood Fast!

Call it a mood, a funk, the blues' - there's nothing worse than wasting our time suffering through a bad mood. But it's not always easy to shake it off. For those days when life's giving you lemons, try these three simple strategies to snap out of a bad mood. You'll soon be back on your way to a happier, more positive place.

1. Sit on the floor.
Sometimes a change of perspective helps us get out of our heads, and there's nothing like seeing the world at ankle-level to help take the heat out of whatever you're stewing on.  It also can shake us out of a mood by feeling a bit silly and childlike (remember when you could plop down and put on a pout?).

Sitting on the floor forces you to take a good look around. What do you notice down there? How do things look different? Look to see something you hadn't seen before (even if it's the dust bunny rolling around on the supposedly clean carpet.) That new awareness can be just enough of a kick to shift your mental gears.

2. Play what's this about game.
Write down a sentence that describes what's gotten you in the bad mood, for example: I'm mad that my boss criticized the project I worked all weekend to complete. Then ask yourself what's this about and write down everything that comes to mind, even to the extreme! In this example, you might write:

* My boss doesn't understand my efforts
* My boss doesn't value me
* I wonder if I'm not as good as I thought
* I worry I'll get fired
* I worry that without a job I'll lose my house

After five minutes, read the list out loud. Typically, you'll see things you can do to get into action and out of your funk, which in this example could be:
* Ask boss for more specific feedback on her criticism is it the project or is it me?
* Ask trusted colleague for input on the project and ask how much time they would have taken to complete it.
* Update resume and networking contacts in case this keeps happening.

Creating a couple simple, practical actions can release your bad mood and help you shift gears fast toward more productive thinking.

3. Just smile.
Mind/body studies have shown that even putting on a forced smile sends messages to your brain about your mood. So, to shake out of a funk, clench your teeth, turn the corners of your mouth skyward, and smile with all your might.

If you're out in public, start smiling at others--and secretly challenge yourself to get them to smile back! If you're on your own, go look in the mirror and smile at yourself. Feel silly? Good!  Laughing at yourself reverses a bad mood in minutes.

Life certainly can provide its share of truly sad events and challenges, and these simple tips alone won't fix deeper sadness or depression that is a natural part of being human. But when you're just having a bad day, try one of these easy strategies and make it a good day, fast!

This article won 6th place in the 2009 Positive Way Relationship and Development Contest.   Written by Darcy E.

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