Someone said to me recently, “Dara, you’re always so happy. Aren’t you ever in a bad mood?”
“I have you fooled,” I responded, “Of course, I get into bad moods. I get grumpy and tired just like everyone else.” Just ask my kids and my husband if I’m ever in a bad mood. They’ll be thrilled to share with you how grumpy I can sometimes get. Actually, make sure you have a lot of time, because once they start talking, I have a feeling they won’t stop.
We all get into bad moods from time to time. I’m human, you’re human, and so are our kids. However, when I start to feel grumpy, I try to recognize it, become aware that I’m heading into bad mood territory, and do my best to turn it around. I’m not one to stifle a bad mood. It’s important to give ourselves permission to feel all the feelings, positive or negative, in a nonjudgemental manner. At the same time, I don’t want to stay in that space for long. There’s a lot I want to do with my life, and being in a bad mood isn’t going to help me get there.
At some point, you want to help yourself intentionally shift from being in a bad mood into feeling better.
You have to make an active choice, and decide to turn your frown upside down.
I’m not saying it’s easy. There are times when being in a bad mood just “is what it is.” Life isn’t always easy and we aren’t always going to feel good. The key is to pay attention to how you’re feeling and do your best to help yourself get out of a bad mood. We have the power to help ourselves feel better by paying attention to our thoughts, what we’re saying to ourselves, and how we interpret our experiences. Step back from whatever you’re doing, take a deep breath, a short walk, a hot bath, whatever works for you, and look at the big picture. Keep perspective.
In some ways, it’s easier to just say, “I’m in a bad mood, leave me alone.” It’s a lot harder to intentionally shift how you’re feeling. But, if we buy into the belief that our mind can play a role in how we feel, which research supports, then we have to take some responsibility.
Deciding if we’re going to turn it around, well, that’s all on us.
I take full responsibility for actively choosing to turn my grumpy self into a happy person. I can tell myself things that help put me in a good mood, or I can buy into the bad mood, let it fester, and tell myself thoughts that feed the bad mood.
And guess what? So can you.
The next time you feel yourself getting angry or grumpy, try to talk yourself out of it. Try not to focus on your negative feelings, and intentionally feed yourself positive thoughts. It might take a little practice, but you’ll start to notice how much power your mind actually has. Again, I didn’t say it was easy. The more you practice this, overtime, the easier it will get. Learning what triggers a bad mood, and paying attention to this, can also help you feel your best.
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They key is to remember you aren’t perfect and you don’t have to be. Try not to get frustrated with yourself when you get grumpy and instead, use that energy to help yourself feel better. I’d rather spend my life being in a good mood, most of the time, and I’m guessing you would too.