7 reasons you're in a bad mood that can actually be serious

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We all have those times when the ground beneath us seems khổng lồ shift. Something bubbles up from within, be it anger, annoyance, sadness, frustration, offense, or hurt, và our mood darkens like a storm cloud stretching over the sky. A bad mood can feel like a head cold, overcoming us & forcing us lớn sludge through its symptoms. While we can’t choose the emotions that come up in us, what we can control is how we react khổng lồ them. So, how can we take control và manage the storms that stir inside us? How can we become more resilient and adaptive when it comes to lớn our moods?

Explore the Deeper Issues

First và foremost, we have sầu to lớn dig deeper. Anytime we’re in a bad mood, it’s important lớn not just consider the surface elements of what’s going on but to reflect on what’s really driving this shift in our outlook or emotions. The little things that mix us off aren’t always at the root of our suffering. Often, they’re more lượt thích triggers for something deeper – the final drip in a well that now overflows.

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We all have sầu certain events or dynamics that shake us up that are (sometimes surprisingly) connected to our past. For some, a stressful day at work can remind them of the chaos of their childhood household. The tone of a co-worker can trigger panic or rage. The sound of their child complaining can send them inlớn a new level of irritability they’d only ever seen in their own parents. Getting lớn know our triggers and why we have sầu them is one of the best ways to lớn help prevent these events from hijacking our mood.

Silence Your Inner Critic

No matter what the circumstances, more often than not, it’s our own thoughts setting our mood inlớn freefall. Frequently, it’s not just what’s happening but what we’re telling ourselves about what’s happening that makes us feel bad. We all have sầu an internal enemy or what psychologist Dr. Robert Firestone describes as a “critical inner voice” that comments negatively on ourselves and others.

This destructive internal enemy feeds us an ongoing stream of thoughts that tell us things like: “You’re nothing. Just give sầu up. People don’t like you. No one respects you. You should just avoid them. Don’t even try. No one could understand you. You can’t handle this. You’re a mess.” Most of the time, if we think bachồng to the moment when our mood changed, we can identify a slew of critical inner voices that filled our heads just beforehand.

It’s vital to lớn catch on khổng lồ this “voice” when it seeps in & separate what it’s telling us about ourselves và others from how we actually are & how we want to lớn be. Once we’re in a bad mood, this voice may berate us with mean attacks lượt thích, “You’ll never get out of this slump.” If we don’t challenge this inner critic, it can start lớn influence our mood & behavior. We may snap at a loved one or become really quiet và withdrawn. We may start lớn complain or feel victimized & depleted, none of which is helpful for getting out of a bad mood.

Try Mindfulness

Our critical inner voice can lead us to lớn ruminate. Because bad moods can often be the result of ruminating on a problem, issue, thought, or emotion, it’s helpful to find adaptive sầu ways khổng lồ avoid rumination. “The practice of mindfulness teaches us a different way to relate khổng lồ our thoughts, feelings, & emotions as they arise,” said Dr. Elisha Goldstein, author of Uncovering Happiness: Overcoming Depression with Mindfulness & Self-Compassion. Mindfulness practice helps us khổng lồ acknowledge và accept whatever we’re experiencing without judging it or letting it drag us into a panicky process of cyclical thinking.

Many mindfulness exercises involve sầu learning to focus on our breath. This process can help us feel calmer and more centered in the present moment. As we sit still & bring our attention khổng lồ our breath, we can notice our thoughts as they pop up, then let them float by, like bubbles, without being carried away along with them. As Dr. Goldstein points out, our minds will likely wander, especially at first, but we can simply notice this wandering without judgment and gently bring our attention baông xã khổng lồ our breathing. Dr. Goldstein describes mindfulness practice as a skill that improves with time, but he encourages us to lớn stiông xã with it và rethành viên that “practicing is an act of self-care và helps stop the cycle of rumination & cultivates more patience, compassion, và peace.”

Watch Dr. Goldstein guide you through a three-minute mood-lifting practice

Have sầu Some Self-Compassion

Science has recently revealed seemingly countless benefits of self-compassion. The results from one study by Australian National University suggested that practicing self-compassion can lead lớn significant improvements and mood và less rumination. Dr. Kristin Neff, a leader in this field, has defined self-compassion as practicing self-kindness over self-evaluation, mindfulness as opposed khổng lồ over-identifying with thoughts (again, think rumination), và comtháng humanity rather than isolation. Self-compassion involves seeing ourselves through kind, yet honest, eyes.

Instead of focusing on evaluation or singling ourselves out, it allows us to lớn see ourselves as worthy và our suffering as part of the comtháng human condition. We are not alone in our struggle, và we can face challenges. Contrary to lớn some misconceptions, self-compassion does not mean feeling sorry for ourselves or being victimized. On the contrary, it involves seeing ourselves as human. Just as we are capable of mistakes, we are capable of facing these mistakes & making efforts khổng lồ change without hating ourselves. No matter what’s causing our bad mood, it’s healthy và helpful to remember these three principles và lớn actively embrace more self-compassion.

Be Hardy

After conducting a 12-year longitudinal study, researcher Dr. Salvatore R. Maddi & his colleagues at the University of Chicago described a chất lượng known as “hardiness” as “the key lớn the resiliency for not only surviving, but also thriving, under căng thẳng.” Dr. Maddi found three essential traits that make up hardiness: challenge, control, and commitment.

Challenge describes a person’s ability lớn view problems or stressors as challenges and opportunities. A hardy person accepts that change và obstacles are a part of life, & therefore, is more adaptive sầu lớn the hardships that arise.

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Control involves not seeing oneself as a victim who’s helpless or at the mercy of problems. It involves someone having a sense of their own power & a belief that they can influence the course of their life. Hardy people feel they can take actions that will help them achieve goals. This makes them more optimistic, empowered, và hopeful.Commitment describes having a sense of purpose & meaning in one’s life. Individuals with “commitment” have direction & thrive sầu, rather than just plugging along và “surviving.”

As the American Association of Psychology put it, people who are hardy “turn adversity into an advantage.” They’re able to lớn be resilient in the face of obstacles. They find adaptive sầu ways to move sầu through undesirable circumstances và emerge on the other side. Finding ways to lớn cultivate more hardiness within ourselves offers a much more adaptive way khổng lồ handle, improve, & react to lớn our moods.

Exercise

Exercise is a natural way khổng lồ release endorphins, which can be described as our brain’s hormonal antidote khổng lồ pain và găng tay. The release of endorphins in our brain can feel lượt thích releasing an army to lớn combat our bad mood. Some people have an easy time using physical exercise to release bức xúc and boost their mood. They may take a daily run or seamlessly tag a yoga class onto a particularly stressful day. Then again, there are a whole lot of us who find it hard khổng lồ get going, especially when we’re feeling low. Taking that literal first step to be active sầu is usually the hardest step we’ll take. If we can push ourselves, just lớn get outside, take a walk, get on the xe đạp, or show up to a class, our bodies can fall inkhổng lồ a groove that can quickly have positive sầu effects on how we feel mentally.

Be Generous

A bad mood can direct our focus inward. Once we become stuông chồng in certain thoughts or feelings, be it frustration, worry, or sadness, it can feel increasingly difficult khổng lồ escape the cycle of negativity that perpetuates our bad mood. To emerge from this self-focused spiral, it’s incredibly helpful khổng lồ engage in acts of generosity. Whether it’s volunteering for a cause we believe sầu in or simply helping a frikết thúc with a favor, the act of looking outward, offering our time, energy, or attention can all be acts that ultimately benefit us và make us feel good.

Be Around People

We all have moments when we want a little space lớn collect our thoughts or find a little time to lớn ourselves lớn relax. However, it’s important to lớn distinguish the alone time we spover engaging in actions that positively lift our mood (think exercise, meditation, a good book, or a rejuvenating nap) from the time we spend taking actions that drag us down (lượt thích excessive sầu eating or drinking, rumination, aimless Internet browsing, or a restless afternoon in bed). While, naturally, this danh mục is specific to lớn each individual, it’s often advised for those experiencing a bad mood khổng lồ avoid social withdrawal. This is especially true for those experiencing symptoms of depression. “In depression, social isolation typically serves to lớn worsen the illness and how we feel,” said Dr. Stephen Ilardi, author of The Depression Cure, in an interview with WebMD. “Social withdrawal amplifies the brain’s bao tay response. Social contact helps put the brakes on it.” While, of course, depression is a serious mental health condition & should never be confused with just a bad mood, the advice lớn be social applies khổng lồ anyone who is feeling down. Meet a frikết thúc, hotline someone who makes you laugh, or simply take a walk in a social space. Again, this can help interrupt negative cycles of thinking.

Watch Something Funny

It may sound simple, but this is actually something psychologists like Dr. Lisa Firestone advise people lớn try when they’re experiencing symptoms of depression. The very act of smiling or laughing can improve sầu our mood. One study even showed that forcing a smile can genuinely reduce bít tất tay & increase positive feelings. “Play your favorite sitcom, watch a funny movie or read a comical writer,” said Dr. Firestone. “Don’t think of this exercise as merely a distraction, but as an effective sầu tool in reminding your brain that you can feel good again.”

Seek Help

Sometimes a bad mood is more than just a bad mood. If we find ourselves feeling down on a regular basis or unable to lớn emerge from these feelings, it’s important to seek help. It is always a svào, brave, & unselfish act khổng lồ take our mental health seriously & find help when we need it. Most individuals can benefit from therapy, & taking the steps lớn find someone to talk lớn is, in many ways, easier than ever. There are many resources for finding the right fit when it comes lớn therapy. Here is just one article on “How to lớn Find a Good Therapist.” Here are some websites that can help you find a therapist in your area:

GET HELP: IF YOU OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW IS IN CRISIS OR IN NEED OF IMMEDIATE HELPhường, CALL 1-800-273-TALK (8255).This is a không tính tiền Hỗ trợ tư vấn available 24 hours a day khổng lồ anyone in emotional dibức xúc or suicidal crisis.TEXT for help: Text START khổng lồ 741-741 or visit http://www.crisistextline.org/ to get help via text message.International readers can click here for a danh sách of helplines và crisis centers around the world.