We’ve all had days when we’ve felt irritated, depressed or sad. These bad moods could exist for several reasons – a harried day at work, low self-esteem, any kind of insecurity or even a hyper-sensitive nature.
The reason for a bad mood could be internal or external, says Dr Rakhi Anand, clinical psychologist, Apollo Hospital, Delhi. “Your expectations of life or people, your perception of yourself or your outlook on life, all play a big role,” she explains.
But we are not doomed to be at the mercy of our bad moods. “Moods are influenced by thoughts. When moods and thoughts combine they form a chemical reaction that impacts how we feel about ourselves and everything around us,” says motivational author and corporate trainer Priya Kumar.
So the power to change your mood is with you. “If you want to be in a good mood, you need to set yourself up for it,” says Kumar. Here’s how.Start your day well: "Often people start their day in a stressful situation, getting late for work, cursing the traffic, and arriving in a foul mood," says Kumar. So set yourself up to be in a good mood. "Lay out your work clothes the previous night and make sure your car has gas. Wake up to energising music, take a bubble bath – start your day with ease and comfort. Then, chances are that mundane stress won’t get to you as easily," says Kumar.
Look on the bright side: “The premise of cognitive therapy is that thoughts and attitudes – not external events – create feelings. So identify the trigger that provoked the negative feeling,” says Dr S Sudersanan, psychiatrist, Dr BL Kapur Memorial Hospital, Delhi. Everything can have a positive, negative, faulty or optimistic interpretation, so see things positively before drawing conclusions.
Be inspired: You can’t help getting stressed, but you can deal with it. “Read a gripping or inspiring book or watch a funny movie (think Govinda) or serial,” says Kumar. Exercise can also alter your mood. Or be creative – cook, paint, play an instrument, etc. The trick is to be completely involved in whatever you do. “Concentrating on what you are doing now will help you forget how you’ve been ‘feeling,’” says corporate trainer Harpreet Ahluwalia.
Change your physiology: Research shows that the structure of your body, the pace at which you breathe, and the rate at which you move all direct your mood.
“If you are in a depressed physiology (hands down, shallow breathing and slow movements), your nervous system gets a signal that says ‘I’m upset,’ and follows it,” says Dr Rakhi Anand. “But if you stand up, dance, or increase the rate at which you breathe, your brain will follow suit.”