Bad Mood Rising

Your bad mood may have more negative effects than you know. It may – over time – erode good relationships, and even your marriage or intimate relationship.

Everyone gets irritable or in a bad mood. You don’t have to be positive all the time to everyone. Just “owning” your bad mood, or taking responsibility for it, is a huge step in dealing with it, and possibly neutralizing it.

Here are 10 ways to deal with your bad mood:

Stay well fed: Are you hungry? Do you get irritable like me when you’re not fed? Try to get something in your stomach before you start spilling your bad mood out onto others. Also, if you’ve eaten sugary foods, drank caffeinated foods or consumed too many carbohydrates, it may trigger an irritable response in you that may exacerbate underlying issues, or make things seem worse than they are.

Get sleep: Are you well rested? If not, you may experience being short or irritable with others. Lack of sleep can undercut your good mood in various ways, so get the right amount and quality of sleep that your body needs for optimal functioning.

Identify what you’re upset about: Is it about someone else? Is it work? What is it? Clarifying what you’re upset about will help, so that you can better address it in a more effective way, and not be held hostage to your bad mood. Localizing the issue, you’ll have a better handle on it to be able to deal with it.

Something deeper: Is there underlying anger, behind the bad mood? If so, you may be avoiding it or not  dealing with it. Your bad mood and negativity may point to something deeper and more substantial to look at and consider within yourself. If so, you might benefit from some short-term counseling to help you identify it, work through it, and move past it.

Watch being short with others: Do you find yourself getting short with others? Do you take out your bad mood on others in your life, other drivers on the road, or service providers around town? Consider this: it may not be them – it may be you and your mood.

Unmet needs: A way to deal with a bad mood – and potentially neutralize it – is to ask yourself, “What am I needing right now that I’m not getting?” What would you need in this moment to satisfy you or quell your bad mood? Is it simple or complex? Does it involve other people? How can you go about meeting your needs in a way that’s not upsetting or disrupting to others?

Taking responsibility for your bad mood: It’s yours – not other peoples’ – problem. They may be triggering you in some way, but ultimately it’s your mood, your disrupted mind, and your experience. It may come back, even if other’s change their ways, or your situation changes, but you’re not really working on your bad mood, are you?

Positivity may not work: if you steer your mind towards positivity, you may be suppressing what’s putting you in the bad mood to begin with. Try dealing directly with the bad mood itself, rather than just trying to “be positive.” It’s counter to how we usually try to coax ourselves into positive thinking.

Communicate what’s on your mind: try talking it out, and in the case that you’re upset by someone saying or doing something to you, try communicating it in a non-toxic and non-threatening way. Speak your mind, so that you don’t stew on what’s upsetting you.

Meditate: meditation can calm the otherwise wild and active mind. There are plenty of good resources out there to get you started. I like mindfulness meditation myself, something that can help you train yourself to detach from the compulsive negative thinking that the mind is used to producing.

Hope these ideas help. Bad moods come and go, but you don’t have to add fuel to the fire and make them worse. You also don’t want your bad mood to solidify into a personality structure, where you’re the guy in a permanently bad mood.

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About Jason

As "The Man That Men Will Talk To," Jason Fierstein, MA, LPC is a private practice counselor and psychotherapist for men and couples in the greater Phoenix, Arizona, area. He works with struggling men to find happiness in their lives, and with their wives.
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