I’m in a Bad Mood; How do I Shake this Feeling Without Turning to Meds

It happens to everyone. You’re in a bad mood, dragging around, things seem out of kilter, you’re just not yourself, and you need time to work your way out of your funk. 

Triggers might be that you didn’t get the assignment you hoped for after trying so hard, your rent or monthly assessment climbed exorbitantly, or you’re simply greatly perturbed by all the bad news swirling in every direction.. 

Whatever the reason, your closest family and friends have compassion and try…and keep trying as they hear it in your voice, see it in your face, know it from your body language and are wise to what you’re doing and not doing. They pick up that you’re not enjoying any fun outings or taking your regular Zumba classes. They miss your interactions and care and might bombard you with concern and questions. 

“Anything I can do to help?” “Do you want to talk about things?” “Can I do this or do that for you while things are troubling you?” As you know well, it’s up to you to figure out a solution. At the same time, you know they mean well. 

That’s when you pull out your personal bag of tricks to lift the fog: either a walk or just some quiet time on a bench to enjoy nature, a trip to a favorite bakery, the purchase of something small and affordable such as a lipstick or even a pair of shoes, or a trip to a bookstore to sift through your favorite biographies, cookbooks or books of humor. 

Since many of us have a friend or loved one who has been in a bad mood, we want to be there for them. On the other hand, when someone is in that place, they often need their distance. Here are 10 ways to show your concern and care for someone who’s down in the dumps and, at the same time, if you’re the victim of a bad mood, help yourself shift to a sunnier disposition. In either scenario, be patient, or remember everyone has their own timetable. 

  1. The best is to be frank if you’re short-tempered or unavailable to others and let them know your bad mood has nothing to do with them. Say, “I’m in a bad mood, so I need some space to get over it, and I will.” Maybe you’ll talk about the reason and maybe you won’t, totally your prerogative.
  2. Be prepared when or if they give you the talk about breathing deeply or meditating or reminding you how lucky you are. Yes, lucky, lucky you. Here, you might reply, “I know you care, but that just isn’t helpful now. I am bummed about something specific. Everything else is good. I just need time to work myself out of it.” And you hope they won’t answer with anything more than a “yes, I get it.”
  3. Sometimes that might not work because they don’t listen to you or they think, in good faith, that they must fix it or you. So, they’ll jump in with variation B, a pep talk. You might have to reiterate your point. “Let’s talk about other stuff, maybe all about you and not me for a while.”
  4. Be kind with those who care keep trying. This may be hard but try. Perhaps they think they have a magic solution or wand to snap you out of your mood.
  5. If you need to take more drastic action and go MIA for a bit, say so too and be transparent. You can email this, so you don’t have to engage in a phone conversation. “This is just not a good time. Pretend I’m on a foreign mission or on an exotic safari and there’s no access to phones, cells or carrier pigeons. There are always smoke signals but that’s not environmentally practical with all the trees and brush that could cause a wildfire.” Explain that you’ll be back in touch when you can and have the bandwidth.
  6. When things start to improve, you might say the dark cloud is lifting and you’re returning to normalcy.
  7. Remember that humor is the best medicine, and if someone tries to be funny, don’t get annoyed or take it for a lack of compassion. They’re trying, yes, sometimes too hard. You can try to be funny, too, though humor is often hard to summon when your mood is dark and stormy.  
  8. Remind the person you appreciate them so much, so they don’t take your effort to be alone or a bit distant too personally.
  9. Consider putting up an out-of-office message on your cell or FB page to alert others you’re not available right now. Here, you might use humor and say something to the effect, “Gone fishing to find a good mood” or something else clever.
  10. When you’re back in business and want to interact, do the opposite and post a large sign that says, “Open for friendship. I just caught a good mood.”

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