“Wow, am in a bad mood!”
When is the last time you said that? (Or, the last time somebody said it about you.)
I don’t know anyone who doesn’t occasionally, or often, find themselves in one of those moods where you generally feel annoyed, irritated, grouchy.
Often, you can’t exactly put your finger on what’s bothering you. Nothing in particular. And everything. And everybody.
If you’re also living with diabetes, the emotional and physical ups and downs, and the unexpected challenges that you learn to expect, can leave you that much more vulnerable to a bad mood.
When you get hit by a bad mood, and don’t do anything to get out of it, you risk sinking deeper into negative territory. This can have an impact on your emotional and physical wellness. And leave you more likely to experience stress. Also, you may end up taking a few innocent bystanders along for the ride, including your loved ones. That’s not a very healthy place to be.
So what can you do to break out of that bad mood? Well, a lot of things. Here are some tools to give you a hand – the upper hand:
First, talk to your doctor. If you feel your mood going up and down, or staying down, then start by finding out if the cause is physical. Your medications, your medication schedule, your diet, your activity level, lack of sleep… all of these factors can affect your mood. As they say, it’s always a good idea to err on the side of caution. Start your mood management by having a talk with your doctor and reviewing your treatment and self-care strategy.
Talk to yourself. See if you can figure out what’s wrong. Go off to a quiet place and ask yourself what’s bothering you. Disappointed about something? Afraid? Angry? Your bad mood may be the result of some feelings that you haven’t acknowledged, or a reaction to an event. Is there something “eating at you” that you need to solve? Or accept and move on?
Retreat! Get out of the house… office… etc. A change of scenery can make the world seem a whole lot brighter. Take a drive or a walk, run an errand, go out for coffee. Or just move to a different room.
Talk it out. Call a friend or family member who can be a good listener while you do the talking, who can be supportive and maybe even help you to get to what’s bothering you. Or jump in here and post a discussion. Chances are, you’ll get a response or two, or more, from people who have felt the same way.
Write it out. Sit down with a pad and a pen, or a blank computer screen, and write about how you are feeling and why. This might help you to figure out what’s really bothering you. You might see some patterns in your thinking that are contributing to your bad moods. And you might just get some of that frustration out of your system.
Work it out. Getting some exercise can help to generate some of those feel good hormones that act as an antidote to all that negativity. This can mean going to the gym, but it doesn’t have to. Anything that gets you moving, even a little bit, and in a way that is safe and comfortable for you, can at least give you the sense of accomplishment that helps to improve your mood.
Distract yourself. Get your mind off your bad mood by getting involved in something that is calming, and that you enjoy. Music is an excellent distraction. Read a book, watch a movie (be careful what you choose), get out and enjoy nature, or sit in a comfortable chair and look out the window.
Change your self-talk. Hearing your own voice telling you how awful things are? Turn the tape off and replace it with positive messages. Start by asking yourself if things are really this bad. Remind yourself of what’s going well in your life. And tell yourself that moods are only temporary.
Breathe. Take a few calming breaths, tell yourself that you are okay, that you aren’t in danger, that bad moods come and go. Imagine a calm place, a happy memory, someone you care about. Keep breathing. Relax.
Update your gratitude list. If you have to scramble to come up with the positives in your life, then it might help to keep a list. What are you grateful for? Ask yourself this every morning. Write it down. Wrap your mind around it before you get the day started. Smile!
Give to someone in need. We all have people in our lives that could use a little compassion, maybe a few friendly words, a smile, a hug, a phone call. When you give of yourself, you benefit the other person and you benefit yourself. Compassion is a boomerang. And a great antidote for negativity. And keep in mind that there is always someone right here who would appreciate a reply with words of support and hope!
Talk to a professional. Mental health professionals are trained to help their clients understand the patterns of thinking that can lead to bad moods, and to learn techniques to have a more positive outlook on life. But a mental health professional can also diagnose any underlying issues, such as depression, and recommend a treatment plan. Don’t go through this alone.
Keep in mind…
You don’t have to be the victim of your moods. Feelings are only feelings, and we don’t have to be controlled by them or defined by them or otherwise made miserable by them. Try some of the tools I described. See which ones work best for you. Come up with your own personal strategy for breaking out of your bad moods.