Yesterday I was on a cross-country flight, and the man sitting next to me started yelling at me. He didn’t care for my perfume. I don’t wear perfume and told him that. He apologized, said he was having a bad day, and continued grumbling. I ended up putting on my headphones and listening to music so I could “tune out” his negative energy.
The interaction got me thinking.
This man was looking to blame someone for his bad mood. Or, at the very least, take his bad mood out on someone else, instead of owning it, working through it, and releasing it in a healthy centered manner. We’ve all been there and done this to some extent.
Is there a better way to handle it when you’re in a bad mood?
Here are some ideas. Let me know how they work for you.
- Recognize your bad mood and release it. While there are some situations, such as the lost of a loved one, that require time and love to heal from, most of our day-to-day “bad mood” generators are far less significant situations. Someone cuts us off in traffic or takes our parking spot. A co-worker says something to us that smarts. Our child forgets about a school project until the last minute. The list goes on. In these types of situations, our reaction and emotions are actually a choice. We can choose how to respond to a situation and whether or not we want to “hold on” to a feeling. Sometimes it is as simple as stopping, taking a couple deep breaths, and reminding ourselves that in the grand scheme of things, this situation is not worth the additional angst a bad mood would bring to it.
- If for some reason you can’t release your bad mood, acknowledge to yourself that you’re in a bad mood at the beginning of an interaction with someone so you are aware of it and how it could impact your responses. I’ve even gone so far as to tell someone I’m in a bad mood before we start talking. And when I do, interesting things happen. First, it gives both me and the person I’m talking with the option to say, “Do we want to talk at a different time?” Second, if we decided to continue the conversation, we are both aware of my emotional state. And third, the person I’m talking with often wants to help me get out of my bad mood!
- Go outside and take a walk. There is something about being outside in nature that is very calming. As you walk, breathe deeply and focus on the beauty you see in a tree, flower, animal or another person. Let nature’s energy flow through you and dissipate your bad mood.
It took years for me to be able to just acknowledge a bad mood. I believed I should overcome/power through/ignore it, because I should always be in a “good” and positive frame of mind. So much kinder to myself to acknowledge my feelings, and move through them.
Kinder and healthier! Little kids have this down pat – if something upsets them, they cry or get angry, feel the emotion, and then fully release it and go back to their normal happy state.