Moods can feel intense and shift with the wind. They have affected my day, my decisions, and the people around me. In efforts to manage them or perceive myself as having some control over them, I have tried one or more of these 12 ideas at a time to either prevent or stabilize seemingly dramatic moods.
- Fully feel them. Like with burnout, “a feeling fully felt goes away” is still the best but requires the most patience and understanding. So much energy goes into attempting to change a mood or resist a feeling, but allowing it to run its course and accepting your full spectrum of emotions can be more effective. You won’t grow into a monster by accepting a feeling. Clearly voicing your emotion (“I feel sad”) might be enough to let it go. You aren’t quick to change your happy moods, so honor them all the same!
2. Tea is relaxing like chamomile, or I like a pinch of motherwort to feel calm and grounded. Motherwort supposedly assists with symptoms of menstrual cycles, although too much has drowsy effects. Turmeric tea is so earthy you may need honey or coconut oil to balance it, but it’s my go-to when I need a boost (plus it does wonders for the immune system!).
3. Music can make all the difference in a mood, even with just one song. When I’m “fully feeling” I might keep music on that reflects how I feel, but when I’m ready to make a change, I have a special playlist of songs that never fail to liven me up with the beat.
4. Writing helps me because I love it, but you don’t have to have any kind of relationship with it to feel its therapeutic effects. You could do a free-write by hand or type a document of whatever comes to mind for 5 or more minutes. Maybe you choose to discard it after. You could also try writing something creative like a story or poem.
When I want minimum effort for full effects, I jot down a list of everything that is upsetting me. Next to it I write a list of everything I am grateful for or details that make me happy. They must be paired! Dumping everything upsetting until you’re empty works best when you fill back up with positive alternatives. Positive alternatives alone risk toxic positivity, or disregard and de-valuing your feelings for not being optimistic enough. Doing both even works when I can’t seem to identify what is bothering me or the source of my mood. You’d be surprised what a little writing can reveal.
5. Aromas from your favorite candles or essential oils have calming effects, particularly lavender. I keep eucalyptus sprigs tied to my shower head for many benefits, but the smell evoked by the steam is especially refreshing. If you are able to readily access other smells, they may trigger a specific memory for you that cures through reminiscence. Cooking sometimes works for me too.
6. Get your energy moving! If you can get outside for a change of air or go for a walk/run, great, otherwise stretching, yoga, or jumping does the trick. Lately I’ve been trying Qigong and you can actually feel the energy you’re moving between your hands!
7. Eating well or eating consistently has made a difference for me as well. Some irrationality surfaces until I remember it’s been a few hours since I’ve had something to eat. Hunger directly shifts mood. When I need a snack, I try depending on availability, to go for something rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants or properties in for example, blueberries, are supposed to help subside symptoms of anxiety and depression. Carbs feed depressive symptoms even though they temporarily feel therapeutic. Certainly don’t feel guilty by the choices you make, but know they make a difference.
8. Splash water on your face. This one is a bit random, but this refreshment has made a short-term difference in my perspective.
9. Colors! There is psychology behind the subconscious effects of colors, and I find that the colors I choose to wear can inform how I feel for the day. Instead of wearing them, have vibrant options near you to look at. With confidence I can say I haven’t been in an upset mood while wearing orange.
10. Identify the switch and monitor your patterns. When a feeling surfaces, if you can trace back to its potential cause you will be aware and possibly be able to change your reactions to all sorts of stimuli. Too much social media use and seeking instant feeling changes can have long-term effects on your disposition, self-perception, and general outlook. Similarly, drinking alcohol may sometimes “take the edge off,” but it usually ends up exaggerating whatever mood and mindset you had prior to your first sip. So, consider other options and be aware of what affects you.
I know people who have daily mood charts in their schedules so they can track monthly patterns of how they feel. You may notice the start of a new month takes adjusting for you, or mood shifts happen around a particular event or activity.
11. Change your expectations around moods. Notice how the thoughts in your head change with your moods. If you consider feelings of frustration or sadness as a “bad” mood, you’re only going to feel worse about being in these states. No feelings are “bad,” it’s a matter of not feeling your best or being unaware of the reactions and behaviors they drive in you. When you’re angry, if you expect to pick a fight, you probably will. Take time to express it differently, and learn to change what is expected of you when you feel a certain way.
12. Rest. Adequate sleep of course levels out emotions and reactions to stress. Allowing yourself to rest quietly and wait out a passing mood is way to take care of yourself. When you are emotionally drained, your body needs rest just as it does when you’re physically unwell. I’m not suggesting you pause your life every time you are unhappy, but we all need breaks to refuel at one point or another.
Ride the wave in the ocean of your emotions! If you like this page, please share it.