Do you have a bad mood? Considering today’s environment of uncertainty and chaos, it’s pretty common. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports an increase in depression and anxiety in 2020 over 2019. Their study showed that 40% of adults currently struggle with mental health or substance abuse. But, we cannot stay depressed, anxious, or suicidal. We need ways to lift mood that are easy and help immediately. We also need strategies to keep our spirits up so we don’t fall back into a bad mood. First, let’s talk about why moods are important. Then, we can better understand why we need to lift mood.
Why Your Mood is Important
You are never without a mood. While your mood may change, you always have a set of feelings and views at any given time. Good, bad, or indifferent, your mood is important to your mental, cognitive, and physical health.
What Are Moods?
Moods and emotions work together as part of a complex arrangement of how you view and feel about the world. According to doctors at Psychology Today, moods differ from emotions because they:
- Last longer than emotions
- Are more general than emotions
- Are not as intense as emotions
Emotions can change very quickly. For example, people can be happy one minute and angry just a few minutes later, depending on changes in their situation. But that anger can pass quickly, too, if a person is in a good mood. In contrast, moods can last days or even weeks.
8 Types of Moods
Did you know that we experience more than just a good or bad mood? A paper in the International Journal of Design lists eight moods ranging from unpleasant to pleasant and energized to calm.
The moods identified include:
Most people identify their mood as being happy or sad or perhaps excited or calm. However, psychologists divide moods into distinct groups to better clarify them. In contrast, researchers have identified over a dozen different basic emotions and numerous combinations that create complex emotional states.
Many people don’t think about their mood or recognize what mood they’re in until they consider why they responded to a situation in a certain way. This is because moods are less intense and noticeable to most people, while emotions are typically easy to identify or spot in yourself and others.
Moods Affect Your Perception and Thoughts
Neuroscientists have discovered that your mood affects what you notice about the world and how you process your thoughts to solve problems. A good mood causes you to consider your internal feelings and consider what is happening in the world around you. A bad mood turns your attention inward on yourself and blocks external input.
This is important because cognitive control, or the ability to process internal or external input, allows you to focus on a complex task. For example, you may need to block out the sounds of a barking dog or the rain outside your window to balance your checkbook. But when you’re in a good mood, your perception is more open to considering how you feel and how external circumstances can influence you.
When you’re in a bad mood, you don’t notice anything outside of yourself. For example, a person in a good mood who is taking a walk will notice flowers along the path. On the other hand, a person in a bad mood is so caught up thinking about their feelings and emotions that they won’t notice the flowers.
Because of the difference in perception between moods, how you process information to think and solve problems also differs. A person in a good mood is more likely to see multiple viewpoints and possible solutions. But a person in a bad mood can’t focus beyond their negative emotions.
Mood Affects How You Spend Your Time
Psychologists at Stanford University determined that people in a good mood will choose to do tasks that they don’t enjoy but need to accomplish. In contrast, people in a bad mood usually decide to do activities that make them feel better. They ignore everything else. So, the motivation to perform and complete tasks is based on a person’s mood.
Clutter and unfinished tasks can also contribute to a bad mood. It becomes a vicious cycle of not getting things done because you’re in a bad mood and then being in a bad mood because you’re not getting things done. Accomplishing things when you’re in a good mood helps increase self-esteem because you feel good about what you’ve done. Thus, it also helps ward off a bad mood.
Mood Affects What Your Eat
Nutritionists at the Healthy Food Guide state that people often eat poorly because of stress or a bad mood. These unhealthy foods can become a way for people to find pleasure that they don’t get in other areas of their lives. In addition, alcohol and drug abuse are also linked to mood disorders because they offer temporary comfort and the illusion of a better mood.
Why We Get in a Bad Mood
Now that we have a better understanding of what moods are and how they impact our well-being, let’s talk more about bad moods. Why is it that some people, no matter how much bad stuff happens to them, always seem to be able to look on the bright side of things? And then there’s others who always seem to have a cloud over their heads? One reason is that some people tend to always focus on their circumstances instead of on Jesus. They need to find peace by changing their focus. Because finding peace is essential to lift mood.
But, this is easier for some people than for others. Why is that? It’s because there are certain things that make us more susceptible to bad moods.
5 Things That Impact Our Ability to Lift Mood
Poor Health Makes it Hard to Lift Mood
Psychologists agree that if you are struggling with physical health issues, including everything from a toothache to a chronic disease, it can affect your mental health and mood. In addition, endocrine disorders directly affect the hormones that regulate mood. Other health issues that can affect your mood include:
Exercising to lift mood doesn’t have to be a 60-minute workout. The key, researchers say, is to keep moving as much as possible. You can take stretch breaks during the day, take a walk around the block instead of sitting in front of the TV, or dance your way across the kitchen when you’re making dinner. Some studies even show that exercise can improve mood as well as many prescription medications.
Secondly, you’ve probably felt tired, sluggish, or crabby after overeating junk food full of salt and sugar. So, doctors recommend eating healthy Omega-3 and Omega-6 fats, like fish and avocados, to get more energy naturally and lift mood.
Another thing to consider is that sleep and mood work together in a cycle. If you don’t sleep well or don’t get enough sleep, it can ruin your mood the next day. Your bad mood can then make it harder to sleep well at night.
Lastly, smoking cigarettes allows toxins to enter your body. Some researchers believe that these toxins may contribute to your mood. Researchers at Psychology Today magazine point out that almost half the people diagnosed with a mental illness, including mood disorders, are smokers.
According to a study in Frontiers of Endocrinology, science has linked gene variants to how people respond to changes in the year’s seasons and their biological, 24-hour clock. How seasonal change and time changes influence specific genes can affect your mood. So, seasonal and time changes are scientifically recognized as affecting mood. Even MRI findings have confirmed these effects.
Abuse Makes it Hard to Lift Mood
Doctors and psychologists have found that any form of abuse, physical, sexual, or psychological, can lead to poor mental health that affects mood. Ongoing abuse can also lead to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Since abuse is a framework for bad moods and mental health disorders, it’s critical to get help if you are experiencing any form of abuse.
Your Social Life
Relationships, whether romantic or just friends, and all your social connections can affect your mood. You probably notice that when your husband is in a bad mood, it affects your mood, too. But, sharing your frustrations with a trusted friend can help lift mood. On the other hand, feeling alone and isolated often makes a bad mood feel even worse.
Researchers at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health found that happiness spreads through three degrees of separation among social connections. This is how it works. If you are happy, your friends’ friends will also be happy. If you say something nice to the store clerk because you’re in a good mood, you improve their mood. They may go home and say something nice to their partner or children. This is how your social life and who you spend time with can affect your mood.
Your Attitude Impacts Your Ability to Lift Mood
Remember how I mentioned the impact of faith? This is where that comes in. How you view life’s challenges affects your mood. Being optimistic, mindful, and knowing how to relax all play a crucial role in how you feel. There are many techniques to help you improve your attitude and mood, including:
- Breathing Exercises
- Creating a Gratitude Journal
Many people report improved moods when they learn to manage stress. Creating a gratitude journal helps you focus on positive things and improve your mood. Grab one of these Gratitude Journals to get you started.
How to Lift Mood in Minutes with These 6 Activities
How do you cheer yourself up and lift your mood when life gets you down? There are many possibilities to lift your mood in a fun and positive way. Taking care of your physical, mental, and spiritual health in all aspects helps you live your best life.
You can create your mood, and you are in control of lifting your mood any time that you choose to be. Let’s check out some great mood-lifting activities.
Focus On Good Things to Lift Mood
Turn your attention to positive things. Focus on what’s good in your day. It does not have to be anything deep. It can be simple small things. Think about those things you are working towards, looking forward to, or striving for. Remember to focus on gratitude as well. Taking time to appreciate whatever small thing is good in your life does amazing things for your mood.
A change of scenery and routine from time to time is a mood booster. Getting some new views and changing up your routine is a great way to feel happier, calmer, and better overall. Go outside, breathe fresh air, be happy. Outdoor activities are also often great exercise. And, getting outside has been shown to lift mood.
Go On An Adventure to Lift Mood
Take a random adventure. It doesn’t have to be expensive, or complicated, just something that you don’t normally do. The change of scenery is a great way to lift your mood and experience joy. Get creative with planning for things that offer an authentic experience. Adventures don’t have to be expensive. Enjoy a new experience.
Have Fun to Lift Mood
Do whatever you enjoy that is good for you. Relax, snack, play, chill, hang out, see friends, go to the gym. Pursue your passions and give yourself permission to do the things you love. Don’t have hobbies or know what might bring you the most joy? Then, consider what you did as a child when you had free time to play. Do that thing. Guilt-free.
Focus On Others
Focusing on others can be as simple as helping out a friend. This could also be volunteering to do some good in the world. However, it goes, focusing on a task outside of yourself is good for the soul. Getting outside of your head, your concerns and your bubble is a great mood lifter.
Clean, Organize and Refresh
Yes, it’s time to get organized. Clean your desk or office. Clean your room. Clearing physical space can help you feel more mentally organized and productive. A great way for some easy mood boosting is accomplishing some of these often put off tasks. Getting organized can be a mental relief and an organic mood lifter. Consider getting rid of, donating, or selling items that take up space but that you definitely do not use.
Lift Your Mood Today!
Understand how you got in that bad mood and how it can impact your life if you let it. Don’t stay there! Try these tips and grab this free list of 100 Ways to Elevate Your Mood.