Apr 8, 2010

Throw Out Your Bad Mood in 15 Minutes

I realize that I’m a moody woman. That’s why I felt so glad when I found this article, written by Lisa Ann Smith. It’s very useful for me; so I guess it’ll be useful for you also. Apply these 3 amazingly simple steps:

Step 1. Translate Your MoodAsk yourself these key questions to figure out what’s wrong.

  • What’s really bugging me? You’re irritable and sad, but you’re not sure why. Keep going back until you hit on the most disturbing thing, something that most affects you.

  • Am I avoiding something? Is there an irritating problem that has been building for months that you’ve been hoping would simply go away? Just acknowledging the bigger issue will take some pressure off.

  • Could it be more than one thing? It’s common to have various emotions rising up at the same time. When you have two or more pressing problems bringing you down, try to concentrate on them one by one.
Step 2. Calm Down
Start by taking a few deep breaths to get your emotions under control. Then choose one or more of the following techniques to help clear your mind.

  • Focus on breathing. Take 10 deep breaths. Breathing may help restore the balance between the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems, buffering your body’s natural reaction to stressful situations.

  • Make a pie chart. Draw a circle and create slices of a pie chart to represent all the things that are upsetting you. Include everything you can think of, even if it’s as mundane as the nonstop rain outside. The act of presenting your concerns visually clarifies things, making the problems easier to identify and therefore to manage.

  • Find a quiet place. Go someplace where you can have privacy to shut down the stimulation to your brain. If you’re at a busy place, head to the bathroom and take a few minutes for yourself. If you’re at home, go to your bedroom or a place that feels comforting.

  • Distract yourself. Read a favorite funny website, play with your pet, fold laundry, or wash dishes for a few minutes. Diversions allow your emotions to calm down. Your brain keeps processing the problem even when you’re not consciously thinking about it, so, you’ll be better able to deal with the issue once you return to it.

  • Get some exercise. If possible, go out for a brisk walk, or do some yoga poses. It will lead you to think more clearly.

  • Blow off steam. Call a patient friend. Be sure to tell her you’re not trying to fix anything―you just want a listener.
Step 3. Create a StrategyThe tips below will help you fix the situation that caused your bad mood. Do all three in sequence. If you’re still in a bad mood condition, consider making an appointment with a therapist.

  • Talk to a problem-solver. Discuss things you can do to feel better as well as fix the problem.

  • Make a list. It should include things that will make you feel better, like sending flowers to your husband, calling Dad’s doctor to discuss his progress, or going to the gym at lunchtime. This list forces you to structure your concerns and help you move into problem-solving mode. Number the items in the order that you want to accomplish them.

  • Visualize your ideal. Take a few minutes to close your eyes and picture what you want in the moment, as if it’s actually happening. For instance, after you and your sister argue, imagine the two of you having a great time over dinner at your favorite restaurant. The memories of the fight will be replaced by a positive picture of harmony and fun.
Source:realsimple.com (image illustrated by Sophie Blackall)

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