Bad moods are the result of holding painful emotions over time. Your emotions are messages that inform you that you either are, or are not, getting what you want. Painful emotions like anger, sadness, fear, shame and loneliness indicate that you are not getting what you want.
If you do not respond to your emotions, you will continue to stew in them and they will become moods. Bad moods create a great deal of suffering and are rarely useful. Here are 7 steps to follow to manage bad moods and reduce the amount of time you spend in a funk.
1) Admit that it is happening. Practice your self-awareness and internally directed compassion; notice when you are feeling bad.
2) Usually the information that underlies the bad mood is useful – there is something that you want that you are not getting. The information is valid, but ask yourself, “Is the energetic impact useful?”
3) If not, resolve to change your mood.
4) Courageously feel the mood as physical sensation (which is often on your midline in the torso). Breathe deeply to allow the physical sensation to be there without energetic or postural collapse.
5) The mood is about what you do not want. Keep breathing and think about what you do want. Honor your desire and make it vivid in your mind.
6) Give yourself a pep talk about the steps you have been, and plan on taking to make what you want a reality.
This process is useful in reducing the intensity and pain of most bad moods. It can also be of value to acknowledge that you have been actively doing something to perpetuate the mood. Most people create bad moods by mentally reviewing the cause of their original painful emotion and build a case for why it is appropriate for them to feel bad. “I can’t believe that she lied to me! I am just so outraged and offended! I just can’t trust her about anything! And on..” How could you feel good with this kind of negative internal dialogue going on?
If you are able to notice how exactly you are perpetuating a given mood, you might consider replacing that behavior with something more uplifting.
Managing your emotions and moods is essential to staying centered and having a happy life. If you would like more tools for doing this, consider contacting me and doing some personal work on these skills!