Have you ever questioned how much control you have over your bad moods or habitual states of negative emotion? Life isn’t always easy, but we do have complete control over our state of mind. Here are 3 ways to improve your mood no matter what life throws at you.
1. Change your physiology
Emotion is created by motion, and the body is a trigger for state. We develop habits of state that create habits of behavior and these behavior patterns shape our life. How does your body look when you feel depressed, anxious, scared, or angry? If you think about feeling any of these emotions, you know how your body would move based on your mood. Would your breathing be deep or shallow, would your voice be quiet or loud? You also know how your body behaves when you feel extremely happy or excited. You stand taller, you smile, and your breath is deep. How do you look after you’ve done something that you feel intensely proud of? It is physically impossible to feel bad when you change your physiology to behave as you would if you were in a good mood. It automatically shifts your energy to a more positive state. Sometimes we don’t want to change our state because it feels good to sulk, be angry, or feel sorry for ourselves, so just be aware that you are making the choice to feel bad.
2. Change your focus
Whatever you are focused on, you feel. Have you ever accused someone of doing something that they didn’t actually do? They deny it, but you believe it so intensely that it becomes real for you? The more you focus on it, the angrier you get, and when you realize that you falsely accused them, you feel bad. Look at all of the time and energy you spent feeling angry, and for what? Stop focusing on the negative and begin to see things as they are, not worse than they are. It takes no guts or courage to be a pessimist. Once you can begin to see the situation as it is, see it better than it is. If you change your perception of something it can change the meaning, and if you shift your focus, you can change your state.
Think of a time in your life when something really amazing happened for you. Maybe it was your first kiss, the first time you fell in love, landed your dream job, or had your first child. It was a joyful pivotal moment. Now close your eyes and reenact it in your mind. See what you saw, hear what you heard, and feel what you felt. Spend a few moments reliving this event. (That actually means stop reading this for a minute and do the exercise)
How did you feel when you were in that moment? Did it change your current state? Whenever you are feeling down, come back to this moment and relive it again. Whatever you focus on you feel.
3. Change your language
The words you attach to your experience become your experience biochemically. Some people have a habit of using the same negative language regularly. Saying things like: I’m mortified, I’m FURIOUS, I don’t feel well, or I’m tired, can make you feel worse than you actually feel. If you say that something is going to be hard, it will be. When you become aware of your language on a regular basis you may be shocked at how negatively you speak, whether out loud or to yourself. Once you start to speak of things more positively, you will find a shift in your attitude as well.
For those of you who live life with a “glass half empty” attitude, if you seem to be in a funk, or are simply having a bad day, I challenge you to try these simple techniques. You might be surprised at how easy it is to shift from a bad mood, to just being happy for no good reason.