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7 ways to get out of a bad mood

7 ways to get out of a bad mood

3 min read
  • Stress management & well-being

Bobby McFerrin famously sang “Don’t worry, be happy”.

But that’s easier said than done, right? Sometimes we find ourselves stuck in a huff and we don’t know why, or maybe we do know why, but we still struggle to break out of it.

Being in a bad mood has a powerful effect; it leads to more social rejectionworse problem solving skills, and an inability to stop unwanted thoughts. So what does psychological research tell us about how to get out of a bad mood? Here are 7 tips:

7 ways to get out of a bad mood

7 strategies to boost your mood

1. Go for a run

Exercise is a great way to lift your spirits; just a 10-minute run is shown to increase positive feelings and mood. Exercise releases dopamine in your brain acting much in the same way anti-depressants do!

2. Be more optimistic

Just thinking that positive things will happen to you in the future improves mood. Optimistic people live a higher quality of life than pessimists. In fact, optimism leads to better emotional flexibility, problem solving, and rationalising despite negative situations.

3. Positive imagery

Much like being optimistic, imagining yourself succeeding or being the best you can be helps bring about a good mood. If you’re feeling down, actively taking time to think or write about your best-possible self brings about a positive change in mood. To read more about this, check out our blog about visualization in either education before an exam or in sport before a match.

4. Take a deep breath

Slow deliberate breathing and movement has a whole host of positive effects. These techniques are shown to reduce negative feelings such as depression, anger, fatigue, and anxiety.

5. Take a nap

Extended periods of being awake or feelings of fatigue and exhaustion will increase negative emotions. To offset that, a single hour-long nap leads to increased feelings of joy and happiness. By both countering situations that lead to negative affects and bringing on positive affects, napping is a powerful tool to snap out of a bad mood. For more tips on how to sleep your way to success, check out our 9 Common Sleep Mistakes and How to Fall Asleep Quicker blogs.

6. Treat yourself

Everyone loves treating themselves to a little bit of “retail therapy”, but you can now justify it with science! The consumption of these self-indulgent treats has a lasting positive effect on mood, beyond their immediate enjoyment. Furthermore, even unplanned “impulse buys” (in moderation) that are done with the purpose of improving mood do not lead to feelings of guilt or regret later on.

7. Listen to music

Music is a powerful tool when it comes to emotions. Happy music is an effective distraction from bad feelings. In research people who listened to upbeat, positive music when they were in a poor mood did a better job of repairing their mood and had a more optimistic (remember from earlier?) view of their ability to fix their mood.

We will teach your students to thrive under pressure with key stress management skills. Ideal in the lead up to exams.

More optimism tips

For even more tips on using mindset to improve your mood, why not check out our blog on 7 Ways to be More Optimistic?

About the editor

Bradley Busch

Bradley Busch

Bradley Busch is a Chartered Psychologist and a leading expert on illuminating Cognitive Science research in education. As Director at InnerDrive, his work focuses on translating complex psychological research in a way that is accessible and helpful. He has delivered thousands of workshops for educators and students, helping improve how they think, learn and perform. Bradley is also a prolific writer: he co-authored four books including Teaching & Learning Illuminated and The Science of Learning, as well as regularly featuring in publications such as The Guardian and The Telegraph.

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