Use these seven, easy steps to go from grumpy to great!
1. Eat the “right” things
It’s tempting to reach straight for the biscuit tin as soon as you’re having a bad day, but sugary snacks are the last thing you need – they raise your mood and send it crashing back down. Yikes. ‘The higher your sugar intake the more severe your symptoms are likely to be,’ says nutritionist Marilyn Glenville. Instead, go for snacks that release energy slowly, but still boost mood like Bounce balls, or low-gi fruit like berries.
2. Move it
It’s well established that doing exercise can have a mood-boosting effect by releasing feel-good brain chemical endorphins. However, if you’re struggling to squeeze in a strenuous gym workout, don’t fret. Research from the University of Birmingham has found taking a lunchtime stroll could combat slumps in enthusiasm and focus. Put it in your diary, and make it non-negotiable.
3. Try mindfulness
Elisha Goldstein, author of Uncovering Happiness (Atria Books, £7.99), has this mindfulness trick to pull you out of a bad mood. ‘Get in a comfortable position. Check in with your body: Is there any tension or tightness there? If there is any tension, see if this awareness allows you to gently soften it. Place one hand on your heart and one hand on your abdomen. Be aware of the sensation of touch and also that this is an act of caring about yourself.’ And breathe…
4. Find your sad song
Yep, you read that right. Sad music can evoke positive emotions as much as happy music according to a study published in the journal PLOS ONE. ‘Sad music has the potential to regulate negative moods and emotions,’ says study author Liila Taruffi. Many respondents said that when they were in a bad mood, experiencing sadness through music provided an emotional boost. New Adele track anyone?
5. Get outside
Light and mood are intrinsically linked – it’s why some people can feel low during the winter months when the days are shorter. A study from Zayed University in the United Arab Emirates showed a strong link between positive moods and time spent outdoors. Researchers believe it might be related to increased levels of vitamin D, which is boosted when you go outside. Try to walk in the morning when your resolve is stronger.
6. Make a plan for your mood
Find you’re always getting up on the wrong side of the bed on certain days? Experts from the University of Sheffield found people can avoid the effects of a bad mood by forming a plan designed to control their actions. Participants were asked to finish the sentence “If I am in a negative mood, then I will…” by selecting different strategies, such as breathing deeply or thinking positive thoughts, and it helped to reduce the impact of bad moods.
7. If all else fails, embrace it
If you’re still struggling to pull yourself out of your mood, just embrace it. According to Professor Joe Forgas from the University of New South Wales in Australia, a grumpy person can cope with more demanding situations than a happy one because of the way the brain “promotes information processing strategies”. So there are times when it’s ok to be grouch – but if it happens too regularly, or you can’t seem to regain perspective, speak to your doctor.