you & me

10 Ways to Kick a Bad Mood’s Ass.

 

Everyone feels down sometimes. On the flip side, there is always something that ends up happening which makes us return to happiness.

In a sense, time always does us a favor if we are patient. Over the years, I started listing all the events that put me in a better place when I was struggling. Now, when I start feeling down, I’ll pull up the list and put it to work. I’d like to share 10 of the items on my list in hopes of helping anyone who needs a boost.

  1. Don’t talk about it: I know this sounds counter-intuitive, since we are always told to express ourselves and open up. But when all you do is talk about problems, you spread negativity and make the problem larger. You re-live the issue every time you talk about it without acting out a solution. Perhaps if you just sat with the mood long enough, it would pass. Or if you talk about something else and engage in an outside activity, the mood will naturally go away.

  2. Do something small that you’ve been wanting to do for a long time: Go to a new restaurant, start a new book, check out a new spot in nature, try a new recipe or a new workout. Seeing something novel stimulates positive feelings. It makes life more worth it.

  3. Realize your own impermanence: If this were your last day on earth, would you want to spend it in a bad mood? Sometimes the thought of death can inspire gratefulness for being alive. You can’t be in a bad mood when you are grateful. Like Jack Kerouac says, “I promise I shall never give up, and that I’ll die yelling and laughing.”

  4. Remind yourself that you and everyone around you is doing their best: We often get down on ourselves if we think something could have gone better than we expected. “Am I a bad person?” “I wish I didn’t do that.” “What will they think?” None of us plan for things to go wrong. If you didn’t go into a scenario with ill intentions, then you should remain grounded and confident in your decisions. There will always be someone who doesn’t approve, but if you know you’ve done your best, that’s all that matters. The perspective of seeing that everyone has good intentions gives you the ability to let yourself and other people off the hook.

  5. Consider a minimalist perspective: It’s easy to think we need a lot more than we have to be happy. Adapting a non-materialistic attitude can save you a lot of time wallowing in a sea of lack. All we really need is food, water, shelter and love. There is always someone in the world who has something more than you do. More possessions, more beauty, more friends, more whatever. The problem is that no matter how much shit you acquire, you never will become anybody but you. The real solution is to love yourself, and be confident that you aren’t lacking anything. Acting kindly to others will draw more great things into your life than anything you could buy.

  6. Humor, humor and more humor: Things get serious so fast. There is a fine line between humor and tragedy, which comes down to our ability to laugh at a situation or take it seriously. I honestly think that the best philosophy is to see life as the biggest joke ever created. I see myself as this town idiot who is tossed down a hill smashing into trees along the way. Some of the trees hurt and some of them feel good, but whatever I hit, it’s comedic. Like, when someone eats shit in a funny movie. Every scenario I find myself in is hilarious (sometimes intentionally). When I’m in a bad mood, I’ll often put on a funny show, read satire news, or pull up a funny meme account, and before I know it, the world doesn’t seem so bad. Laughter is medicine. Surround yourself with people who can laugh at everything.

  7. Help somebody else: Buy someone a gift, ask a friend how they’ve been, help others in any way you can. It feels good to contribute to somebody else’s happiness. When we are in a bad mood, we are primarily focused on ourselves. Not only does doing something nice for someone else get us away from our own misery, it also gives us a reason to love ourselves again. In The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, it says that we can either be selfish stupid or selfish wise. Selfish stupid is thinking of ourselves all day and being miserable. Selfish wise is helping somebody else because it makes us happy. In both scenarios, there’s a focus on the self and that’s okay. Pick the wise version.

  8. Throw your identity out the window: Ridding yourself of identity enables you to see more similarities in other people rather than differences. Single, married, athletic, lazy, independent, religious, political, romantic, blah blah blah. These are all just groups we put ourselves in that create separations between ourselves and other people. “If you’re married, you need to follow these rules, single people act this way, women wear these clothes, men can’t have feelings, yogis use natural products, people who take barre wear these shoes…” — identities enslave us. As Hui Hai said, “Act as you will; go on as you feel, without a second thought. This is the incomparable Way.” Fuck a doctrine and fuck an identity. When I let go of my identity, I feel liberated, I feel open to more people, and can then be happier.

  9. Meditate: Just for 10-20 minutes. I will use the apps Gaia, headspace, or pull up a meditation on YouTube. The act of tuning into my breath and body can be a miracle in curing a bad mood. Most meditations have some profound wisdom, or lessons on compassion, that make me feel a greater sense of love for humanity and myself. The act of deep breathing alone relieves a lot of stress and anxiety.

  10. Blast “Hit me with your best shot” by Pat Benatar and scream the lyrics in the mirror while wearing the sexiest outfit you own: Remember that you are a free spirit, powerful motherfucker, and don’t take shit from anyone, especially not yourself. Put on a song that brings some energy into your life. You’re a badass, you’re free, nothing is so bad. Moreover, there is never anything wrong with putting on some sexy clothes and feeling fully yourself.

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Jenna Rubin was born a freedom fighter. A rebel to society, she dropped out of high school and deemed herself a philosopher. Questioning society all of her life, she became drawn to the comfort of nature. The sound of the ocean, a place to lay her head, and a lack of hunger are all she needs to be happy. She has found this lifestyle in San Diego, CA where she spends her time wandering, moving, and revolting against social norms such as marriage, makeup, technology and employment. She believes living simply, and connecting with others through love, is the only way to beat the system. You could contact Jenna via email or Twitter.

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