Three Ways to Quickly Shift Your Mood
One of the most powerful things I’ve been learning and believing in my life lately is that I have much more control over my emotions and mood than I’ve given myself credit for in the past. By nature I’m a very emotional person. And by that I mean that I experience a broad range of emotions often and sometimes in short periods of time. I get excited and energized very easily, I feel deep joy and delight over even the smallest of things, and I am also quick to cry and feel sensitive and sympathetic emotions rising up in me. On the darker side, I can move to feelings of anger or frustration quicker than I’d like to admit at times (oh hi future boyfriend please don’t leave just yet, I promise I make this rollercoaster fun ;) Bottom line: I am not an even-tempered person, and with this truth comes a lot of beauty, and then some difficulties as well.
Being someone who is also pretty attuned to her emotions, and self-aware as to what might be causing them, I think I’ve been able to do a pretty good job at identifying what might be causing my current “mood” and then have compassion or insight as to what’s going on with me emotionally. But it wasn’t until more recently where I learned several tried and true methods to pretty quickly and drastically turn my mood or emotions around.
As an aside I’ll say that there are times when I believe it’s good and very important to sit with certain feelings and not quickly brush them away, allowing our body to physically move and work through a situation. But there are other times (especially when they involve misplaced anger or frustration), when I know it doesn’t serve me to sit or dwell in those emotions, and it’s been so helpful, and feels so good, to know how to move through them quicker so I can get in a better place. Or even just up-level the good mood I’m in to an even better one!
There are two approaches to this: one being personal alignment practices (things that are specific to you, that you know typically help to elevate your mood – I wrote about mine and this process in length here), and then there are physical/mental practices you can do that scientifically are able to reset the mood you’re in and actually change your brain waves to a different, more relaxed state (from Beta, which is our active and faster brainwave state, into Alpha or Theta which is when the brain slows way down and is in a more restful, intuitive and healing state). I first learned about these from Jess Lively’s podcast, but I believe this is a practice Abraham Hicks talks about as well (you can also look up lots of videos on this approach too).
So the 3 tactics that are scientifically shown to change your current brain state are: sleep, meditation, and focusing on deep gratitude for an extended period of time. If there is a mood or emotion I just can’t seem to shake, one of these practices always works for me. Pretty self-explanatory, but here are just a few notes on each one:
Remember when you were a toddler (well maybe not, but you probably have witnessed a toddler go through this) and your Mom would say, “looks like someone needs a nap” when you were feeling cranky and fussy? It’s cuz it works. Sure when you were younger the cause of a bad mood was possibly because you were simply tired to begin with, and as we get older that still could be true, but is not always the sole cause of a bad mood. But it’s accurate that a nap or a night’s sleep does wonders to stop our mood and let our bodies and brains reset. So if there’s a time when you’re experiencing deep anger, grief, frustration, etc., sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself is just try to sleep, not as an avoidance (you can still find ways to work through those feelings), but as a self-soothing technique to at least get yourself into a better place before proceeding.
This is another way to change your current state. While learning how to meditate on a deep level can take some dedication and practice, even just the act of turning off all outside distractions, finding a quiet place to sit and close my eyes, and focusing on slowing my thoughts way down, even for 5 min, makes a big difference. It’s how I get reconnected to God and my source of full acceptance, love, and peace and remind myself on a very deep level that I am ok and everything is going to be ok.
It’s proven that focusing on things we’re grateful for physically benefits our bodies and mind, and by spending an extended amount of time in a state of gratitude, we’re delivering multiple, consistent hits of dopamine to our brain, and can hack our way into a better mood through that. A practice I love doing is something called a “Rampage of Appreciation” (Jess speaks to the power of using the word “appreciation” rather than “gratitude” here and it’s also just a fascinating look at the power of the words and language we choose to use).
A Rampage of Appreciation is simply spending an extended period of time (preferably 5 min at a minimum, and the longer the better!) writing out every little thing you’re grateful for in that moment. I love this practice. It puts me in the best mood, and then I have a written record of all the things I’m grateful for and that are making me happy. If I’m not in a place to write, sometimes I’ll do an Appreciation Walk instead, where I intentionally notice and appreciate every thing around me that I’m grateful for. The added endorphins from the movement help as well.
Three simple, but very powerful, ways to get in a better place emotionally. The other night I had a chance to implement some of these tools and it was so cool to see how they ended up working. For several reasons, I started experiencing really strong feelings of anger. I was surprised to see how quickly and physically these feelings came on, and then ultimately I was super frustrated with myself for not having a better handle on my emotions, especially after I have seen such an improvement in this area of my life. So I started working through a few different things that usually help:
I took some deep breaths. My heart was literally racing so I needed to try to find a way to physically calm my body.
I then wanted to know where this was ultimately coming from (since the depth of my emotions felt out of proportion towards what I thought was actually causing them in the moment). I checked in and asked my intuition why I was feeling so angry, and I got the answer that I was actually angry with myself about a few things (very unrelated) and this was another way for those emotions to come out.
I then headed to my room (which is my happy place) to start doing some things that I know are usually aligning for me. I lit candles, I had the lights low in my room, I washed my face (doing my nightly skincare routine has been bringing me so much joy lately), and I planned to cozy up in bed and watch a show before I went to sleep.
I still felt pretty off emotionally after doing these things. Finally going to sleep and waking up the next day was the ultimate reset I had needed. I felt like a new human in the morning and the sleep/meditation/gratitude concept I just explained above came to mind, and I realized how true it had proven to be.
I did a few more aligning things in the morning to double up on my efforts like making sure my room was clean, I made myself a good breakfast, chose an outfit I liked, and listened to good music + podcasts and was so happy to realize that my mood had made a complete 180 from the night before.
That whole experience reminded me that even when we’ve done lots of “work” and made improvements to how we process and handle emotions, it doesn’t make us immune to a rough day or yucky feeling or bad experience. But it is so exciting and encouraging to recognize that there are effective ways to turn my mood around, and I love continuing to find ways to add more and more joy to my life. I hope these do the same for you.