A few Christmases ago my mom slipped a mood ring among the chocolate coins and trinkets in my stocking. She gave my husband the color key. Brilliant, I know. I consider myself to be a fairly chill girl, but even with all my zen, I am still sometimes overtaken by wild emotions, by bad moods, by the little things that get in the way. I’m proud to say that it happens less frequently now than at any previous time in my life. Somewhere along the way, I made a decision. I decided that I control my emotions, rather than them controlling me.
Sounds like a crazy self-help book right? I know. Put into words it seems silly, but the simplicity seems to work for me, enough that by now it has become habit and I don’t have to repeat the silly words to myself.
When something I can’t control upsets my equilibrium and threatens to send me into a funk, I make a conscious decision to not let it get to me. I hype myself up, metaphorically dust my shoulders off (to quote a second rap lyric), and step forward, leaving the drama of a mood swing behind me. And it works . . . most of the time.
Something as simple as choosing to look forward, choosing not to dwell in negatives, almost always gets me back to center. Sometimes though, I need an extra step: a cat-nap with headphones, a happy nail polish color, a pint of ice cream, a date with Aaron Sorkin. Whatever external action perks up my mood. And it works . . . most of the time.
But then there are those moments, the imagined slights, the could’ve/would’ve/should’ve, and the worst, knowing I somehow shortchanged myself. That, for me, can be the start of a spiral. I don’t scream or yell (although perhaps I should). When I get down on myself, it’s internal. I second guess everything I do. I can’t find the right words to express myself. I almost literally feel outside of my body; disconnected from my soul. I can feel my skin crawl. I sound crazy to my own ears. Now a simple nap with an Oasis album or a bottle of OPI isn’t going to cut it. The only cure is time, usually a good night sleep.
You may have surmised that I was similarly waylaid this week. I didn’t do my best on a project and it ate away at me for a little while. I’ve avoided the mood swing, but I’m still a bit down. And so I’m asking: How do you turn a bad mood around?