Wellbeing

4 Science Backed Ways To Turn Around A Bad Mood

We all have those days when we wake up on the wrong side of the bed to an unshakable crappy mood. Maybe you can’t exactly pinpoint why, or perhaps you know exactly what it is that’s filling your insides with an eternal rage – either way, being in a bad mood is never a fun time.

If you’re in a slump and want to get yourself out of it, pronto, here are some proven ways of doing so.

#1 Smile

Turn that frown upside down! No, seriously – do it. According to The Atlantic, in an experiment researchers used chopsticks (?) to manipulate the facial muscles of 169 participants into a neutral expression or a standard smile.

Okay, firstly, chopsticks? I mean, I’m in no position to question science, but chopsticks? Apart from the thrifty reuse of cutlery, some participants were explicitly asked to put a smile on their dial. Then, the participants were subjected to a number of stress-inducing tasks.

Those sporting smiles recovered from the stressful activities with lower heart rates than participants who held neutral expressions. Those with the chopstick contraptions strapped to their face surprisingly recovered even quicker.

The moral to that weird study is that faking a smile tricks your body into thinking you’re happier. So, next time you’re on the verge of throwing a tantrum, just sport a big cheesy grin and hope for the best.

#2 Be a good person

The thought of being nice to someone when you’re in a foul mood is enough to induce the biggest eye-roll of all time – certainly low on the list of things you feel like doing. But, channelling that anger or frustration into helping someone else could be a sure-fire cure.

Michael Steger, a psychologist at the University of Louisville in Kentucky was interested in which emotion made people happier, seeking pleasure or contributing to the greater good of others.

According to a study published in the Journal of Research in Personality, Steger and his colleagues asked a group of 65 undergraduates to complete an online survey every day for three weeks, asking how many times they participated in activities that benefited themselves versus those that helped others.

The surveys also asked how much purpose they felt their lives had each day. Heavy stuff… but results showed those who take the time out to help others were generally happier.

#3 Listen to some tunes

Chucking on a favourite playlist with tunes tailored for different moods is often a go-to when feeling down. A 2013 study in the Journal of Positive Psychology found that people who listen to upbeat music could improve their moods and boost their happiness in just two weeks.

In the study, participants were subjected to different mood-boosting methods, none of which worked more successfully than listening to upbeat tunes. Don’t let good taste stop you from blasting Britney if that’s what it takes.

#4 Acknowledge your emotions

Even if you know the emotion is just a passing thought, it’s important to acknowledge your feelings – and it can speed up the process.

In a study conducted by the University of California, Los Angeles, professor of psychology Matthew D. Dieberman found that putting feeling into words makes sadness, anger and pain less intense.

When we feel angry, we have increased activity in a part of the brain called the amygdala, responsible for detecting fear and setting off a series of biological alarms and responses to protect the body from danger.

When the emotion is labelled and acknowledged, Lieberman and researchers noted a decreased response in this part of the brain, resulting in less distressed participants.

There you go. Next time your mood shifts from chirpy to livid, try out one of these methods in getting back to your normal self, faster.