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How to Stop Being in a Bad Mood at Work

Updated on December 12, 2016
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Sadie Holloway is exploring how to live more intentionally, everyday. Her favorite self-help authors are Deepak Chopra and Julia Cameron.

No one is immune to having a bad day at work. Your boss yells at you for no reason. A client cancels a huge order. Your email freezes up two minutes before an urgent cut-off time. Stuff happens and sometimes there’s not much you can do to prevent things from going off the rails. But that doesn’t mean you have to go off the rails too.

If you are having a bad day, remember this one truth: as long as you’ve still got the ability to choose your attitude, you’ve got the power to turn a bad day into something better. Here are five ways to boost your mood when you’re having an ‘off’ day at the office.

Are you feeling grumpy at work? Here are some tips on how to stop being in a bad mood.
Are you feeling grumpy at work? Here are some tips on how to stop being in a bad mood.

1. Smile and say hello to someone. (Or if you’ve already said hello to everyone in the office, give someone a sincere compliment without expecting a compliment in return.) Smiling has proven health benefits and can do wonders for boosting your mood in an instant. You don’t need to have someone to smile at to feel the positive effects either. Just putting a gentle, relaxed smile on your face as you carry on with your day will do. But of course, having someone to smile at makes the experience that much nicer. So stand up, move around, and find someone to smile at, just because!

2. Give yourself a break. Treat yourself to a little extra something on your coffee break without going overboard. For example, do you normally put skim milk in your coffee because it’s lower in fat and supposedly healthier for you? If you’re having a bad day at work, why not treat yourself to a little something extra to boost your mood. When you stop by the coffee shop on your break, put full cream in your coffee instead of skim milk. One small splurge isn’t going to throw you off your eating plan. Think of it as giving yourself permission to be a bit of a rebel, even though no one but you will notice. When you’re having a bad day, soothe yourself in the same way as you’d soothe a small child with a boo-boo. You wouldn’t give the child the whole box of cookies to make the boo-boo feel better, but certainly one small cookie could help heal the hurt.

Other ways to splurge a wee bit when you're having a bad day is to download a song on iTunes you’ve been dying to hear. Or buy yourself a fancy, glossy magazine. Keep it wrapped up and don’t read it until you get home. Knowing that you will have a little something nice to enjoy to yourself at the end of the day could help you get through the last remaining hours on the clock.

3. Send a text to someone you love and let them know how happy you are to have them in your life. It could be your best friend, your spouse, a favorite auntie, or someone who’s been a supportive mentor. Expressing gratitude is one of the easiest ways to relief stress when you are having a bad day. Plus, by letting someone know how special they are to you, you’ve likely made their day a little brighter too. Maybe they’re having a bad day too and your text will arrive just when they need it.

Texting  a close friend, your spouse, or a trusted family member when you are in a bad mood at work can help lift your spirits.
Texting a close friend, your spouse, or a trusted family member when you are in a bad mood at work can help lift your spirits.


4. Go for a five minute walk with your headphones on. Listen to some energizing songs and if you can, sing out loud while you walk around. Moving is one of the best things you can do to instantly brighten your mood. And music has been healing human beings since we learned how to bang sticks on things---rocks, trees, animal hides--- to make rhythmic beats that chase away the blues.

5. Gaze at some healthy looking plants. If you like to keep plants at your desk, this is one of the easiest ways to boost your mood without having to leave your desk. If you don’t have any plants in your office, find the nearest indoor or outdoor plant oasis and spend some time meditating on the living, breathing vegetation surrounding you. Scientists believe that being near trees and plants can help reset and restore our minds in times of stress and crisis.

Plants in your office can also make you more productive which can help lift you out of a bad mood at work. According to a 2014 study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, when plants are introduced to an office environment, workers experience a boost in their productivity by as much as 15%.

Are you in a bit of a prickly mood? Then turn to your plants for some calming comfort. Science says that gazing at plants can help calm your spirits and help lift you out of a bad mood at work.
Are you in a bit of a prickly mood? Then turn to your plants for some calming comfort. Science says that gazing at plants can help calm your spirits and help lift you out of a bad mood at work.

© 2016 Sadie Holloway

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