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5 Ways to Recover When You're In a Bad Mood

Updated on November 16, 2011

Whether they creep up on you through a series of small jabs and losses or slap you upside the head like a huge, tepid herring, bad moods can really mess up a day. To make things worse, nobody is spared from their mirth-crushing wrath. Even if you feel splendid today, you could feel horrid tomorrow.

Unpleasant moods may be inevitable, but, as with so many things, admitting that you are in poor spirits is the first step toward recovery!

Here are five simple things you can do to pull out of that funk and get on with being the dashing hero of your secret internal narrative:

That it does, amigo.
That it does, amigo. | Source

Take a Big Swig of Perspective

The first thing I do upon realizing that I am in a bad mood is assess my situation in the larger scheme of things.

Am I alive? Am I healthy? Am I injured? Am I in danger? Am I nourished? Am I safe? Usually, no matter how bad of a day I have had, the answer to all of those questions is a big resounding (if begrudging) "yes."

When you're feeling down, consider the wider scheme of things. You might be feeling bad at the moment, but that's just the moment. As they say, this, too, shall pass.

Besides, it is inevitable that bad things should happen. S#!^ happens. But good stuff happens, too. So just slog through this and let the good times roll.

Look At Hilarious Photos and Video

You probably want to punch me in the neck for even thinking of suggesting something so obvious, but funny images are the perfect antidote to a bad day. They're free, harmless, hilarious, and just the thing one needs to forget about one's troubles.

Besides, I want an excuse to share some a couple classic lolcat photos. I mean, they're the chicken soup of the internet, for the love of blog!

Bon appetite, Mr. Grumpy Pants.

Click thumbnail to view full-size

Listen to Your Body

You know how sometimes babies cry because they've got a poopy diaper or a stomach ache? Surprise, surprise... adults do the SAME THING. If you're feeling crappy, it might be because...

  • You need a nap
  • You're dehydrated
  • You're very hungry
  • You're too hot or too cold
  • You need to sit down and rest
  • You need to use the bathroom

... so ADDRESS THOSE NEEDS! You'll be surprised by how big a difference some basic bodily care can make.

Boy, just the other day, I was walking the streets of Harajuku, ready to kill myself just to put an end to the misery, and then someone suggested I nab a sports drink from a nearby vending machine. Just seconds after my first swig, I was happy as a clam, smiling and bouncing around like a drugged bunny! After that point, I made more of an effort to keep fed and watered, and I've dealt with far fewer mood swings.

Howsabout some impromptu pole dancing?
Howsabout some impromptu pole dancing? | Source


You don't need extra help to enjoy a boost of endorphins. All you need to do is move around!

If you're feeling crummy, consider...

  • Going to a walk
  • Dancing
  • Taking a class at a gym
  • Taking a scenic bike ride
  • Doing some yoga or Pilates

Even if the workout doesn't help you feel better, you'll still have exercised! So at least your body will be better off.

And guess what... studies have shown that regular exercise could lead to a better self-image, which may augment your moods over a long-term period!

Think Of Others

Now, I try to avoid thinking of anything aside from my own selfish pleasure, but when I am in poor spirits, I find that doing a good deed, helping others, or even sending a kind email or thank you note will work wonders on my mood.

Perhaps it is that this exercise makes one switch one's focus to external events and people and not one's own suffering that makes it so effective. Or perhaps doing something good for once gives an ego boost sufficient to shift one's mood up a couple gears.

I honestly don't care why this works. I just care that it does work. So if you can tolerate a bit of benevolence, try...

  • Donating to a charity
  • Buying flowers for a family member
  • Leaving a small basket of goodies on a neighor's front porch
  • Writing a thank you note
  • Sending a kind email to a friend with whom you have lost touch

... To get out of that grumpy ditch you've been wallowing in.

What's your go-to bad mood cure?

See results

What Works for You?

These things help me out a lot when I'm in a bad mood. I hope they make a difference for you, too!

If there is something else that you do to buck up in times of grumpiness, tell me about it! Share your bad mood fixes and tips in the comments.

And.... Erm... If none of the proposed bad mood cures in this guide or the comments below make a difference for you, just remember to not shoot the messenger!!!


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    • profile image

      Daphne Shadows 

      7 years ago

      I tell myself to knock it off. If that doesn't work I take nap, go exercise, listen to music, or watch some old taped tv show re-runs. The only other thing I can think of is venting, but I normally only do that on paper. I feel bad if I vent on other people. They don't need all my negativity, ya know?

      Oh - also, I write poetry. But its not rainbows and bunnies, I'll tell ya that much.

      Great hub! :D I love the pictures.

    • gsidley profile image

      Dr. Gary L. Sidley 

      7 years ago from Lancashire, England

      Reading this made me smile - I like your style, Simone.

      Music does the trick for me. If I'm down I play one of my Leonard Cohen compilations (yes it does lift my mood to hear the master capture in words exactly what I'm feeling. If I'm angry it is Led Zep.

    • Simone Smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Simone Haruko Smith 

      7 years ago from San Francisco

      Oh. Good point, Om Paramapoonya. Retail therapy rocks.

      And those are some classy fixes, Movie Master!

      Exercise is definitely *my* go-to mood fixer, Glad it works so well for you, too!

      Thanks for stopping by, bangingbeauty! Yoga sure is a good fix for moods, what with the great mind-body combo!

      Hahaa, that's why I put 'em there, Stephanie Henkel! I LOVE this idea of buying oneself flowers. They really do wonders when it comes to cheering one up! I should really give that a try. :D

      Hahaa, well, diabetic cats may not be healthy, GarnedBird, but they sure can be cute.

      And thanks, bizwin!

    • bizwin profile image

      Christabel Evans 

      7 years ago from England, UK

      Excellent info to lift the spirit. Thanks for sharing.

    • GarnetBird profile image

      Gloria Siess 

      7 years ago from Wrightwood, California

      This is so funny as I have a gallery of diabetic cats online and they always make me laugh (poor kitties) Thank you Simone for your visit to my gallery..

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image

      Stephanie Henkel 

      7 years ago from USA

      I don't know how I missed this before, but I LOLed at the funny cat pictures! When I stopped laughing and read the rest of your article, I found some other very good advice, too! My personal cure for a bad mood- I buy myself flowers, call a friend who is upbeat or play Polish polka music really loud. Lucky, I don't live where too many people have to hear it...

    • yols-a profile image


      7 years ago from Trinidad and Tobago

      Very unique article

    • bangingbeauty profile image


      7 years ago

      When I am in a bad mood, I like to go for a yoga class to shut the world behind me or watch a funny video to cheer myself up. Great post! Cheers, BB

    • profile image 

      7 years ago

      Nothing like a good workout to clear the head and generally improve your outlook on the day!

    • Movie Master profile image

      Movie Master 

      7 years ago from United Kingdom

      A walk or gardening always works for me!

      A great hub and great advice, voting up.

    • Om Paramapoonya profile image

      Om Paramapoonya 

      7 years ago

      Great advice. Shopping always helps me get out of a bad mood. Luckily, I don't get moody very often, or else I would be very poor.

    • Simone Smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Simone Haruko Smith 

      7 years ago from San Francisco

      Oh, SUCH A great tip, davenmidtown! Cheerful music can make a world of difference!

      That's also such a wonderful practice, Hyphenbird! Doing that also cheers me up.. or at least makes me feel sheepish for being grumpy!

      Laughter is SUCH a good cure for bad moods, drbj!! I do so sincerely prefer it to nearly everything else.

      I hope you were able to catch up on sleep, Jeannieinabottle!

      I actually HAVE tried that, dagny roth (though not with mushroom-topped ones) and it is SO EFFECTIVE!!!

      Wow HikeGuy... you've really got it figured out!!

      Peggy W, you're so right. Some time in nature is a wonderful cure... and nothing gives one a bit of healthy perspective like an afternoon outdoors!

      FloraBreenRobison, the Daily Show is my "apple a day" for good moods! I shall have to start getting into more mysteries. They're so much fun!

      leann2800, I think your cats might be hiding their chargers from you because they know you would confiscate them. Treachery!!!

      I know EXACTLY what you mean, Millionaire Tips!! Entire albums have been ruined because I listened to them a lot when I was really depressed. I'm hoping that time will heal that!

      So true, shea duane. If one word Hubs were permitted, I would have just said that!

      Oh, lolcats are fabulous, aren't they melbel! Yeah, I love being sent silly internet stuff when I'm down.

      Indeed, livelonger! I often find quick fixes for bad moods insulting, because in the midst of a bad mood, I like to feel that my misery is a really big deal. But alas, my moods are as harmless and reconstructable as legos!

      Yeah, tirelesstraveler! In such times, Pilates is a great option, too :D

      I'm glad you enjoyed the lolcats, allpurposeguru! You should definitely make an emergency collection. Be prepared!!

      Oh no wavegirl22!!!! Such is the plight of the passionate sport fan, eh wot? I hope your mood has improved!

    • wavegirl22 profile image


      7 years ago from New York, NY

      bad mood has taken over my night, as my heart throb football team just lost a game they needed to win should have won but didn't. I guess I can do what always makes me smile and that would be to look at pictures of the cutest dog boo as he ALWAYS puts a smile on my face, but........after a loss like this depression sets in and I can't look at a newspaper or hear the news until the next game . .which is not until the Sunday after this one. Oy i am in for a long haul. Good thing you published this one as I seriously need all the help I can get for the next 10 days! Maybe Ill try some chocolate!

    • allpurposeguru profile image

      David Guion 

      7 years ago from North Carolina

      Love the cat pix. They sure helped my mood. And, as you said, there's a nap for that, too. Maybe I'll just have to start my own collection of funny pictures and videos to have them on hand for when I need them.

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 

      7 years ago from California

      Exercise is the universal cure-all. Add music and its all good. When you have a broken ankle exercise your upper body and core. Perfect day for this hub.

    • livelonger profile image

      Jason Menayan 

      7 years ago from San Francisco

      I love all of these suggestions, since all of them can work depending on exactly what's giving you the blues. And I think you've nailed why lolcats have done so well. (And I'm even allergic to cats!) The tip about taking care of your body is incredibly insightful, too. Sometimes a quick nap or a 5-minute massage can make all the difference.

    • melbel profile image

      Melanie Shebel 

      7 years ago from Midwest USA

      Lol cats definitely help me. One of my friends used to send me pics of lol cats when I was in a bad mood. Thanks for sharing. :)

    • shea duane profile image

      shea duane 

      7 years ago from new jersey

      one word: chocolate!

    • Millionaire Tips profile image

      Shasta Matova 

      7 years ago from USA

      These are all great ideas. I like to listen to music, but I find that if I do that too much sometimes the songs make me sad because I used them so much when I was sad.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Oh lord, there's a way to recharge the cats???Mine are too hyper as it is. I hope your rechargeable cat device doesn't catch on. But, your hub is a success. I am officially in a good mood.

    • FloraBreenRobison profile image


      7 years ago

      Who tampered with Count Dracula's song?

      It depends upon why I'm in a bad mood. Right now there are health issues in my family. I find listening to my cat purr calms me down. I like to watch The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and other satire shows. And there is the show Just For Laughs: Gags. But usually I don't find comedies funny. I prefer to watch mysteries like Agatha Christie etc.

      and often I am in a horrible mood when I am hungry and tired.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Getting out in nature often helps me. Who doesn't like a pretty flower or a singing bird? Good music also helps. Your suggestions were great...but doubt that I will be doing any pole dancing at my age. On second thought...hmmm...something to consider? :))

    • HikeGuy profile image


      7 years ago from Northern California Coast

      After the cat pics and some pole dancing, I'm all fixed up.

      I watch cartoons daily, hike in old-growth forests often, go to the beach, practice gratitude -- and you're right, taking time to make a difference for someone else is a great mood lift. I used to do a lot of public-contact work before I started freelancing, so I like to make sales people smile and laugh.

    • dagny roth profile image

      dagny roth 

      7 years ago from Neverland

      Anyone ever try muffin punching? No?! Well let me just tell you...line up a long row of large, puffy mushroom topped muffins....Using your fist, wack-a-mole style...smush em!! Hee hee

    • Jeannieinabottle profile image

      Jeannie Marie 

      7 years ago from Baltimore, MD

      Thanks for sharing this information. I am actually in quite the grumpy mood right now! I am hoping to go into a deep sleep tonight because I know that is the main cause of it.

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 

      7 years ago from south Florida

      Upbeat hubs like this one, Simone, do a lot to banish a bad mood. Finding something to laugh about is my favorite avocation. And I always - so far - do.

    • Hyphenbird profile image

      Brenda Barnes 

      7 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

      When I am in a bad mood, I regroup by consciously remembering my multitude of blessings. How can I not be in a great mood then? However I may have to add kitty pictures to my program. these are adorable.

    • davenmidtown profile image

      David Stillwell 

      7 years ago from Sacramento, California

      chipper mc'Chipper... I listen to upbeat music... put my ipod on and come back to me!


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