Bad moods are part of the human experience.
We've all experienced them, and sometimes, we may not know why they come up or how they happen.
Bad moods can feel like we're suffering through a snowstorm: We tend to hide away and wait for the worst of it to pass.
But as my mom used to say, it's very possible to "have a great day, unless you have other plans!"
Now, this obviously doesn't apply if you are suffering from actual debilitating depression, which requires the professional help of a psychiatrist or therapist.
But if you're in a bad mood and need a way to cope with it, these are some fun and simple suggestions to improve your outlook almost instantly:
1. Stop what you're doing and take three deep breaths.
Really, take as many deep breaths as you need to until the anger, frustration or self-pity you're feeling starts to give way to a deeper emotion.
This is one way to get to the root of the issue or find out what's causing your mood since whatever it is that sets us off is generally a symptom of a deeper issue.
Once you identify how you really feel, you'll have a better idea of what is causing those feelings.
From there, you can move forward with a solution in a more balanced way.
For example, I once broke up with a guy because he wouldn't lend me his headphones.
Obviously, though, it wasn't about the headphones.
It was about the fact that he didn't like sharing of any kind (most importantly, his feelings).
2. Take a long walk.
Once you've found out what's really going on with your mood, you'll probably want to jump to do something about it.
But, that's not always the best idea. Generally speaking, times of increased stress aren't the best for confronting an issue.
If you're like me, you really, really dislike sitting still, and the thought of meditating triggers actual anger.
If this is the case, I'd suggest talking a walk. If you have a dog, bring it along for it, and leave your phone at home.
As much as I hate meditating, walking (or running, if you're into that) can have the same effect on your body and mind.
Cardiovascular activity relieves stress by lowering cortisol levels, increasing dopamine and improving circulation in the body and brain.
3. Talk to a trusted friend.
We all have a friend who makes us feel better, the one you call when you just need someone to listen.
They're like a good therapist you probably should pay, but don't because you'd do the same for them if they needed you.
Generally, talking to a friend does the work of silencing your own inner judge by getting any toxic thoughts you're having out into the open.
When you hear yourself say out loud, "I want to have a birthday dinner, but I'm afraid not one single person will show up," you're somehow able to hear how outlandish that fear really is, even though it felt so real inside your head a few moments earlier.
4. Watch something funny.
I don't know if you've heard of one of the lesser-known miracles of modern medicine called Netflix, but GET ON IT, people.
There are like a million standup comedy specials, movies and shows on there, and you're bound to find something to make you howl with laughter.
This is an important step in cheering yourself up because comedy is the ultimate reminder that life, while meaningful, just isn't that serious.
5. Eat something.
I probably should've listed this one first because more often than not, a terrible mood that comes out of nowhere can be attributed to a drop in blood sugar.
Hangry people, listen up!
However, if you're like me and your first inclination is to numb those feelings with a bag of Tostitos, I figured I would put this suggestion last.
Obviously, it's always best to reach for something more healthy, like an apple or a handful of almonds when you can.
But honestly, who the fuck snacks on a handful of almonds?
I'm not the Patron Saint of Nutrition; I'm a normal person, and I like food that doesn't taste like a newspaper.
So, in the spirit of just being human, grab something relatively healthy and make sure you feed yourself.
Once you've checked everything off this list and your blood sugar has regained balance, you'll be ready to tackle whatever has been bothering you head-on.