It’s important to be able to engage with feelings, even the negative ones such as anger and sadness. Sometimes it’s good to just sit and let ourselves feel them. However, sometimes these feelings can become extended into “bad moods” that persist and become harder to manage.
When you are in a bad mood, it’s often easy to get drawn into activities that continue to make it last. This can include behaviours such as keeping yourself isolated, or complaining to others about your difficulties. Screen-time also offers plenty of ways to keep you locked into a bad mood, such as mindlessly scrolling through your phone or watching other people’s lives unfold on social media. These activities may feel as if they are protecting you, or bringing you relief or distraction, but they can often actually end up perpetuating your bad mood and keeping you stuck in a negative cycle.
Instead of allowing a bad mood to just linger, using mood boosters can help you to think beyond your current problems, and improve your mood (even if it’s just a little).
Step 1) Think of some simple things that you enjoy, which make you feel happier.
Try doing them to boost your mood when you’re struggling. Some mood booster suggestions include:
- Talk to a friend about something interesting - not just continuing to complain
- Go for a walk outside or around campus
- Focus on where you are right now, and enjoy the moment
- Listen to uplifting music
Step 2) Think about how and when you can put a mood booster into practice. Perhaps the next time you are feeling grumpy after a lecture, decide to listen to uplifting music rather than scrolling through your phone. It may take a little while to feel the benefits, but it’s worth giving it a try.
Step 3) Put it into action the next time you are in a bad mood, and then evaluate it afterwards. Did it help? Would another activity work better? What would make it easier to do next time? How can you do it more often? Using mood boosters to feel better takes practice, but may help to improve your mental health.
Are you finding that bad moods are getting in the way of your day-to-day activities and causing you distress? In addition to self-help strategies, consider getting therapy or counselling at CCDU to help you to move forward.
Wits Student Crisis Line 0800 111 331 (24/7/365)