13 Ways to Snap Out of a Bad Mood


Have you ever been feeling excited and full of joie de vivre and out of nowhere comes a bad mood?

I call her Stella.

She arrives when I least expect it.  She brings moments of tears, doubts, boredom and/or insecurities.  And, if I allowed her to stick around for any length of time, she’d have me either in fetal position on my bathroom floor or waist deep in the fridge searching for last week’s peach cobbler.

Stella likes to rain on my parade, and I don’t like my parade to be rained on, so I’ve developed ways to snap out of my bad mood.

Please keep in mind that I’m not talking about legitimate sadness that’s caused by real life situations.  Those will probably be dealt with a bit differently.  I’m speaking of a bad mood that could be described as restless, dull, boredom, blah, dull, listless, melancholy,  generalized or being just plain sad with no real explanation.

  • Turn off the computer.  Stella just loves to keep me in front of the screen.  She tries to convince me that if I sit there long enough, I can create or do something worthy.  The thing is that she is never right about this one.  The second I step away from the computer, Stella begins to lift.  If for some reason, you are tied to your computer and can’t get away, it helps to search for a little humor, like here.
  • Take a shower and put on your best outfit.  Stella just loves me when I’m unbathed and lounging in my sweats.  The moment I feel a bad mood coming on, I run (not walk) to the shower and rinse off the bad juju.  I then proceed to finding my best outfit, the kind I’d wear if I were going to a party, and I put that on and then do the next thing, which is . . .
  • Get out of the house.  Stella would keep me in the four walls of my home for months if I’d allow it.  She tries to convince me that I have too much to do to even consider getting out in the real world.  But, I’ve been dealing with Stella for too long, so I don’t buy it.  So, the moment, I feel Stella arriving, I plan my escape – coffee shops, bookstores, a walk downtown, the local bakery, or any place that has good energy.
  • Watch a funny movie.  If Stella hates anything, it’s something that makes me laugh.  It’s hard for her to stick around when I’m snorting from too much laughter.  Some of my favorites are:  Bridesmaids, Monty Python and the Holy Grail and Sex in the City.
  • Throw an Emergency Dinner Party.  Stella just hates when I grab the phone and start inviting people over at the last minute.  But, knowing that people are going to be showing up within hours keeps me busy and gets me excited because I know that surrounding myself with people I love over good food and wine is a killer for a bad mood.
  • Give Away Money.  I’ve been practicing with this one, but so far, it’s worked very well.  Here’s how it works:  I drive to the ATM, get out some cash and drive to a grocery store and stuff bills in places where someone will find it.  You can even attach sticky notes to it that reads, “Pass on the Love.”  Stella hates a mindset of abundance and generosity.
  • Get Physical.  It’s hard to be in a bad mood when you’re heart rate is above 130.  I’ve tried, and that seems to be the number when Stella decides to leave.  Go for a hike, ride your bike, dance, play tennis or anything that’s guaranteed to get your heart rate up.
  • Dream Journal.  No, I’m not talking about writing down last night’s dream.  I’m speaking of the type of journaling where you dream up your desired reality.  For example, here’s a brief excerpt from one of my recent dream journals that sent Stella packing:
  • I am sitting on Blvd. St. Germain sipping a cafe creme and writing my book.  I cannot believe how fabulous my life is – full of travel, friends, great food and wine.  I get to work with some of the world’s best people in a city I love, and each day I am more and more amazed at how far I’ve come and I’m excited for what’s ahead.  

    This type of journaling is not meant to analyze my mood, but to create a different one.  Just writing about future possibilities and desires can create crazy good feelings, and God knows, Stella hates those!

  • Do Something Out of the Ordinary.  Monotony and mundane day-to-day activities are open invitations for a bad mood.  Humans desire excitement and passion, so escaping normal life is an excellent way to snap out of a bad mood.  To what degree you do this is up to you, but it could be a night out dancing with your girlfriends or a weekend getaway to a monastery.  Not only will this snap you out of your mood, but it will often usher in new ideas and creativity.
  • Go on an Appreciation Rampage.  It’s really difficult to be in a bad mood when you are shouting out all the things like, “I am so, so blessed to have this incredible view of snow capped mountains in seventy degree weather.  Thank you God! Oh, and this air I’m breathing, thank you for that too!  And, did I thank you for that great breakfast I had yesterday with friends?  And, that Bloody Mary?  That was one of the best ever! Oh, and that great new song that just came out that I can’t get enough of?  Thank you for that too!  Wow…I am blessed.  I cannot thank you enough!”

    Stella loathes that!

  • Send out a Thank You Card.  If you’re breathing, there’s probably someone you owe a huge “merci beaucoup.”  The best part of this exercise is getting out of the house to hunt for the perfect “thank you” card.  Then, make it an event.  Light a candle, pour out your gratitude with pen on paper, spritz with a little perfume and seal with a kiss.  Acknowledging the supportive people in your life will help lift your spirits (and theirs too).  Promise!
  • Put on Super Sad Music and Exaggerate the Cry.  This sounds antithetical to everything I’ve suggested above, but it’s also very effective.  Stella isn’t as bad as I’ve painted her out to be.  Sometimes, she just wants me to let out a good cry to wash away the bad energy or deal with a legitimate situation.  I cry (like ugly cry) and then she usually gracefully exits the building.  This is one of my favorite sad songs that always seems to do the trick.
  • Put on Some Lipstick.  Somehow, as a little girl, I associated lipstick with glee.  So, when all else fails, I grab some lipstick and declare, “I’m going to French Kiss Life!”
  • Bonus Ideas:  Walk barefoot in the grass.  Buy a bouquet of flowers.  Buy a stranger a cup of coffee.  Get in the car and drive in any direction for 30 minutes and then get out and journal what you see.  Photograph all your sad faces (causes a good laugh).  Visit the dog park.  Pack a picnic.  Go to a wine tasting.  Skip through a park.  Give yourself a facial. Kiss your mirror with lipstick.
  • We all have a bad mood from time to time.  How do you deal with it?  Let’s discuss in the comments below.

    Bisou, bisou,



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    12 Responses to 13 Ways to Snap Out of a Bad Mood

    1. Neat ideas! Loved them! It’s hard to choose one favorite idea listed here. I love them all! I will try them when I’m not feeling like myself 🙂

      Thank you!

    2. Love your ideas; I hope I run into the grocery store behind you some day! I’m going to practice your idea of dream journaling too. I’ve been working on changing my mindset, and a lot of these ideas go right along with that plan. Thank you!

    3. Tonya,
      What a great article.. I am so proud of you and what you are doing…
      I have unexplained bad moods that creep up for no reasons.. Sometimes I think I am empathetic and pick up sadness from other people, too. Your suggestions are great suggestions.. The best thing is not to feed the mood.. don’t let it grow.. If you focus something else or change your environment just a little.. Sometimes just going for a walk… it will go away.. But if its really tough I work on something that requires me to focus so much I cannot possibly think about anything sad. Playing tennis is great for this. Doing a timed Sudoku requires this type of focus also and really makes me go to sleep without the worry that I might usually take with me to bed..
      If there is a real problem, I believe I will be better able to solve it without negative emotions anyway so for me it’s good to get rid of those first…

      Linda Smith
      Myrtle Beach

    4. Great article, Tonya! I wish I had this list ages ago and I’m passing it along to my 2 teen-aged daughters. I used to get hit or allow myself to fall into bad moods frequently, especially when life wasn’t going exactly the way I thought it should. I’ve learned that bad moods are manageable and now I have fewer. I think the biggest “a ha” with bad moods is to see them as such. Like your naming yours “Stella.” Once you recognize that this mindset can be changed, you find the way to change it, using any of the ways you suggested. My latest antidote is hip hop dancing. Impossible to stay down while dancing! xo from Charleston!

    5. Stella was at my house most of the weekend, even though I was doing fun things with my family. I just wasn’t feeling “right.”

      You know what scared her away? Finally seeing that I’d been taking care of everyone else (we have moved to a new community and started a new life) – and neglecting myself.

      I hadn’t cut or colored my hair in months…and looking at myself in the mirror – I realized how much it was affecting my attitude. So, I made the appointment and carved out 2 hours for myself.

      Stella ran screaming. And I feel 100% better.

    6. Love all of these ideas! One of my go-to exercises for getting rid of a bad mood is to get in a good stretch. Oftentimes if I’m grouchy, I’m also carrying a huge amount of tension in my shoulders and back. Whether it’s just tilting my chin forward to my chest, a session of yoga, or a quick shoulder massage, it immediately makes me feel better!

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