Contrary to popular belief, even positive people get in bad moods.
Maybe you didn’t get enough sleep last night. Or you feel overworked and overwhelmed. Or perhaps something happened, and you keep dwelling on it. Going over and over in your head how you froze up in a meeting, or spoke too aggressively to someone you love.
Whatever the case may be, you feel something you don’t want to, and you’re not sure how to change it. You just know you need to do something before acting on that feeling.
The reality is you don’t have to act on everything you feel. Still, emotional responses happen so quickly that it becomes challenging to put space between feeling and doing.
It may seem like the answer is to stop responding to life emotionally, but that’s just not realistic. Paul Ekman, one of the foremost researchers on emotion, suggests it’s near impossible to bypass an emotional response because of the way our brains are set up.
Perhaps the best goal is to identify negative feelings quickly and improve your state of mind instead of responding to feelings with more feelings. Odds are if you choose the latter, you’ll do something you’ll regret later.
I’ve come up with 10 ways to overcome a negative state of mind:
1. Get to the root.
If you’ve ever snapped at someone who didn’t say or do anything to offend you, you’re familiar with this common dilemma: you feel something but you’re not entirely sure why. So you start looking for explanations. The kids are too loud. Or the TV’s too small. Or the car’s too dirty. Read more...