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9 Surprising Bad Mood Triggers

By Debbie Mandel

A good mood makes you more likely to seek adventure, be creative, make future plans and adapt to new environments. When you are in a good mood, you will activate your cognitive control network to challenge the reality behind those dark thoughts as well as redirect your brooding self-absorption to lose yourself in a task or a fun activity the zone where you lose track of all time. And if you are prone to bad moods, the good news is that the more you challenge an automatic negative perception and reframe it positively, the easier it becomes to shake off a bad mood. However, you have to be able to identify the trigger.

Bad moods can seep into your psyche from such ordinary elements as bad weather, a lack of sunlight, poor eating and sleeping habits, or another person in a bad mood. Most people can identify obvious bad mood triggers like chronic pain, a horrible boss who overloads you with a lot of work and little recognition, a conflict with family or friends, or being left off the invite list to a party. However, there are subtle, sneaky triggers which can be arrested in their tracks with just a little self-awareness giving you more energy to find resilient solutions.

9 less obvious bad mood triggers and what to do about them:
  1. Slouching or poor posture can trigger a bad mood because you are literally out of alignment. Simply rotate shoulders back and down to create self-confidence and empowerment as well as to oxygenate the brain to think more clearly.
  2. Being a couch potato stresses the body. Exercise is a highly effective method to rid the body of stress hormones, release endorphins and activate positivity. Whether you are sitting and relaxing all day with a book in hand, binge watching, or sitting at your desk working, a sedentary lifestyle is considered the new smoking. Physical activity generates health and well- being.
  3. Dehydration can make you feel sluggish and out of sorts. Your metabolism depends on water. In fact some people get dehydrated overnight and wake up tired and irritable, not realizing why they feel this way. Most people drink more water during the summer because of sweating in the hot weather. However, note that a heated home and workplace in winter can be sneakily dehydrating.
  4. Unbalanced eating can put you into an energy deficit and so, a bad mood ask any dieter. Complex carbs offer a quick pick me up. There is a reason people have sunny dispositions in the Mediterranean the best diet to sustain.
  5. A toxic person can infiltrate your psyche. Move away or hang up the phone to change up the negative energy.
  6. Unconscious cues from old hurts can be triggered by a specific smell, a location or a word. It helps to connect cause with effect and reframe the old sad story with a more positive spin even create fiction out of the facts to release the old hurt.
  7. A stern inner critic resides in your brain. Tell that perfectionist to shut up and come up with a concrete plan to do better.
  8. Not listening to upbeat music, gazing at a beautiful natural landscape, or artwork is tantamount to depriving the self of sensory uplifting joy.
  9. Using negative words to describe your situation will stir up the stress and cause more upset. Change the verbiage.

For more information on managing your stress and reclaiming your life read my book, Addicted to Stress: A Woman's 7 Step Program to Reclaim Joy and Spontaneity in Life. To listen to archived radio shows with guest experts visit Turn On Your Inner Light Radio Show


Debbie Mandel, MA is the author of Addicted to Stress: A Woman's 7 Step Program to Reclaim Joy and Spontaneity in Life, Changing Habits: The Caregivers' Total Workout and Turn On Your Inner Light: Fitness for Body, Mind and Soul, a stress-reduction specialist, motivational speaker, a personal trainer and mind/body lecturer. She is the host of the weekly Turn On Your Inner Light Show on WGBB AM1240 in New York City , produces a weekly wellness newsletter, and has been featured on radio/ TV and print media. To learn more visit: www.turnonyourinnerlight.com