It’s mood congruency that we have to thank—the phenomenon that once we’re in a bad mood, we’re more likely to stay in a bad mood. There are just some days when we wake up miserable. So if psychology tells us that we’re essentially stuck feeling down if we happen to start off our day on the wrong foot, is there hope in turning it around?
Of course there is! Waking up on the wrong side of the bed can be remedied with a positive outlook on the day ahead. Spending just a short time concentrating your energy on changing your mindset can completely alter your disposition for the rest of the day. Waking up in a bad mood happens to everyone, but don’t let getting out of bed crabby drag you down for longer than it needs to. Here are some tips you can use to conquer your case of the grumps:
1. Put things in perspective
One of the hardest things to do in life is put aside our own dramas and feel empathy for others. When you’re feeling cranky, try to identify the source of your discontent. Often times, your worries are not as substantial as you make them out to be. Are you fixed on the previous night’s conversations? Are you dreading seeing someone at work? Did yesterday fail to live up to your expectations? If so, try to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. In comparison to those of everyone else in the world, are your misfortunes really that important? Take a moment to consider just how lucky you are. Allow yourself to feel gratitude, not resentment, for your situation. Realize that this is one whole day of your life—spend it feeling thankful for the positive experiences you’ve had, not angry about the negative.
2. Drink water, eat well
Everyone wakes up in a state of dehydration, so it’s a smart idea to start off your morning by drinking a glass of water. Doing so will help flush any toxins from your body and ensure that you maintain a balanced, pure internal system. Eating breakfast in the morning is important as well, as it fuels both our bodies and our brains. Feeling hungry is not a good way to start the day—hunger is no fun when it turns into ‘hanger’ and perpetuates your bad mood. When our insides are working well we are more likely to perform our daily activities well, thus decreasing our levels of stress and discomfort while increasing our efficiency and overall health. Health and happiness go hand in hand.
3. Engage in physical activity
Along with putting the right things into our bodies, exerting energy can be just as important when it comes to altering a day’s possible outcome. Working out is proven to cause a release of feel-good endorphins. A ‘runner’s high’ might be just what you need to transform your not-so-great day into a wonderful day. Get moving to build up your confidence, your body, to increase cognition, and to sleep better to ensure that you wake up happier tomorrow. Both the long- and short-term benefits of exercising are worth your time.
4. Dress up
Looking nice can cause you to feel nice. If you wake up feeling less than perfect, try spending time making yourself look put-together, even if you don’t feel very calm and collected. You may be surprised to find that donning a good outfit can be an instant mood boost. Let your outward appearance reflect the composed state you wish to be in.
5. “Treat Yo Self”
In the words of Tom and Donna from Parks and Recreation, “Treat yo self!” Every now and then it’s nice to gift yourself with something that will make you happy. When getting out of bed is the last thing you want to do, entice yourself with a treat. Whether that be your favorite specialty beverage at Starbucks, a pair of shoes you’ve been coveting for a while, or a new book, buying yourself something that will make you feel good is a worthy purchase. While money does not buy happiness, it can be a nice impetus to turn your mood around.
6. Perform an act of kindness
Doing something nice for someone else is a sure-fire way to feel good about yourself in spite of waking with a bad attitude. Random acts of kindness have the potential to brighten the day of another and inspire such a positive feeling in you that it’s virtually impossible to stay miserable. Next time you wake up feeling down, visit http://www.randomactsofkindness.org to see what others have done to brighten someone else’s day.
Journalist Norman Cousins identified several health benefits of laughter in his Anatomy of an Illness as Perceived by the Patient—the most significant being that it reduces levels of stress hormones. Laughing is a great way to lighten the mood when you’re unhappy and reduce levels of depression and anxiety. So the next time you’re feeling down, try calling up a friend and having a conversation that focuses on something that you’re looking forward to or enjoyed being a part of. Have someone special to you write you a feel-good letter to read on such occasions. Watching funny videos on the Internet or reading a story that makes you giggle is a much better way to start your morning than continuing your moping.
Adopt a can-do attitude! What many people unfortunately do not realize is that happiness is in large part a decision. If you chose to be happy, you can be happy. Emerging from bed upset can ruin your entire day if you let it. But if you choose to turn your day around, you’ll be surprised to find that it’s easier to do than you thought. Once you put your mind to something, it’s amazing what you can accomplish. If you want to be happy, then be happy! It’s as simple as that. And if all else fails? Don’t be afraid to fake it ‘til you make it. Have confidence that acting confident will make you feel confident!