Mind over mood isn’t about making problems magically go away. It’s about living your life with intention.
Years ago, a friend advised me to “snap out of it” if I was feeling low. Mind over mood, she’d say. Her advice always felt simplistic, silly even. And way too new agey.
I’m not a new-agey person. What I am, however, is serious about how I want to feel and about how I choose to spend my day.
Over the last decade, I’ve worked to live my life with more intention. I’ve sought a greater sense of peace of mind, and I’ve asked myself the hard questions. Here are two of them: (1) In what ways am I contributing to my bad mood? (2) What things can I be doing to improve my mood?
Before I continue, I want to acknowledge a few things. Life can be hard. Really hard. What some people are going through with their health and the economy and their employment status and their need to homeschool their children … well, it’s lot, to put it mildly. In 2020, the stakes are even higher than usual for many people. During this tumultuous year, much has been written about adjustment disorder, which occurs when people have a bigger reaction than normal to something stressful.
I don’t have a magic wand that will fix all that ails you. What I do have, however, are five tips for putting mind over mood into practice in order to make a good day great and a bad day a little better.
1. Practice Keeping Promises to Yourself
When your alarm goes off, what do you do? If you’re like many people, you hit snooze. Here’s why that’s a problem.
A day earlier, you set a goal for yourself. Wake by 5. Or 6. Or 7. And the first thing you do the next day is break the promise you yourself made. It’s a problematic way to start a new day.
When your alarm goes off, get out of bed. That way, you’re practicing mind over mood. You’re proving to yourself that you’re the kind of person who does what they say they will. That’s a pretty positive way to start the day.
2. Practice Self-Care By Walking It Out
Many of us spend our work days sitting at a desk. Some people don’t enjoy their work or their workplace (or their coworkers or their work shift …). Some people spend all day on Zoom and wrap up each workday exhausted.
Too much time spent in stressful environments doesn’t help our mood. If you can break out of a stressful environment, even briefly, your mood will improve as a result. For starters, take a brisk 30-minute walk first thing in the morning or at lunch.
Exercise of any kind is a powerful way to practice mind over mood because it boosts your self-esteem. It gets you moving, and you’ll change up your environment and see the world in a better light. Small shifts in what we’re doing and seeing can make a lot of difference.
3. Practice Mindfulness by Unplugging
These days, it’s easier than ever to worry about past mistakes, the shocking news of the day, and what the future has in store. When we need a break, we check our phone, skim our Facebook newsfeed, or read the headlines.
Talk about stressful.
One of the best ways to practice mind over mood is to temporarily unplug from the stress of daily life. Give your mind a break for 15 minutes. Listen to music. Water your plants or weed the garden. Tidy up the bedroom. Read a chapter of the book you’ve been ignoring. Play The New York Times Spelling Bee game. Chop vegetables for your luncheon salad. Meditate.
4. Practice Random Acts of Kindness
We tend to feel better when we do something for others. One way to get out of your own head is by putting happy thoughts in someone else’s head.
Make a list of people you care about. Set a recurring daily reminder on your phone. each day, text, call, or send a card to the person at the top of list. Share well wishes. Send a funny or inspirational meme. Simply let someone know you’re thinking about them.
You’ll gain mind over mood benefits while making someone else’s day. Random acts of kindness require little effort but bring surprisingly big rewards.
5. Practice Mind Over Mood by Staying Focused
Chronic worry and anxiety could put anyone in a bad mood. Worry is often your mind’s way of making sure you remember important things (even the things you wish you could forget). If you want to stop worrying, find a more reliable way to manage your to-do list.
At the end of each workday, find a sticky note and write down the 3 most important things you’d like to get done the next day. Put that note dead center on your desk.
You’ll go into your evening with fewer worries, and you’ll start each day knowing exactly what to work on. Fewer worries is one of the ways you’ll know your mind over mood practice is working.
Mind Over Mood Means Living in the Present
Living your life with greater intention enables you to become more mindful of the present moment. Living in the past or living in fear of the future won’t make you happier. Be here. Right now. Make time for you even if you think you have no time to spare.
Keep your promises. Exercise. Unplug. Show kindness to friends and strangers. Keep your eye on the prize: your health and wellbeing. And try drinking Polygala tenuifolia tea. Known as the will strengthener, Polygala is thought to provide mood support, ease anxiety, improve sleep quality, heighten creative thinking, and help discharge repressed emotions. It’s also the main ingredient in our OM! Mood Support extract. READ THE POLYGALA FAQ.
Consciously do what’s healthy for you. Your mind and your body will thank you.