How can you free yourself from a dark mood?
In “Saying Goodbye to Lousy Moods” we imagined that one Friday night you suffered through a miserable Happy Hour and by Saturday morning you were in a funk. But then you started to see you were caught in an illusion. You remembered you have the power to lift yourself out.
Next step: productive action. Accomplishing something reinforces your sense of worth. It gets you out of your head and into your life. Doing a bit of housework, putting on music and dancing, or walking your dog can all shift your mood.
If at all possible, leave the house after that. Walking alone might send you back to ruminating, so if you want some exercise, you might lift weights at the gym instead.
But what if you’re working or caring for children and you can’t leave? Focus your full concentration on your task, which is a form of meditation. You might use a thesaurus to find precise words for your report. Really listening to your child can keep you out of miserable feelings.
Your mind will keep coming back to what was troubling you. Expect this. It’s not a problem. Just keep gently redirecting your attention to the business at hand.
Is your work boring? Does your mind wander even when you feel good? I faced this when I cleaned houses for a living after graduating from college. During this time I grappled with resentment and frustration about working a job I didn’t like. But tedious activities can make for dynamic meditation. A friend suggested I start focusing attention on my chores. While dusting, I started to notice how the cloth felt against a hard surface and to see the furniture change as I wiped it clean. As I washed acoustical ceiling tiles, I smelled the Lysol. This transformed not only my job but the rest of my life as well.
In the next post we will look at how problems, actions and thoughts set off bad moods and how to turn things around.