bad mood

Yesterday was a bad day for me. A very bad day. I spent most of it alone in sweatpants and a hoodie feeling sorry for myself. I did more moping than work. I will also say right away that there is no cause for alarm or real worry, nothing specifically happened to me or a loved one, I just had a very bad mood which was hard to shake. Though there are so many things I am thankful for in my life, yesterday I found it hard to spot any silver linings in the storm. Situations that normally don’t phase me felt weighty and unending.

And as you can imagine, I felt determined to crawl out of this bad mood one way or another. Which leads to the good news: by 3:45 I was able to refocus and re-frame my attitude back into it’s normal, positive, and productive state. Without going into too much detail on the “why me” whining that went on in my head, I would love to share the three things that helped me the most to shake the blah’s and get out back into a cute outfit. My hopes are that if anyone else finds themselves in a Sweatpant Day, that these three actions might be helpful to them as well.

I made a Circle of Influence and Concern Diagram

This is an activity I learned in my favorite book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. The diagram above is a mock-up of the one I made yesterday (I don’t need to burden you with my personal drama), it shows the general idea of how the circles work. I took a piece of paper and wrote down everything that was flying around in my head causing me to feel overwhelmed or out of control. I then went through the list and determined whether the worry was within my Circle of Influence or my Circle of Concern. The Circle of Influence items are those that I have direct control over, they are the things that I can do something about directly. The Circle of Concern items are things that I’m worried about, feeling anxious about, but really, don’t have any direct control over. By separating out each item and putting it in one of the circles, I could identify things that I was able to change, and the things that were beyond my control.

The Influence circle is generally smaller because we can be concerned about a lot in our lives, but may only be able to control a portion of those situations. By reflecting and focusing on the things in my Influence circle, I could narrow my scope to things that I can begin improving right away. The Concern items still exist, but narrowing down my actions and thoughts to the things I can control – and what I can do about them – helped me feel more powerful to change the things that were irking me.

I listed the ways I’ve been a blessing to others

While in the very bad mood, I was hyper-critical of myself. In order to look at myself in a more positive way, I listed out the ways that I had been helpful for others in the past few days. This eased all of the fears and whispering doubts swirling in my head. I couldn’t rationally keep thinking I was a terrible person, I had to recognize and honor the fact that I had done many nice things in the past few days which improved other people’s lives.

I looked for ways to help others that day

I then continued to seek out ways to help other people yesterday afternoon. I first offered to help a friend get home safely after a surgery. I then I met with a friend who is having personal troubles by talking with her at a coffee shop. Both of these actions helped me stop staring at the black clouds looming over my head.

Had I not decided to start trying to pull myself out of the very bad mood yesterday, I think there is a good chance I might still be in it today. Perhaps it’s the difference between waiting for the storm to pass or driving to sunnier skies.

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  1. Niki

    Thanks so much for sharing this! I have days like this and really haven’t had a constructive way of overcoming it – I’m going to try the “Circles” next time!

  2. Sorry to hear about your sucky mood, but glad you’ve climbed out of it! I’ve been having a rough week too, and I’m striving to focus on the phrase “Things are only as stressful as you let them be.” Even the uncontrollable stressers and BIG deal ones can be less stressful if spun in a positive light, or at least, dealt with calmly and one step at a time. Seeing what my negative self would deem “massive failures” as “opportunities to improve” has helped a lot. Looks like you’ve done the same, but you got a cute chart as a reminder! Hang in there! xoxo

  3. Like like like! Thanks for sharing your struggles and how you worked through it. I still need to read that book.

  4. This post was so helpful in helping me to climb out of my own bad mood! Negative thoughts can get to the best of us, but deciding how you’re going to turn them around is what’s important

  5. Thanks for sharing Jess, I miss you. When you are up for it, let meet soon! I’d love to catch up 😀

  6. Kelly P

    Sorry to hear you were in a funk, but glad to hear it has passed. Thanks for sharing the circles – I am totally going to do this when I get home. My mood has been up and down and rather rollercoaster-y lately because of the stresses I’ve had. Focusing on what I can control right now should help me be a bit more even keel. I thank you and my husband certainly thanks you 😉

  7. Cathy

    Jess!! I was wondering about you. I didn’t hear one way or the other about running today, so I thought something was up. I ended up not going, so want to shoot for 4 tomorrow morning? I know exercise usually helps me get out of funks. And these look like other good ways to get back on track.

  8. Rose

    That is a great idea! I was in a bad mood yesterday, but cooking and walking my dog helped me get out of it. Thanks for sharing that! I’ll definitely give it a try.

  9. Flavia

    Sorry you were in a bad mood yesterday. I actually was too! It’s so hard to snap out of it. I’ll have to try this technique next time! Glad you are feeling better now.

  10. way to be proactive about getting out of your bad mood. i had one of these days recently too. the circle diagram is a great way to put things into perspective – thank you for sharing. i’m glad you are feeling better today…sending you happy vibes 🙂

  11. Emily

    you are an inspiration in so many ways! 🙂

  12. CB

    Yay, Seven Habits! Way to go, pulling yourself out of a bad mood. It sounds so simple, but it is not always easy. I will remember this next time I encounter some cloudy skies… drive to sunnier weather. I love your analogies!

    Thank you for being such a proactively positive person. I LOVE this quality in you. Your perspectives are a refreshing, shining light in the world!

  13. Lori

    Thanks for sharing as I’ve been going through my own set of moods. They are hard to get out of but between this post and today’s it sounds like you have a good plan going. I hope it really helps!

  14. Kim

    Jess – I have to say, this blog is always full of inspiring and useful information for dealing with life and leading a proactive life. I love that you’re always honest and real, it makes one feel good to know that even the best of us have bad days and bad moods, that we’re not alone in the frustration. And you not only share, you provide tips on how to get through these things and they are always so useful, and easy for most people to do! I appreciate this so much and have flagged many of your posts to save in my Ideas/Inspiration folder. I just wanted you to know, and keep it coming!

  15. Kendi

    Jess —

    I’m a little late to your bad mood post, BUT as encouragement I wanted to say how much you have blessed Bryan and I! We talk about you all the time. The other day when I was down in the dumps, I said to him — “I need a Jess LC dose.” And I wasn’t talking about your pretty jewelry, I was talking about a nice dinner with some wine and good conversation. 🙂

    You are an extremely inspiring person, through good moods and bad. Get to feeling better! (You should have added drunk history to your bad mood combat list!)

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