Having one of those days when everything that crosses your path seems like a personal attack? When your commute seems too long, the fluorescent office lights too bright, your co-worker’s voice too high-pitched? You, my friend, may be in a bad mood. We all get cranky from time to time, but bad moods aren’t simply events we need to ride out—they’re usually caused by something, and there are concrete steps we can take to help the foul mood along on its not-so-merry way. Below, find the perfect action plan for pressing the reset button, even in the middle of your workday.
Step 1: Eat Up and Eat Well
Hangry? Often, the culprit for a bad mood is low blood sugar—the result of not eating, or just not eating enough. It can be easy to skip meals, especially if you’re super busy, but if you’re becoming increasingly intolerant of your boss’s gum-chewing habit or constantly honking your horn in traffic, maybe it’s time to pause for a snack break.
But be careful: certain foods can actually affect your mood negatively. According to University Health News, results of a gluten study showed that, “gluten ingestion was associated with significantly higher depression symptoms compared to a placebo.” Meaning gluten could be giving you the blues—big time. Too much sugar can also cause a crash, with its inevitable grouchiness and irritability, and processed foods have also been linked to mood instability. If you notice your mood takes a turn for the worst after lunch, take a look at what you’re eating— that ham sandwich on whole wheat may be the culprit.
Step 2: Go Inward
Meditation: no one wants to try it, everyone’s really happy when they do. If the world is getting on your last nerve, head to your car or an unoccupied office for some quality reflection time. There are lots of ways to meditate, but perhaps the simplest is to sit in a comfortable upright position, close your eyes, and pay attention to your breathing. Daily meditation can put everything in perspective, making your worries seem smaller and life much more peaceful. Get your Zen on for just ten minutes, and you may find your bad mood has floated off into the ether.
Step 3: Check Your Hydration