Lets talk about some practical steps you can take to change your emotional state, get out of a bad mood, and feel better mentally and physically.
We all have those days where it feels like there’s an elephant on our chests and nothing is going right. Whether it’s something that’s been weighing on you for weeks or months, or just the usual daily challenges life throws at you. Sometimes we just get stuck in a negative vortex of crappy emotions and don’t know how to get out. I’m going to walk you through some steps you can take to change your feelings.
Why it’s Important to Care for Your Emotional State
There’s always a million things we need to do, a million things life is demanding from you. You’ve got kids, parents, pets, school, work, etc that you’ve got to take care of. All the pressures of life squeezes every ounce of energy from you until you feel like you’ve got nothing left to give. You can’t always control all that, but you can learn to change your emotional state.
It’s so important to learn how to change your emotional state, not only because you want peace of mind but because negative emotions take a toll on your body and may prevent you from doing things that will make your life better.
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Actionable Steps to Change Your Emotional State
Identify the Emotion
In order to change how you feel you first have to know what exactly you’re feeling and give it a name.
Are you angry, bored, sad, tired, fearful, anxious, overwhelmed, unmotivated, etc?
Figure out what emotions you’re feeling so that you can create a strategy to change them.
Find Your Trigger
Why are you feeling these emotions?
The answer may be really obvious to you, but if it’s not think about it until the answer comes to you.
Maybe you just woke up in a bad mood, but there is a strong possibility that something is bothering you on a unconscious level. Figuring out what that reason is can help you confront and release it.
Sit quietly for a few moments, close your eyes, put your hand on your chest to help you connect to your body, and see what comes up.
If the answer doesn’t come immediately ask yourself some questions.
Am I upset because of another person?
Am I upset because of something that happened recently?
Am I overwhelmed because I have too much on my plate?
Am I sad because someone has hurt me?
Keep asking questions until you narrow down on the reason for your feelings.
Get Some Perspective
Now you have to take the emotion and the trigger and ask yourself two questions. Can you control the situation? If you can control the situation what will you do about it?
There are times when an emotional response can serve you or even society.
Knowing that you feel overwhelmed because you are expecting too much of yourself can help you take action and reduce your work load.
Feeling outraged when you see injustice in your community moves you to take action like peaceful protests and researching the positions of your local elected officials so that you can hold them accountable during elections.
But other times stewing in negative emotions does more harm to you than good. At that point you have to decide that you are ready to let your feelings about the situation go.
If you can’t take action to fix the situation, does reacting emotionally serve you?
Maybe the situation is because of another persons actions, when that’s the case you have to acknowledge and make peace with the fact that you can’t control what other people do.
Then you have to ask are the other person’s actions even about you?
We tend to think everything that affects us is about us, but usually it’s not. It’s about them and whatever issues they are dealing with, and because they aren’t dealing with their problems in a productive way you got hit with their emotional spillover.
When that’s the case, you have to options: keep letting the situation make you miserable or let it go.
Write It All Down
Sometimes writing it all down helps you change your emotional state because you are letting your mind give all it’s focus to this issue, so it can process the feelings and then let it go.
Sit for a few minutes and write down how you’re feeling and why you’re feeling this way. Write down what actions you can take if any, or acknowledge that you can’t do anything and that you are choosing to release the negative feelings you’re carrying.
You may find that once you’ve written everything down you’re able to stop thinking about it and change your emotional state. If not continue to the next steps.
Stop the Spiral
When we’re really upset about something often we are stuck in the spiral of those thoughts and feelings without really being conscious of them. It’s like our unconscious thoughts and feeling are driving the train by themselves and the conscious side of our brain is tied up and gagged in the baggage cart.
It can feel impossible to get untied and find the way back to the drivers seat, but I’ve found that it is possible to stop the spiral and get back in control.
We’ve already made progress by identifying the emotion and the trigger. Becoming conscious of the thoughts creating the spiral means you’re 50% there. Once your aware of your thoughts you can redirect them.
Have you ever gotten upset about something and laid awake in bed for hours with your thoughts spinning out of control, desperate to fall asleep? I have many times, until I learned to stop the spiral by noticing my thoughts and then redirecting them.
When I notice I’m in a spiral I consciously think the word ‘spiral’ which then triggers me to start thinking about something else. Usually my brain tries to go back to the spiral once or twice, and each time I notice the spiral and take control again.
You can redirect your thoughts by thinking about things you’re grateful for, thinking about a good memory, thinking about something you love, or thinking about a fantasy.
If there is a poem or quote you love that inspires you put it in a note on your phone and read it when needed.
Create a strategy that you’ll use the next time you catch yourself in a spiral.
What Lesson Can You Learn?
When you’re feeling overwhelmed you can also feel stuck in that negative mental space. We have to learn to take a deep breath and find the lesson in the situation. It will help you to feel less like a victim and like you have a little bit of control over the situation.
So see if there are lessons you can take away from whatever is causing your emotional distress. Maybe you just learn that in the future this situation is not worth the stress so next time you don’t react emotionally.
Change the story you tell yourself. I get to learn from this situation. I get to grow as a person. I get experience in this area that I can use in the future. I get to learn to appreciate when I don’t have to deal with this.
Reframe the Situation.
How can you reframe the situation? This can help you go from feeling like a victim to feeling empowered. If you refuse to stop feeling like a victim you will stay miserable.
Instead of feeling like “this happen to me” switch to thinking “this happened for me.”
Instead of “I have to do this” tell yourself “I get to do this.”
Whenever I get sick of course I feel miserable, but I also try to remember to feel grateful that 99% of the time I’m healthy. It honestly helps to put things in perspective.
When I stub my toe or some jerk almost hits my car I try to respond with “it’s all good” instead of anger and frustration. I mean I still have all my arms and legs and no one died so it’s not that bad.
When someone is rude or hurts me I try to remember that it’s not about me, it’s about them and they’re doing the best they can with what they have in the moment.
Of course sometimes anger, sadness, etc is understandable and it’s ok to feel that way but once it gets in the way of things you need to do that’s when you have to shift into a more positive mindset.
Stand in a Power Pose
How you hold your body can actually affect your emotional state. Standing in a Wonder Woman pose can make you feel powerful and confident.
Stand in front of the mirror and hold a Wonder Woman stance for a few moments while repeating positive affirmations.
Try saying something like this, “even though I sometimes feel (emotion) because of (trigger), I am choosing to change how I feel in this moment. I can choose how I feel, and right now I choose to feel happy, confident, and powerful no matter what.”
Practice Self Care
Self care is a simple way to change your emotional state. Often stress can be alleviated by taking the time to care for your body and mind. Schedule out some time to do something that feels really good to you. Self care looks different for everyone, but here are a few simple ideas to try.
Take a walk or just sit outside with some tea. Just getting into a different physical space can shift your perspective.
Read an uplifting book for 10 minutes. –> 10 Personal Growth Books that Changed My Life
Listen to a podcast or audiobook. –> Get a free audiobook.
Meditate for 5 minutes. I like using the Calm app for relaxing music or I find a rain sounds video on Youtube.
Put on comfy pants and stretch or do yoga. Or just lay on the floor while your pet
harasses loves you.
Listen to upbeat music or watch a favorite show. Right now I’m watching Good Omens on Amazon!
Work on a creative hobby or get an adult coloring book.
Related: 30 Self Care Ideas to Reduce Stress
I hope these steps help you change your emotional state when you’re overwhelmed with negative feelings or having a bad day. Thank you for visiting A Point of Light.
Love and light,