Three Common Triggers of Bad Moods and How to Avoid Them

A bad mood can sweep in like a winter storm cloud – often expected but sometimes a surprise. Sondra Wise, a licensed clinical social worker for Memorial Behavioral Health, shares three common triggers that can turn a good day into a bad one.

  • Negative thinking includes a jump to conclusions or snap judgments about people or situations, forecasts of the future with a catastrophic perspective, and all-or-nothing thoughts that encourage “black and white” thinking.
  • A negative environment can include complaining people, a lack of cleanliness and/or sunlight and excessive input from television, music, computers and games.
  • Poor sleep habits include behaviors such as overstimulation, lack of routine and other habits that lead to insomnia, hypersomnia and sleep apnea.

Once a bad mood rolls in, there are steps you can take to lessen its effect or even turn it around. Wise recommends the following:

  • Check your thoughts: Use positive self-talk to encourage yourself. Consider if your thoughts are based in fact, if there are other less negative ways to view a stressful situation, and if there are other possible explanations for what is bothering you.
  • Improve your environment: Limit exposure to negative people; keep home and work space clean and organized; open shades or blinds to let in sunlight; select positive entertainment; and schedule “me time” when necessary.
  • Follow good sleep hygiene: Avoid caffeine and sugar in the evenings; darken your bedroom; maintain a consistent sleep routine as far as going to bed and waking at about the same time; limit television and computer exposure within an hour of going to bed; and talk with a doctor about doing a sleep study if you suffer from ongoing problems.

If a bad mood persists and you start experiencing symptoms of anxiety or depression, talk to your primary care physician or a mental health professional. Memorial Behavioral Health also offers an anonymous free online screening to assess emotional well-being. After completing the self-assessment, you will receive immediate feedback about your score, information about local resources, and articles about mental health and well-being.