5 Ways To Get Out Of The Bad Mood That's Ruining Your Day

You don't like it, your friends don't like it... so do something different!

how to get out of a bad mood Photo by Swaraj Tiwari on Unsplash

My ballet career ended abruptly after a performance as Tinker Bell in Peter Pan.

Remember when Tinker Bell is dying and the audience has to clap to bring her back to life? Instead of gracefully floating down facing the audience, I flopped down with my butt toward the crowd.

I must have been about six.

I can still hear the barely stifled snickers, probably from siblings forced to attend.

While there were many positive events in my childhood, the memories of them tend to be less elaborate and persistent than "The Peter Pan Incident", as it became known in my family.


There were recitals in which I did not blunder. Why don't I remember them?

The psychological reason is simple: the bad outweighs the good.

We speak often about bad news, the mistakes of others, even bad meals, and these things color our lives and stay with us, resulting in a persistent bad mood or a negative outlook.

Witness the effect that the current political environment is having on our collective mental health and our happiness.

Our expectation that bad things will have dire consequences far outweighs our expectation that good things will reap demonstrable benefits.

According to marriage expert John Gottman, of The Gottman Institute, it takes five positive interactions to overcome one negative interaction.


Psychologist Barbara Frederickson found it takes three positive emotional experiences to cancel out one negative experience in your day.

There is an argument about the precision of the science, but the bottom line is pretty clear — it takes a lot of good to overcome a little bad.

Just as the clapping of the audience brings Tinker Bell back to life, here's how the good can undo the bad, allowing you to be truly happy:


1. Be kind to your partner.

Whether it's cooking his favorite meal, overlooking the fact that she was late or telling him how much you love him, keep the positive to negative ratio high.

Sometimes if you wait 24 hours, that thing that totally pissed you off yesterday isn't even worth mentioning today.

And if it still bothers you, try to remember a moment your partner did something nice for you. New research shows that "relational savoring," or thinking about something positive your partner did, increases positive feelings toward them.

2. Give your children positive feedback.

As parents, no matter the age of our offspring, we think of ourselves as gatekeepers of the family morality, rules and general guidelines for appropriate behavior.


We are forever correcting, tweaking and advising.

As they get older, this advice is frequently unwelcome. First, ask if your opinion is wanted. Then give specific advice.

Notice their good efforts and point them out without being asked.

For younger kids, lots of positive feedback, with one criticism at a time, is a good plan.

3. Practice self-compassion.

Try not to over-think the negatives. Knowing that they are sticky, process negative events (Is there something I need to do differently next time?) and make an extra effort to let them go.

Talking things out with someone may reduce the sting. It helps to celebrate success, which we are often too quick to breeze over.


Notice the good things and take a moment to be grateful for them.

4. Be a positive friend.

We go to our friends for honest feedback, so I'm not suggesting you sugar coat it when someone asks, Does this make my butt look too big?

But encouragement, spontaneous praise, and support are always appreciated.

Listen to their woes without judgment. Help your friend see the silver lining in a difficult situation. Your positivity might just offset the negative in your BFF's day.

5. Find the good.

Whether in the news, in life or in others, noticing positives helps. Limiting media exposure to bad news and the Debbie Downers in your life is important.


You don't have to withdraw support from a friend in need, but don't collect needy people and read only about death and destruction.

Make time to hang with positive people, watch or read something upbeat and smell the flowers.

I'm not planning to try ballet again anytime soon, but I now consider that chapter of my life officially closed.

To cultivate my positive side I'm curious, grateful, and always on the lookout for the good.

I have to add that, if you're like most people today, moderating your news intake is definitely going to bring you a step closer to positivity and true happiness.

Judith Tutin, PhD, ACC, is a licensed psychologist and certified life coach. Connect with her at drjudithtutin.com where you can request a free coaching call to bring more passion, fun, and wellness to your life.