Banish a bad mood in 15 minutes

Banish a bad mood in 15 minutes

Pull yourself out of a funk, pronto, with these 3 surprisingly simple steps. Ask yourself these key questions to figure out what’s wrong.

What’s really bugging me? You’re irritable and sad, but you’re not sure why. “Think about what happened earlier in the day or in the week,” says Larina Kase, author of Anxious 9 to 5: How to Beat Worry, Stop Second Guessing Yourself, and Work with Confidence. “Keep going back until you hit on the most upsetting thing, something that resonates with you.” This will help you address the underlying problem rather than just focusing on the latest snafu in your life.

Am I avoiding something? It’s easier to pin your bad mood on stalled traffic than on, say, your stalled romantic life. If you still don’t feel that you’ve arrived at the root problem, ask yourself if there’s something big going on that you’re unwilling to address. Is there someone―your new love, for instance, or your best friend―whom you’re reluctant to show anger toward? Is there a nagging problem that has been building for months that you’ve been hoping would simply go away? Merely acknowledging the bigger issue will take some pressure off.

Could it be more than one thing? Say you had a bad fight with your sister. It might be a simple case of cause and effect: You argued, and now you’re angry. But the fight might have been aggravated by a problem you’re dealing with at work or compounded by the fact that your father is sick. In those instances, you might be angry but also feel sad or hopeless. It’s common to have multiple emotions cropping up at the same time. When you have two or more pressing problems bringing you down, try to address them one by one.

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