06/25/2015 05:44 pm ET Updated Jun 25, 2016

How to Shake a Bad Mood Fast

Flickr, Vladimir Pustovit

Just like unexpected rain on a clear sunny day, life circumstances beyond our control are going to happen. Letting them control our moods though, is completely optional. The key lies in changing focus.

Here are a few simple ways to shake a bad mood fast.

1. Get in touch with what's really going on.

According to psychologist Guy Winch of Psychology Today, "we can't shake a bad mood if we're not aware of what's causing it".

When we get to the bottom of what's really eating at us, we can either begin to take action or begin to let it go. Let's say there was something about a recent conversation that's still eating at you. Revisiting the conversation to either clean it up or gain clarity, leads to peace.

If we can't put a finger on what's bothering us, we won't have any power over changing the bad mood. Don't stay in denial, start inquiring internally.

2. Wallow in it.

Exaggerating your bad mood by groaning, whining out loud to yourself, sighing loudly or screaming solo in your car moves the energy out. Clients who practice these techniques report feeling as though they've drained the fuel right out of their bad mood. Unexpressed emotions fester and grow. Expending some energy either through exercise or verbalizing, shifts a bad mood into neutral.

3. Remove the low hanging rotten fruit.

Sometimes a bad mood is merely overwhelm unexpressed. Ask yourself: What's hanging over my head? The way we do anything is the way we do everything. Little things we've put off doing often add up to major stress. Take action on three things you've been putting off. Make that call, pay the bill, run the errand.

4. Count your gratitudes.

Practicing gratitude changes your mood and your life because it creates what's called a virtuous cycle in the brain.

According to Dr. Alex Korb in Prefrontal Nudity- Psychology Today "Your brain only has so much power to focus its attention. It cannot easily focus on both positive and negative stimuli. It is like a small child: easily distracted. Oh your tummy hurts? Here's a lollipop. So you lost your job? Isn't it wonderful we're having KFC for dinner?"

Gratitude also stimulates production of the feel good hormone Dopamine. The more you feel gratitude, the more dopamine is released in the brain. The more dopamine you have, the happier and more grateful you feel, and the cycle continues.

Just like rain storms, bad moods are going to happen out of the blue. The difference between getting caught in one or not, lies in what you do next.

Photo via Flickr by Vladimir Pustovit
Post with permission via Daily Transformations

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