How to Kick Bad Moods Forever

Are you in a bad mood? When's the last time you felt upset? Five minutes ago? Five days ago? Five months ago?

I've always been interested in what causes bad moods and how I can get past them. I see a lot of clients, family members, and friends on a daily basis, and I'm amazed at the differences in coping mechanisms. Some people snowball when they have a negative thought—"My hair is messed up today" somehow turns into "I've never been attractive," which then turns into "I'll die alone, depressed, and wrinkled." Other people deal with setbacks constructively. They acknowledge the thoughts and events, push them aside, and move on.

What separates the groups? There are a ton of factors involved, so let's look at a few of them.

• Love and Support

It's obvious that you'll feel better if you have people around who love you and think your life is important. If you don't hang around with people like this, try to find some. It might feel like elementary school all over again when you have to search for new friends every day and wonder where to sit at lunch, but when you finally have a supportive network in place, the end result is worth it.

• Confidence

You can have all the love and support in the world, but if you don't have your own, you're sunk. Life is really hard sometimes, and it has a tendency to hit you with a lot of things all at once. You have to believe you'll get through it as a stronger person. How do you do that? Picture yourself being successful. Reinforce that thought. Set a goal, and work at it every day. Look forward to something concrete. Most importantly, let go of others' judgments. You're an expert on yourself. If someone else says something that you feel is harmful, just drop it and embrace what you know instead.

• Belief

There are motivating beliefs and false beliefs. A motivating belief is something like "I can improve communication with my partner" or "I can stick to the workout plan I make." It's an exercise in positive thinking that works. A false belief is like a trick. Telling yourself "Getting a promotion is impossible for me" or "I'm stuck in this relationship for good" is enabling yourself to avoid change that could be good for you. False beliefs are personal limiters. Challenge them, and replace them with motivating beliefs.

These are just a few parts of the equation. Your own situation might be different, but the bottom line is the same. Look to what empowers you and makes you feel good. Find long-lasting changes instead of just temporary fixes. And start today. There's no better time than now to find your own inner happiness.