#ProjectHappy: How Being Mindful Can Bust A Bad Mood

Mindfulness can beat a bad mood and make a good one even better. Here's how to do it.

woman meditating

Always dashing about from place to place, texting with one hand, hailing a cab with another, and all while thinking about that looming deadline at work? Yep, these days we’re super busy, and thanks to our cray lives, we often forget to keep our emotions in check. That means we either don’t fully appreciate all of the feel-goods when we’re happy, or we let our emotions spiral when we’re in a rage.  So what’s the solution? The answer, says cognitive psychotherapist Martha Ryan, is to become more mindful. But, um, what does that mean?

Be aware

“Being mindful simply means to notice and observe the self,” explain Martha. “It’s about allowing yourself to just be.” That means no judging or moaning, but simply looking at what you’re feeling and deciding whether you want to improve on it. Basically, if you’re feeling hella cranky, it’s about taking a second to recognise your foul mood and decide whether you want to shift gears and snap out of it.

By simply acknowledging how you feel you’re allowing yourself the choice to respond to it anyway you want.

Mood boost

Fancy being more mindful and improving your mood? Martha recommends following three simple steps that take under three minutes to practise. The first is to actually ask yourself what you’re feeling. The second step is to acknowledge the answer. So, are you happy, sad, agitated? The third and final step is to “accept your answer in a non-attached way,” says Martha. In other words, don’t berate yourself for being in a bad mood. “By simply acknowledging how you feel you’re allowing yourself the choice to respond to it anyway you want,” she explains.

Do it daily

To really get into the swing of being mindful, Martha recommends making it a daily practice. “After a while you’ll notice when your body feels pleasant or unpleasant,” she explains. “This is magical because once you’re aware you can choose how you’d like to be and what would be helpful for you in the here and now. It’s not about policing yourself or judging yourself. It’s simply noticing and deciding if you wish to continue as you are or not.”

Pic credit: Psychology Today