How to Change Your Mood When You’re Feeling Low
We have all had those days when we can’t seem to shake a low mood or negative vibe. 🙁
It can feel like we’re in a pit and can’t seem to climb out no matter how hard we try.
In this post (and the corresponding podcast episode), I want to explain why this happens and what we can do to get out of it.
Read on to learn more about how to change your mood when you’re feeling low.
How to Change Your Mood When You’re Feeling Low: The Mood Helmet
Let’s talk about selective filtering.
There’s an important thing we need to know about our brains when it comes to moods and emotions.
When we are experiencing a certain emotion, whether it’s sadness, anger or anxiety, our brain has specific circuits in place to help that emotion continue or increase.
This process is referred to as selective filtering.
So why does selective filtering happen?
Our brains are designed to keep us alive at all costs.
From an evolutionary perspective, it would have helped our ancestors if their brains were on high alert for things that would harm them.
Due to this, our brains have evolved a process to become hyper alert to other things in our environment that we should be aware of.
This system is influenced by the type of emotion we are experiencing at the time.
For example, if our ancestors were feeling afraid at night in their cave, it would have helped them to be alert for other signs of danger (to keep them alive.)
And it doesn’t just happen with negative emotions such as fear. In fact, if our ancestors were feeling positive attraction to someone else in their group, it would be good for survival for those feelings of affection and love to increase, so as to help our ancestors procreate and survive.
Selective filtering helped us then, but doesn’t help so much now.
The unfortunate thing is that this primitive survival mechanism doesn’t necessarily help us today.
What it does is ensure that when we are in a low or bad mood, we stay in it.
When we are in a low mood or negative mood, our brain becomes hyper-sensitized to find other things in our environment or experience that will reinforce that emotional state.
It’s almost as if our emotions love each other.
Due to our brain’s selective filtering process, our emotions are self-perpetuating!
Introducing: Your Mood Helmet
To simplify this concept, I often refer to it as your Mood Helmet.
Imagine that when you’re in a certain mood, it is as if you are putting on a helmet over your head.
While you’re wearing that helmet, you are only able to see or detect things that reinforce the current mood you’re in.
So if you’re in a negative mood, your mood helmet filters out everything that is positive.
What results is that you end up only seeing things that are negative or bad in your life.
In a bad mood –> Brain only sees bad things –> Bad mood continues.
How To Change Your Mood When You’re Feeling Low
We have to take off the Mood Helmet.
In order to overcome the mood helmet and change your mood when you’re feeling low, we have to intentionally “remove the mood helmet.”
When we’re wearing a certain type of “mood helmet”, our brain is not seeing everything it our reality.
It is only seeing the things that will recreate or reinforce our mood.
Therefore, we have to be intentional about actively showing our brain things that are opposite to the mood we’re currently experiencing.
How do you take off the mood helmet, and change your mood when you’re feeling low?
- Do an action that is opposite to the emotion you’re experiencing (for example, getting outside into nature, feeling the sun on your face, getting exercise all serve to be opposite actions to a low mood.)
- Write down a list of things you’re grateful for. This is usually not something we feel like doing when we are in a bad mood, but what it does is intentionally show your brain all of the GOOD things in your life right now. By doing this, we show the brain the things that the mood helmet isn’t letting it see.
Realize you’re wearing a mood helmet and intentionally look for the opposite. Find a silver lining in a negative experience if possible.
Change Your Mood When You’re Feeling Low Using IMPROVE
Dialectical behavioural therapy offers a great acronym to use when we’re trying to shift to a more positive mood or perspective.
You can use the IMPROVE skill (or parts of it) whenever you need to change your mood when you’re feeling low.
I – Imagery
M – Meaning
P – Prayer
R – Rest
Sometimes when we are in a bad mood, it can be that we are overworking and in need of rest. I know I can certainly turn my mood around with a nap sometimes.
If you’re stuck in a low mood, can you take a rest or get some time to relax?
O- One Thing At A Time
While I think we’d all love to head to the beach when we’re feeling low vibe, that’s not always possible.
Instead, take a “vacation” from what you’re thinking about or feeling down about. It’s OK to distract yourself a bit in healthy ways and not give all of your energy and attention to whatever is making you feel down.
How to Change Your Mood When You’re Feeling Low
Using the concept of The Mood Helmet and showing your brain things it can’t see is a useful way to help shift your mood.
Using the IMPROVE skills can also help lift your mood when you’re struggling to get a new perspective.
THIS EPISODE DIGS INTO:
- Why our brains are wired to reinforce our bad moods
- How to shift your mood when you’re feeling low
- A helpful collection of skills to help you shift your perspective and see things more positively
HOW TO SUBSCRIBE + REVIEW:
Want to be the first to know when new episodes are released?
Also, podcast reviews are super important to the iTunes algorithm. By leaving a review and telling others how amazing Mind Over Motherhood is, the more sisters we can reach with the message.
I'd also love to know if you're listening and what your favourite take-away is! Be sure to take a screenshot and tag me @carlycrewe on IG!
ARE WE FRIENDS ON SOCIAL MEDIA?
Did you learn something amazing from this episode, or have one of those incredible A-HA moments? Do you know someone else who might benefit from the goodies in this episode?
Be sure to share this episode with them on social media, whether it’s on Instagram, Facebook or Pinterest so we can reach more mamas with this message.
I’d love to know if you’re listening and what your favourite take-away is! Be sure to take a screenshot and tag me @carlycrewe on IG!
AUTHOR: DR. CARLY CREWE, MD
Dr. Carly Crewe is a mom to twin toddlers, a modern day nomad and MD Psychotherapist specializing in women's mental health.
Carly believes that when women are well, they have the power to heal and change the world.
Her mission is to revolutionize the women’s mental health care, from fragmented and haphazard to a holistic, comprehensive and integrated approach that meets every woman where she is and addresses the multidimensional reality of mental health.
Dr. Crewe is the founder of Eunoia Medical, a speciality mental health clinic for women in pursuit of a well mind. Carly runs a revolutionary mental health membership for women, The Eunoia Collective.
Carly is the host of the Mind Over Motherhood Podcast and is an Amazon best-selling author. Her newest book You Are Not Your Anxiety: How to Stop Being An Anxious, People-Pleasing Mess will be launching for presale on International Women’s Day March 8th, 2021.