Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Can You Change Your Mood?

I've been feeling a bit prickly the last couple days. Do you know the mental heaviness I'm talking about - when something isn't quite right, and you're just generally out of sorts?
Sometimes, I need to change my mood. I really believe that when I experience these subtle downswings, there are ways to switch to a more positive frame of mind. Often, just getting outside for some fresh air is enough. Other times, I need to practice a technique my friend, Mary, taught me.
I take a walk, allowing random thoughts to come into my mind. If the thought is bothersome, stressful, angry, sad, or generally a bummer, I open an imaginary trapdoor in the back of my head. I move the thought I want to eliminate to that door and let it topple onto the ground and roll away from me. I keep moving forward, cleaning out negative thoughts and sad feelings until I begin to feel my mood stabilizing.
Now this is important: Problems still exist - I'll have to deal with them (hopefully productively) at another time. But, mentally, I feel a relief - a more positive attitude where I can feel appreciation, joy, and calm.
My focus turns outward instead of inward.
I feel more connected.
Small things give me pleasure.
The present moment seems enough.
What helps you feel better?
Exercise? Food? Music? Hobby? Shopping? Meditation? Prayer?

How do you change your mood?

PS I'm learning a new blog application (Blogsy) for iPad in preparation for my trip. I'm going to publish this post from that platform. It's giving my old brain a bit of stress - but hopefully building some new circuits, too. Now, my plan is to go outdoors and practice this technique to relieve my frustration!


  1. these are all gorgeous shots! and i'm impressed that you can visualize pushing those negative thoughts out of your head. i have such a hard time letting go of them. exercise does help put things in perspective. i try to take deep breaths and remember to not take myself so seriously, too.

  2. p.s. that is the cutest squirrel i've seen all week!

  3. I think you're right about getting outside and I like Mary's idea for letting it go. Good luck with Blogsy on your upcoming trip.

  4. Changing your mood is always difficult, it is againt nature. I find it fantastic that you published this article via ipad. That is super. I am going to check out this app.


  5. All of the above, Barb!
    I think you must have done a very good job this day, by the photo art on this post. You could not have shot these while in a mood.

    One thing that really helps me is to tackle a bad mood on with paper and pen. After twenty years of journaling, I stopped lying to mine this year. That helps!

  6. I've suffered from anxiety most of my life. I've learned to ward it off much more easily by getting 'sunshine' worked into my day. Your body needs to produce melatonin which helps me sleep better and keeps those moods and whatnot away. That's the most I can offer but it works for me. Love these images. Looks like you've been seeing some Spring. So glad. Carol

  7. Congratulations on the new circuits...our brains all need those new pathways to stay vibrant and alive. Your photos are both vibrant and alive. My technique for chasing negatives is similar. I have a positive phrase (a sort of mantra) and I simply repeat it silently..or not, when I am really agitated. But, stay with the positive works for me.

  8. I too like Mary's idea for letting go of negative thoughts. Just getting outdoors and taking photographs, and being creative does take the edge off the prickly feelings, for me at least. And by your post with beautiful spring photos today, I'd be surprised if it didn't help you too. I know it doesn't make the problems go away, but it sure does help put one in better place with which to respond, rather than react to the problem.

  9. There is something about travel...even though it is a good thing- that sets me on edge. I abhor leaving things behind. I know this about myself and as such allow myself plenty of "room" to get all I need done. As for mental heaviness, I have finally discovered I NEED to move. Walking, walking, walking... followed by/or in tandem with being creative... photography, and writing. Once in a while, I follow that up with a short nap or meditation time. It is hard work to let things roll out that trap door ( I do like that idea) and open up to seeing again. On another note... when I cannot go to sleep I have a similar technique. When things come into my head I have these doors or drawers in my head. I put the thought in there and close it. I keep doing this until my brain gives up. Hope your return to being in sorts and ready for your trip! xo teri

  10. PS _ I love your photos!!The light through the cherry blossoms is exquisite!

  11. Hi Barb,
    I have experienced minor bouts of what I call depression. When things aren't going just so. I have noticed that the bouts have become more and more often and lasting longer. Now there is a lot going on here that I don't feel comfortable talking about yet so I suppose that's part of it. I have been wondering if it isn't just because I'm getting older that it takes so long to come out of the blues.

    I have generally, always been able to reverse this "low" feeling but have been having a hard time of it lately. Being outside in my yard, gardening has always helped. Not so much lately. Sometimes just sitting out there reading a book or journaling has helped too. Also getting away from the house, which doesn't happen often enough thanks to the price of gas.

    It could also be the fact that I've had one hell of a year and that in itself can be depressing. Either way, I hope you manage to keep your spirits up. And I don't remember you saying anything about another trip. Do tell! Love Di ♥

  12. Hi, Barb.
    Many of my friends say to me that I always look fine and positive. However,I am not always so. It is hard to change a prickly mood. Music, exercise and meditation,none of them help me to change a bad feeling.
    I only wait for the time to pass until my heavy heart dissolves.This may be a negative way to change a prickly feeling, but after the bad feeling has gone away, nature, music,hobby will welcome me. I try to say it to myself in the weak.

    Your blogger friends love you, Barb, and I love you too. I hope your prickly mind will fade away soon!!!


  13. That sounds like a good exercise. I'll have to put it into practice. What does it for me is walking and snapping photos.

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  15. Definitely some quiet moments with myself or in a temple helps. It just flushes out the negativity and helps in thinking better, how to handle the problem at hand.
    Your friend Mary's idea of a long walk is also nice.
    Beautiful pics Barb, have a nice day.

  16. Sounds like a technique I should try. Easier on a sunny day. As I play a lot of music, I find that helps. It focuses the mind on something else and the prickles dissolve a little.

  17. I'm with music as well - it helps lift my spirit. But I think Mary's idea of letting the negative thoughts tumble on the path behind us is also a good mental exercise. Do you think it would be wise to make your walk circuitous so that you don't pick up the little beggars on the way back? The negative thoughts, I mean.

  18. What fabulous pictures and oh those flowerin' trees are amazingly beautiful!!!

    I use many techniques, a combination of all the above but nothin' soothes the beast within as much as workin' in my flower gardens. Of course I have the radio in the pottin' shed full blast so I can hear it all over the yard, prayer is often a part of this and we all know that haulin' mulch and pullin' weeds is great exercise. Also, I firmly believe that happiness is a choice and I simply choose to be happy.

    God bless ya sweetie and have a beautifully cheerful weekend!!!

  19. Are these "spikes" worst than the cholla? My denims got "bitten" and it went through my knee.

    Nights photos and mental reflections.

  20. Most of the above seem to help me too. Reading scripture is another for me, not so free to go shopping.

    Hope you enjoy your trip away. Love for squirrel photo, so cute!

  21. I find if I deal with the things that are causing me stress, that's the best way to feel better.

  22. Life can be snatched away at any moment. Realizing how precious time is here on earth has a way of putting worries and fears in perspective very quickly. :)

  23. What a good technique. Thank you, Barb, and Mary. I know what you mean about just getting outside is sometimes enough...but this is a little bit extra to help release. Thank you--and beautiful photos.

  24. Great thoughts, Barb, and wonderful photos! My little trick is gratitude. Negativity and gratitude cannot co-exist in our brains, one will drive the other out. So when I feel negative and down I list things I am grateful for, in my head or on paper, whichever is practical there and then. It's a brilliant mood shifter, and it also works wonders if I can't sleep :-)
    Have a fantastic trip, wherever it is you're going! :-)

  25. I love this idea and I needed it today. Nature walking is my thing; if I can't do that, just walking around the neighborhood usually works. I will see if Mary's idea works when I can't do either one.

    There's a fine line between the brain-improvement that comes from learning a new skill and the stress that comes with learning it!

  26. well this is a timely post for me to encounter. this morning in yoga class a man threw down his mat very close to my own. class was full. his wingspan must have been 10 feet wide, as he was very tall. (yes, I exaggerate). there was no room to do the poses. I left class 30 minutes early and angry for the rest of the morning. I headed to the garden center and before I knew it, my mood was changed. I had forgotten my disappointment at not being able to finish my class. I could have responded to the crowding in a healthier way at the time, but I didn't. All was not lost, only several yoga poses for the day. thanks for the insight Barb. I didn't walk, but I did the next-best thing. I surround myself with plants. And purchased way too many! happy day to you.

  27. Doing exactly what I'm doing now, helps me to feel better. lol Reading blogs and writing comments. Most bloggers write in a way that makes me feel that I'm being spoken to, and it's fun to write back - to have a mini-conversation.

    Exercise is a definite release - if I can just get out the door! Prayer is good, too.

    That's an interesting method that your friend taught you. I hope it continues to work for you. Perhaps I'll try it. :)

    Beautiful photos as always!

  28. look at all those great color! and that squirrel is way too cute :)

  29. Hi Barb, I just found your second blog One Good Thing. Love your photos of your tript to Arizona, very beautiful. And your encouraging, philosphical thoughts on feelings and moods is very uplifting. I'll come back to your blog often just to see the photos and read your words of encouragement.
    Tucson, Arizona


Your comments are always one good thing for me!