It is often said that you shouldn’t make any promises when you’re either too happy or far too sad. Nor should you let your tongue loose when you’re angry if you don’t want to hurt anyone.
The better way to function is to learn how to manage your mood, particularly when you are stressed, angry, or anxious as these emotions can have mental as well as social implications in the longer run.
Now that we’re stuck at home, facing financial pressures, dealing with job insecurity, overworking, experiencing almost zero social connection, it could lead to a surge in negative emotions. World Health Organisation (WHO) and other research agencies are of the opinion that this tough time is a little too much for everyone across the world.
Hence, it becomes all the more important for you to understand how to tame your negative instincts now more than ever in order to avoid ugly arguments with family, friends, or colleagues.
We talked to Dr. Santosh Bangar, consultant psychiatrist, Global Hospital, Mumbai to help us find some simple ways that can be applied to manage our mood better.
Here are the seven expert-backed ways that will help you manage your mood mindfully:
1. Don’t run away from your emotions
According to Dr. Bangar, the main problem is that we keep on ignoring what we are feeling. He says that it is always better to face our fears so that we can work on them rather than running away from them. It will make us mentally stronger, in fact.
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2. Understand your feelings
“Now that you have made up your mind to deal with whatever you are feeling, the next step is understanding your emotions. Whether you are sad, angry, anxious, or depressed,” he says.
“At times, we mix up our emotions. For example, we think we are sad but it might be depression. We have to be careful of the nature of our emotions- whether they are temporary or permanent. Also, don’t shy away from taking help if you think you are confused”, adds Dr Bangar.
3. Accept your emotions
Acceptance is the key. If your doctor is telling you that you might have anxiety or anger issues then you need to believe in their expertise and accept it rather than countering them, suggests Dr. Bangar.
“It is always better to acknowledge your emotions because the sooner you accept them, the better you will deal with them”, he says. He added that “Crying or venting out in front of your confidant doesn’t make you a weak person. In fact, it is the other way round.”
4. Stop restricting yourself
“Don’t restrict your feelings. If you feel like eating good food then eat it, if you feel like dancing then dance, if you feel like talking to someone then talk. The thing is, don’t restrict your feelings because this might aggravate your negative emotions and land you in deeper trouble”, says Dr. Bangar.
5. Do what you love
The biggest setback of the typical modern lifestyle is that we hardly get time to do what we actually love. Our expert suggests that for instant relief, you can listen to the music of your choice, or do something that will help you calm down for 15-20 minutes.
“For the longer run, I would suggest that you should take some time for your favourite activities every week or month because otherwise, your mood can take a U-turn and bite you again”, he says.
6. Don’t forget to breathe
“If you learn the art of breathing, there is nothing like it to calm you down. Deep breathing is one such technique that nowadays people are vouching for to keep their mental health in check and to calm themselves down. Just take a deep breath until your lungs are full and exhale. Repeat this process 10- to 12 times and you will see that there is a sense of calm in you,” says Dr Bangar.
7. Sleeping well will also do the trick
Skipping sleep or sleeping for less than 7 to 8 hours can make you cranky along with impacting your mood negatively. That’s why you must ensure that you have taken a good night’s sleep so that it won’t impact your mood. In fact, a recent study published in the Journal of Sleep Research suggests that insufficient sleep may have a negative impact on emotional reactions.
A healthy lifestyle and meditation can help you manage your mood in the longer run
“For a better tomorrow, we need to be prepared today. We don’t have to wait for you to be depressed or have anxiety issues to work over them. I would suggest that you should deal with any negative mood today so that you might gather the strength to deal with emotional issues in the future,” suggests Dr Bangar.
“For this, meditation, yoga, healthy eating, and communicating with others are some important habits. Also, by communicating or talking to friends, I don’t mean over social media. When this coronavirus situation is over, you should definitely go and meet your friends to make that bond stronger than ever,” he concludes.