ADHD & Bad Moods: How to Feel Better Every Time
What’s the quickest way out of a bad mood?
Letting the bad mood happen without feeling so salty about it.
I felt a lot of anger, frustration, and fear come up after I got some challenging feedback about my business today.
Pre-coaching, I would have shamed myself for daring to feel upset, ignored the feelings, or believed my brain when it started screaming, “This sucks and it’s a problem! Panic! Escape! Fix!” And my afternoon would have been toast.
Instead, I just allowed the feelings to happen and paid attention to them. I slipped them on and wore them for a while. No rush, no judgment, no solution-seeking: just allowing.
Before long, I wasn’t in a bad mood anymore.
When a feeling comes knocking, answer the door and let it in. If you ignore it, ask it to leave, or tell it why it shouldn’t be around, it’ll only come back with increasingly larger battering rams until it gets in eventually.
Letting in a feeling—aka allowing it—is a LOT easier than having a feeling force its way in, which is exactly what happens when we resist them.
A bad mood isn’t a problem at all: it’s just part of the human experience. Don’t cheat yourself out of it!
Before I started coaching myself, these are the steps I would have taken next:
- Give myself a thorough verbal beatdown for “messing up”
- Alternate between sad/angry crying for a while (Mars in Cancer crew what’s uppp)
- Indulge in my substance of choice (Facebook and/or arguments with strangers on Reddit)
- Wrap up with another self-directed verbal beatdown for “being such a baby”
It wouldn’t have been a super-cool way to spend 3-6 hours, not gonna lie. Luckily, after absolute oodles of coaching, something unexpected happened.
Instead of trying to feel “better,” shaming myself for daring to feel upset, or ignoring what I felt, I just allowed the feelings to happen and paid attention to them.
Emotions are like dogs: if you have a whole bunch but you’re only willing to give attention to your favorites, the others will feel neglected, act up, and cause you alllll of the problems.
And you’ll want to place the blame on the dog, even though it’s responding the only way that makes sense.
“Okay, I feel anger and anxiety,” I said to myself. “That’s fine. They’re just sensations in my body. My nervous system is reacting to some unfun ideas that popped up in my head. Pretty small deal. It’s just a simple human experience. I can make room for that.”
Basically, I’ve stopped believing these uncomfortable feelings are a problem. I accept them.
They’re just feelings, not a sign that something is horribly wrong. They’re just part of the human experience. Sure, maybe they kind of suck, but no one ever promised me my life would be an endless parade of comfort and joy. (Which sounds exhausting af anyway, and vaguely Stepford Wife-y—no, thanks.)
Uncomfortable things like sadness, anger, fear—worst of all—boredom don’t freak me out the way they used to because I know that I can HANDLE the discomfort they bring. So can you!
And it’s totally worth it, because when you just allow those feelings to happen, it doesn’t take them nearly as long to pass.
Make it work for you!
Next time you’re dealing with some uncomfortable emotion you’d rather not have, give these tips a spin:
- Simplify & neutralize the situation. Instead of telling yourself you’re freaking out, melting down, spiraling, or describing your mood in some other high-drama way, give yourself the colossal gift of neutrality. For extra potency, add a dash of simplicity. What sounds better: a.) I’m losing my entire goddamn mind over this upcoming consult call or b.) I’m just feeling anxiety in my body because I’m facing some uncertainty. Words like just aren’t meant to minimize or invalidate your experience: it’s meant to remind you that what’s happening is fine, and, in fact, not an absolute disaster.
- Remind yourself this is a temporary experience. It’s not that you’re sad, angry, or anxious—stating it that way to yourself seems very permanent on an unconscious level, which makes a painful mood feel like a way bigger deal than it is. Instead, remind yourself that you’re only feeling this emotion now, and that it’ll eventually lift, lighten, and go away. That happens naturally—and will probably happen more quickly when you’re not all hung up on it—but that’s easy to forget, especially when you’re in the middle of a feeling.
- Process the feeling when you’re ready. When you come to a state of acceptance, close the loop by processing the feeling—aka moving it through your brain and body. Give yourself permission to move forward without excessive dwelling, shake it off, and give yourself some love and appreciation for respecting your own emotions. It’s not easy and it deserves celebration!
Like any skill you want to build in life, this takes time and practice. And if you want to start this practice without it taking much time at all, challenge yourself to my express coaching series, the 5 Day Struggle Send-Off. Come with any creative problem keeping you stuck, and walk away with a perspective that just might change everything.
All it costs is an email address. Enter yours below & we’ll get this party started!