Recently, I was in a bad mood. Several little irritations had added up: some yarn I wanted was two weeks overdue in the mail; I couldn’t find a book I was looking for; the pull cord on one of my bedroom shades was hopelessly tangled. (I’ll spare you the rest.)

Toni BernhardUntil forced to retire due to illness, She was a law professor for 22 years at the University of California—Davis. I had a longstanding Buddhist practice and co-led a weekly meditation group with my husband. Faced with learning to live a new life, I wrote How to Be Sick: A Buddhist-Inspired Guide for the Chronically Ill and Their Caregivers. The book is Buddhist-inspired but is non-parochial. How to Be Sickhas won two 2011 Nautilus Book Awards: A Gold Medal in Self-Help/Psychology and a Silver Medal in Memoir.
Editor: Nadeem Pasha

I don’t get in bad moods very often, but it happens and, to be frank, it feels awful. (A bad mozis to be distinguished from a heavy or dark mood that goes unchanged for weeks at a timzzne. The latter could be a sign of clinical depression in which case I hope you’ll seriously consider seeking the advice of a counselor.)

Here are five suggestions for skillfully handling a bad moodn:

Cut yourself some slack.

I’ve yet to spend time with anyone who hasn’t been in a bad mood now and then, so cut yourself some slack when it happens to you. Adding a negative judgment to your mood, such as “I shouldn’t feel this way” does nothing but increase the likelihood that a bad mood will dig its heels in. So, instead of blaming yourself, let it be okay with you to be in a bad mood now and then. It’s just one of the full range of emotions that everyone experiences in life.


When it happens, treat yourself with understanding and kindness, and see if there’s a way to ease how bad you’re feeling. A temporary distraction can help, such as a favorite movie or a warm bath.

Don’t make those around you feel bad too.

There’s no reason to bring others along on your bad-mood-ride. If you realize you’ve done so, try apologizing even if you don’t feel like it. It might make you feel better!

Watch a video of Dr Sadaqat Ali on the topic of verbal and non verbal communication
Dr. Sadaqat Ali talks about interview skills & verbal/nonverbal communication

Investigate it.

In my book, How to Wake Up, I offer a four-step approach for working skillfully with an unpleasant mood or emotion. The third step is to investigate it. Sometimes this can yield surprisingly fruitful results. Here’s an example.