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Changing Your Mind: Three Ways to Turn Around a Negative Mood

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Written by Lori Jo Vest

Have you ever heard the term “mood management?” It’s commonly used to describe the ability to control emotions in business situations, though it can be applied to our personal lives, too. Someone with strong mood management skills is able to put aside negative feelings, like anger or frustration, and create a positive state-of-mind, when necessary.

How does mood management apply to managing incontinence? Often times, people that experience bladder leakage may feel anxious, sad or upset about their condition and the challenges it presents. By practicing mood management, you may be able to tackle these emotions and get back to feeling resourceful and confident sooner. Here are three methods you can use to try restore your mood to a more positive place.

Spend time outdoors. When you’ve got the blues, spending some time outdoors – even just relaxing on your porch - can leave you feeling more energized and resilient. Richard Ryan, lead author of a study published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology and a professor of psychology at the University of Rochester said, "Often when we feel depleted, we reach for a cup of coffee, but research suggests a better way to get energized is to connect with nature.”

The study tested whether the feel-good effect was based on activity or simply being outdoors. The results showed that the presence of nature – trees, a grassy lawn or even plants seen through windows – has a revitalizing and mood-lifting effect. So when you need a boost, head outside and enjoy some of Mother Nature’s finest!

Take a short nap: One of my girlfriends prescribed “nap therapy” when I was going through an extremely difficult time after being downsized out of what I thought was my dream job.

“Whenever you feel hopeless and sad, just take a nap for a half hour,” she advised. “You’ll be surprised how much better you feel when you wake up.” She was right. According to the National Sleep Foundation, a short nap – 20 to 30 minutes – can greatly improve your mood. If you can afford the time for a half hour snooze, you’ll most likely feel more relaxed and optimistic when you wake up.

Pivot your thoughts: Pivoting means turning your focus from the negative to the positive. To start the process, think through the situation you’re experiencing. For example, let’s say you tried a new style of protection on a trip to the outlet mall and it leaked, leaving you feeling embarrassed.

As you move through the details, think about the positive aspects of the experience and see if you can shine a more favorable light on the situation. What did you learn? In this case, you might have discovered that it’s better to try a new type of protection at home first. You may have also learned to bring a change of pants (or two, to be extra safe) with you on longer trips.

Continue to think about the positive aspects of the experience. Perhaps your partner was supportive and caring. Or maybe you found a family bathroom that is perfect for changing at your favorite shopping destination.

Paying attention to how you feel and using techniques like these to adjust your attitude are the basic tenets of mood management. While we all develop “ruts” in our brains – our typical thought patterns that may not always serve us well– mood management can help us get those ruts headed in a different direction. Develop a focus on the positive. Pay attention to how you think and what you say – then evolve it over time. With practice, this new way of thinking can become a habit that helps you keep a more positive attitude during difficult times.

If you find that your negative emotions are excessive, it may be best to see a physician or mental health professional who can help you sort things out.

What about you? How do you practice mood management?

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