Podcast – Episode 0178 – How To Get Out Of A Bad Mood

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In this episode Joel and Antonia talk about strategies for getting yourself out of a bad mood.

In this podcast you’ll find:

  • We get caught in mood loops, and we don’t know what to do to pull ourselves out of the bad mood.
  • Podcast How To Get Out of a Funk
  • Sometimes bad moods occur when we feel we are out of control.
  • Bad moods seem unpredictable and random.
  • We struggle to get ourselves out of a bad mood because we can’t predict them and prepare for them.
  • We tend to blame others for our moods in an attempt to relieve the feeling.
  • We may act out in hopes that someone will relieve our pain somehow.
  • Thinkers may struggle to recognize when they’re in a bad mood.
  • Thinking dominants may need feedback from others to know they are having a bad day.
  • Once you recognize you are in a bad mood, take full responsibility for your attitude.
  • “I am responsible for how I feel and how I show up to the world.”
  • Podcast: Can you control your emotions?
  • You are the person who gets to decide what emotion you want to be feeling.
  • Even if you don’t have the skill/talent to deal with your emotional state you are still responsible for your emotions.
  • Sometimes when we are in a bad mood, we are too zoomed in on a specific situation.
  • Try zooming out and get a meta-perspective on the situation.
  • Come from a framework of gratitude:
    • What am I grateful for?
    • What am I thankful for?
  • Be grateful for the thing that is putting you in a bad mood.
  • It may be pointing to something that you need to deal with.
  • You can feel grateful for literally anything
  • Gratitude is as abundant as love
  • Sometimes we can be grateful to be alive
  • Objectify your mood:
    • Laugh at yourself
    • Call out the mood directly – articulate the specifics of the mood
  • We tend to want to harbor our lousy mood and protect it.
  • Objectifying the mood allows us to see the absurdity of our emotions.
  • “We’re going to laugh about this later.”
  • Accelerate the process and get to the funny story part.
  • Some people use substance to get out of a bad mood, and that isn’t necessarily a good way to train your body.
  • Choose healthier options
  • Why we are reluctant to let go of bad moods is because it is a strategy to deal with something.
  • If we stop the bad mood, we create a vacuum.
  • Try replacing the bad mood with gratitude, empowerment, action.
  • Emotion follows motion
  • Take control of the messaging


In this episode Joel and Antonia talk about strategies for getting yourself out of a bad mood. #emotions



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Showing 20 comments
  • Tim Ahler

    I was in a bad mood (depressed) this morning, and I listened to this podcast in response. I have introverted thinking as my driver, so I initially recognized my state and tried thinking my way out of it. That didn’t work, in fact, it made it worse.
    The making fun of yourself bit worked amazing! I almost laughed out loud while miming and mocking my own sullen mood, but I had to restrain myself because my roommates were sleeping close by. I found that it was much easier to feel the gratitude part after I had let go my of my own moodiness, but not before.
    Thanks for the good feels ya’ll!

  • Ann

    Maybe don’t list “having a child with special needs” as the thing you’re relieved not to be dealing with.

    I don’t even really know where to begin with this. It’s not like saying “I’m grateful I don’t have cancer / haven’t gone bankrupt / don’t like in abject poverty / am not in an abusive situation / haven’t lost a child.”

    Because if it is, your equating my children with these ills. Holy crap, just no. I can just say, I’m glad you don’t have them either. I am thankful for them every day.

    I know you didn’t mean to sound like this but now you know.

    • Antonia Dodge

      I can see how that portion of the podcast could be upsetting to someone who has children who have special needs. Our intent most assuredly was not to sound mean. Our intent is to be radically honest.

      I’ll tell you who I had in mind when we recorded this podcast. I had friends a while back who had a son that was in a pretty bad way. His oxygen supply had been cut off around the time of his birth and he was severely retarded. I knew them when he was in his thirties and he hadn’t been able to develop much beyond his newborn state. He was essentially an extremely large infant that had never learned to walk. His parents were powerhouses – they took care of him without complaint and clearly loved him as parents do. But I remember catching his mom in a moment of honesty. She offered that as much as she loved him, it was an exhausting life. As she aged she feared being too weak to lift him even with assistance. She worried all the time who would take care of him when they were dead, and would they be kind to him. They’d taken a brief vacation with family members watching their son only to be called back early when he had an unexpected seizure. It was hard to rest.

      I’m grateful I do not have the challenges they faced. They are amazing, and they showed up for whatever life gave them. They weren’t unhappy people, and they truly loved their son. And if my daughter had the same struggles I like to believe I would show up for her the same way they showed up for their son. If I did face the same challenge, as I mentioned in the podcast, I hope I would be grateful for that life. I don’t think that’s a contradiction.

      I think talking about circumstances like this is always tricky because it isn’t black and white. The challenge of these situations run concurrent with children being a gift. As a mother one’s children are always precious, something for which to have high gratitude.

      On top of that, adding personality type to the mix, there are some personality types that are legitimately better at dealing with children who have special needs than others. I’ve run into so many videos of ISFJs that selflessly adopt children with special needs, including Mohamed Bzeek who adopts children who are terminal and he knows will die. As the exact opposite personality type (I’m an ENTP) this is essentially magic to me. I cry every time I watch Bzeek’s videos and know that he has a gift I was not given but fiercely admire. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0DhJ9WYSqaU)

      I’m also grateful for people like you, who not only selflessly raise children in less than ideal circumstances but also protect that union against perceived attack. I have no doubt you do an infinitely more graceful job than I would. Your children are very lucky to have you.


      • Ann

        Your response just posted as I posted my own. I appreciate your follow up. Except it’s not enlightening to me or other special needs parents.

        All you’ve really said is that it looks really freaking hard and you’re being honest that you don’t know if you’d survive it. I respect all of that and know all of that. Especially as an ENFP who is LISTENING TO YOU GUYS BECAUSE I am trying to be me and mother two children with intense needs, one very much like the child you describe.

        Honesty is great. But this wasn’t a podcast about special needs parenting. And the context in which you guys discuss it isn’t needed or helpful or kind. It’s tone deaf. You can defend it all you want, or you can hear how a person actually on these shoes received it.


        • Ann

          Btw. It’s ok to acknowledge that it’s hard to do SN parenting. That’s not where this went wrong.

          It’s that you said you’re grateful you don’t have these children. And that the reason is they’d hinder career growth. And that our difficulties are anything resembling “bad moods”, when in fact most SN parents I know are a) suffering and b) joyful. Not in a bad mood.

          I’m not offended to have it pointed out that my life is daunting from the outside. No kidding 🙂

    • Ann

      The more I’ve let this sink in, the most completely offensive it is.

      That you had NO other example of what to be grateful for

      That you (I’m assuming) listened to the podcast before publishing and thought “yup, this works!”

      That you discuss parents of children with special needs being “moody” like yeah my kid not being able to walk is a real buzzkill, dude.

      That the real stress of us special needs parents isn’t flipping moodiness, it’s stress like being isolated from people and realizing, wait for it, that folks might have an aversion to the perceived struggle of your situation (and sidenote, congrats shallow ENFP, living up to the stereotypes that make us ENFPs look bad.) Thank you, in this podcast about feeling better, for affirming this ACTUAL cause of ACTUAL suffering.

      That the thing parents of special needs kids are grateful for are the lessons of being moody vs, I don’t know, the incredible joy of loving their children, and the chance to step out of natural tendencies toward self absorption (take notes here.)

      That a personal growth page expressed blatantly more concern for career trajectory than the real growth that comes from self sacrifice and love, and didn’t even recognize the opportunity for this real growth when this fell out of your mouth. Yikes.

      That the reason to be grateful is that your career isn’t held back, not, I don’t know, not having to watch your child suffer.

      That it didn’t occur to you that adult listeners with disabilities – who were once children with special needs – were just told they’re your #1 aversion and were a burden to their parents and an all around “bummer”.

      That saying you’re grateful you aren’t black or Muslim or a woman because the burdens all of these realities would eat into your career time is the same flipping thing, ‘cept it’s ok to diss the disabled population.

      Gross, all around. You should be ashamed and you should take this podcast down.

  • Tariq Khan

    I was in a bad mood, and these actionable steps helped a lot. It was almost algorithmic. And Joel, I hope you have bad moods more often if it is going to churn out solid content like this. cheers!

  • Jeremy

    Antonia, at the end you asked if anyone was listening to this episode who was in a bad mood, hoping to find help. I am one of those people! I enjoyed your discussion, as usual, but the actual advice for how to get out of a bad mood left me feeling discouraged because it feels out of reach for me.

    I am an INTP, enneagram type 5. Dealing with emotions has always been a huge challenge for me and my main strategy has always been to avoid them (not consciously). Only in the past year have I undertaken the challenge of learning how to get in touch with my feelings. It’s working, and as it turns out I am a much more emotional person than I ever realized. However, it’s been really hard because I’m 41 years old and emotionally it seems like I’m at the level of development of a 3 year old. As an enneagram 5, I am very prone to feeling ashamed when I perceive myself as incompetent, so this has been extremely difficult for me.

    You and many other authors, speakers, teachers, therapists all talk about the importance of taking responsibility for your own feelings. I have to admit I really just don’t get it, yet. I don’t understand how I can cultivate gratitude. If I’m not feeling gratitude, then how do I make myself feel it? Laughing at my bad mood as a way to zoom out seems like it would require seeing that my bad mood isn’t something to be taken seriously in the first place. I can’t imagine what that would be like… it sounds so foreign to me!

    I love your podcast but this one really left me feeling hopeless. I think I need a very basic lesson in navigation emotions and how to self validate before I can graduate to learning these advanced emotional ninja moves. I don’t suppose you want to do a podcast on “the basics of navigating emotions” for those of us who have “F” in their inferior process?

    • Antonia Dodge

      As a fellow NTP I understand how difficult it is to navigate the emotional space, and have emotions sneak up on you. Doing a podcast on the basics of emotions sounds like a great idea. I’ll run it by Joel. 🙂


  • Dana

    I was in a grumpy, sad mood and didn’t want to be, then remembered I hadn’t had a chance to listen to this episode yet. Yay! I knew listening to Antonia & Joel would help even if I didn’t get any new ideas. I got about halfway through before I had to move on to something else, but I was really pleased to realized that, while I hadn’t necessarily articulated the steps, they were actually actions I’d figured out myself a while ago. My memory for this stuff tends to go when I’m grumpy, though, so being reminded was definitely helpful. I do have two tweaks to share that have made practicing gratitude and objectifying my mood much more effective for me.

    First, I have found that when I make my list of gratitudes, it is very important to go into it consciously reminding myself that I don’t have to lose the grumps any time soon. I have learned that I have to play a lot of mind games with my very persistent (aka stubborn) inner 2 (and/or 13) year old, and if that part of me thinks I’m trying to cheat her out of her bad mood there will be resistance galore. And probably a worse mood: “We’ll show *her* what she can do with her stupid gratitude!”

    Second, I have a ton of resistance to the idea of making fun of myself/my emotional state, but I do have a strategy involving laughter that has worked for me. Several years ago I did an exercise where you start off with whatever’s worrying you or annoying you or whatever, and keep asking yourself, “What then?” until you get to the point where the end result is so unrealistic it just makes you laugh. I can’t remember what my starting point then was, but my end result was that I was going to end up living on a damp couch under a busy freeway overpass in Seattle weighing 900 lbs surviving on cat food and physically unable to move. This is a ridiculous scenario; I would actually have to work really hard to make it happen. Now all I have to do is think about damp couches and cat food and it almost always makes me not only laugh but also feel better, because it reminds me of how many wonderful people I have in my life who wouldn’t let it happen. I’m not laughing at myself or my emotions (that just feels really wrong for me), but I am laughing at the thought that I can even entertain the idea subconsciously that this could happen, given the amazing support system I’ve been blessed with. And I still don’t know how I could weigh 900 lbs by eating cat food.

    Anyway, thanks for another great listen, Joel and Antonia. You guys are the best!! (And helped me out of an icky mood once again 🙂 )

    PS – just to be clear, I am not making fun of those who actually are or have been homeless or who have ever had to choose between feeding themselves and feeding their pet. I have had many, many advantages throughout my life that make it unlikely that I will have to deal with those particular challenges, and I am fully conscious of and grateful for being born to a time, place, and family that have made that true for me.

  • Lukas_with_a_k

    I definitely enjoyed this podcast. I remember seeing it when it first came out and was totally intrigued by it because I struggle with my moods often. However, I did choose to listen to it today since it’s day two of a low level depressed mood. I don’t like being here and simply hearing Joel’s passion lifted me up enough to say, “yea! I want to feel better and have fun!” Haha I’m very grateful for this podcast and practical how to work. Thank you so much.

  • GM

    This podcast is wonderful truely i enjoy listening to this PH always helpful. I was also in a bad mood before I heard this podcast, sometimes I don’t realise when I’m in a bad mood usually others will ask me if I’m ok that’s when i’ll notice that something isn,t fine. In short i just want to say i can relate to the previous comments i have felt some of those expriences to be more specific my ego which keeps me ground it’s like whenever i’m in a bad mood it’s so hard for me to get ride of it.

    I spend a lot of time thinking about it like why did i let that affert my mood also i agree with Antonia on the stuff she points out. Thank you

  • Tanya

    I’ve been a grouchy, old mama bear for quite a few days now and I find it eerie how you people so often put out a podcast that coincides with something I’m going through in real time. I might be in a slightly better mood after hearing the podcast but not really. Usually I can pull myself out of it quite easily by vocalizing that I’m being a grouch. I’ll say to my kids “I feel like a grouchy bear today” or “My 3 year old is coming out and I need to put her away before she has a full out tantrum” or “I’m having a terrible, awful, no good, very bad day” which references a children’s book. Tea and cookies helps a little bit. Walking in the trees and having alone time usually helps me greatly. But something deeper is going on in my life right now. The mood is so bad that my joints actually ache with weariness. I’ve been accommodating the moods of someone else in the household for months and even years now, and I’m just not strong enough to keep it up anymore. I acknowledge that it’s up to me to change the way I’m dealing with it and to find a different route. But I’m lost at the moment. So I’ve given myself permission to go through what I need to in order to find a different direction. Right now that means I’m grouchy and sad and I need to be left alone. So I sit in the garden and let the warmth of the sun help relieve the aches in my joints as I try to zoom out and look at my life from above to find a different way.

  • Dave

    You caught me on a great day to hear this podcast. I was not in a bad mood when listening, but did exercise methods of getting out of a bad mood shortly before listening.

    Today’s technique was to identify that I was in a bad mood, realize that the reason for the moodiness was unfounded and force myself into thinking about the upcoming weekend, that is going to be great. So, this technique was to just minimize the importance of the reason for the bad mood and shift my thinking to something positive.

    I listen frequently, maybe too frequently. So, frequently that I would like to ask you guys to lighten up on the “quote-unquote” inserts 😉 Or keep up the frequency and I will design a drinking game around it.

    This is a great podcast that has added value to my life and my relationship with my wife. I understand myself better and continue to work toward a better me.

  • TP

    I actually was in a bad mood when I saw this in my inbox this morning and initially dismissed it and thought “ugh. I don’t need to listen to anything THEY have to say. Grumble grumble perfect marriage. Grumble grumble perfect family and career …” Then I realized this response I had is very different from the usual. I usually love seeing PH in my inbox. So I realized that an aspect of me was resisting this info and trying to protect my bad mood. At the time I wanted to savor and wallow in my bad mood. At the time, it felt like Antonia and Joel wanted to “fix” my bad mood so that the people around me who “caused” my bad mood wouldn’t have to answer for it when I lash out at them and try to make them feel what I feel. It seemed like they were attempting to fix my bad mood not for my benefit, but because things are much more convenient for everyone else if I would just shut up and get over my bad mood. (Yes my bad mood self projects all sorts of intentions onto other people that probably aren’t accurate)

    Now on the other side of the podcast I am feeling much better but I strongly disagree with Joel’s suggestion of poking fun — it is invalidating, marginalizing and seems disrespectful. You wouldn’t do this to your friends, partner, or children (I hope), so why would you do this to yourself? I guess you could make fun with yourself instead at yourself, but unless you can, it seems like “poking fun” could cause more problems in the long run by fracturing the self — most people I meet don’t strike me as people who couid do this without some level of repression, suppression, or dissociation from their experience and themselves.

    I do like Joel’s suggestion of calling the emotion out like a child would because the aspect of you in a bad mood probably IS an inner child so this is a way that lets him/her voice it. As you said, you should only do this with people you trust and I think it’s bc the poking fun that would happen with people who aren’t safe to do this in front of would be deeply wounding.

    Antonia’s perspective and observations on harboring a bad mood as a strategy for solving a problem was very helpful as well as the observation that lack of sovereignty can trigger a bad mood — it helped me realize one reason why I do like to hold onto bad moods and helped me get out of feeling like a victim about it.

    Anyway in conclusion thank you for this podcast. You are beautiful people.

  • Marilyn Simurro

    I love the ideas of gratitude for what you have and for what you don’t have. For example, not having children had been an upsetting idea for me, but I’m actually very happy that I don’t have children. Not having children allows me to be open to other people. I have been a mentor to several young adults, and now I count their children as my “fairy grandchildren”.

  • SH

    Thank you for your podcast (inspirational, as always). I just got myself out of a bad mood/funk that lasted for two months (a very dysfunctional workplace). I find that for me (possibly INTJ), the best way is to go out and find things to do. In the past my tendency was to ruminate over the bad feeling/situation/people, but that only made me feel worse and more unhealthy.

    I got laid off two days ago, and felt very reactive and vulnerable. So I decided to try this new strategy. Although I was not “in the mood”, I asked myself to go out yesterday to watch people on the streets and had dinner with my family to celebrate getting out of that place. I also did a lot of housework and tried to help my family more. As I was doing these things, my mood did not get significantly better. But today when I woke up, I immediately felt lighter and more balanced. It’s like magic!

    (Also, watching people focusing on their tasks and solving problems with little emotional distraction calms me down. My choice was watching the Murdoch Mysteries 🙂

  • TC

    Hey, I subscribe to your podcast and just listened to a few episodes. The bad mood one resonated with me for two reasons. First, I am an enfp and feel strong emotions that regularly require my attention. You also mentioned mood management in relation to the hardship of having a child with special needs. I have a child with multiple special needs. I am grateful for the beautiful lessons learned, but it has never been easy and fighting a depressive state while keeping my child alive has always felt like the biggest hurdle. Often what is needed is getting Maslow’s hierarchy of needs met. Sleep is hard to achieve with the many rounds of illness, hospitalizations, doctor appointments and stress related to insurance coverage, job performance and financial struggles. Many times I advocated for my son from a place of justifiable urgency that also causes a great deal of anxiety.

    I learned to survive by delegating some vital tasks to others so I could sleep and so I could establish basic daily routines. It was at that point that I could focus on gratitude and quality time in relationships, my health and job performance. The grief over the lost dream of my child being typical is a constant companion, but when I’m practicing positively and have the support system in place, it no longer governs my mood.

  • Alice Southern

    This is a great podcast, but I’m not sure that I necessarily agree with Antonia’s closing comment about finding ways to get out of a bad mood indicating some serious ego transcendence work! It might be for some people. But for me, I’m an Enneagram One and one of the many ways in which my ego shows up is in seeing a bad mood as a personal moral failure and therefore trying to get out of it as soon as possible 🙂

  • Kristi Kay

    This was a life-changing podcast for me. I am a harmony driver, and I’m currently studying for the bar and in a highly competitive trial advocacy program. As someone who uses extroverted feeling, approval from other people is incredibly important to me, but is unfortunately not something that I get a lot of in this context. This podcast really helped me to not feel down all the time, which was the case before it.

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