Whether there are obvious circumstances stealing our joy, or for some unknown reason we just can’t shake a bad mood, we all have days where we have trouble finding the joy that we are supposed to be filled with. For us Christian folk, this can be especially difficult. How can we be the light of the world when we feel so negative inside? How can we share the love of Christ with others when all we want is to be alone?
Well, I do not claim to have all of the answers. But I do have a few tips for helping you retrieve your missing joy when you really aren’t in the mood to do so.
1. Make a list of your blessings. – I know it sounds like a cheesy exercise, but if you start writing down all of the things that God has blessed you with, it can often be difficult to stay in a bad mood. Feel free to start out with more obvious things like a home, family, and friends and then work your way to the more intimate blessings that maybe only you and God know about. Once you have this list, take the time to pray and thank God for these things individually. This exercise does a lot to soften your heart.
2. Sing, sing, sing.–I know that if you don’t feel like talking, you certainly don’t feel like singing. However, there are very few things that will change your mood faster than music. Think about it. Listening to an 80’s love ballad automatically makes you either feel incredibly lonely or become a sappy mess thinking about your boo. Listening to country music makes you want to buy a dog and a pickup truck. Listening to hip hop makes you want to be more like me.
If songs in these genres tap into our emotions, think about how powerful singing praise to the Creator of the universe can be. If you turn on some praise and worship music and let it play in the background, I guarantee that it won’t be long before you will start to sing along. Once you start singing, you will start to notice your bad mood slowly fading away.
3. Pray.– This should have probably been number one on the list. Given that we are advised to pray without ceasing, I doubt there is a “bad mood” clause allowing us to take a rain check. While the Holy Spirit is always with you, there is something to be said for reaching out to God through prayer. By calling out to Him, it feels like we are opening the lines of communication and that often allows us to be more receptive to what He is trying to say. So by praying, we are more likely to hear God guiding us, leading us, and trying to cheer us up.
If you have circumstances weighing down on you that are out of your control, prayer is the one way that you can give your troubles over to God. He does not want you to hurt or worry. He wants to take your burden. He wants to deal with your problem on your behalf. Give it to him.
Through prayer, we are more likely to be able to sense His presence and feel His love. If feeling the love of God in a real way doesn’t help you feel better, nothing will.
4. Force yourself to do something nice.– Believe it or not, happiness is contagious. Receiving a kind word or smile from another person may give you that spark you need to turn your day around. How do you secure such a greeting? Do something nice. Pay somebody a compliment. Open doors for people. Bring me a donut. You’ll be surprised how quickly doing something nice for somebody else will put a smile on your own face.
5. Find a reason to laugh. – I know this is less on the spiritual side. But if you find a reason to laugh, your brain will release endorphins which will make you happy. Hey, it's science.
Having trouble finding something to make you laugh? Watch this video.
6. Exercise.– I don’t know a lot about this one, but I hear it releases more endorphins than laughter. Also, you can listen to your favorite Christian tunes while you work out. That's double the joy.
7. Do all of these things every day.– Every single item on this list is something that you should be doing every day. (Given, you don’t necessarily need to make a written list of your blessings every day. But you should be giving thanks for them.) If you aren’t doing these things already, I guarantee that you will find a significant difference in your mood, productivity, and general happiness by doing so. What do you have to lose?
What tips do you have for turning a bad mood around?