Improving Mood and Managing Emotions

Dealing with Emotions

 What can you do to help avoid negative emotions?

Treat physical illness: Take care of your body. See a doctor when necessary. Take prescribed medication.

Balance eating: Don’t eat too much or too little.

Avoid mood-altering drugs: Stay off non-prescribed drugs, including alcohol.

Balance sleep: Try to get the amount of sleep that helps you feel good. If you’re having trouble sleeping, try going to bed and waking up at the same time every day. Give yourself time to wind down at the end of the day before bed.

Get exercise: Do some sort of exercise every day; even daily household chores like vacuuming counts!!

Develop hobbies/skills: Try to do one thing a day that you like or feel that you’re good at.

Take care of your inner self, too: Find spiritual activities you enjoy such as attending church, reading encouraging books, praying, or getting involved with other people who share your faith.

 Feeling down or in a bad mood?

Try these tricks!

Take care of yourself: Make sure you’re getting 7-9 hours of sleep at night, eating healthy, balanced meals.

Exercise: Regular exercise can improve mood, self-esteem, overall health, and reduce stress. Taking a walk or doing some chores around the house can really help! See if your church or community center offers exercise classes you can take with friends.

Go outside: Sunshine and fresh air can improve mood. Open the blinds on your windows to let in more light.

Talk with a friend or family member: The more time you spend alone with your negative thoughts, the worse they will get.

Play with a pet: Playing with pets releases mood-improving chemicals in the brain.

Find a hobby: Check out your local library or learn to cook some of your favorite foods.

Sing or listen to uplifting music: Find a few upbeat songs that make you smile.

Help someone: Doing something nice for someone else actually makes you feel better, too!  Just remember it’s also okay to say “No” when you need to take care of yourself

Don’t rely on alcohol, smoking, or drugs to improve your mood: Even though these can make you feel better in the short term, they can lead to addictions, make your mood worse over time, and cause problems in many other areas of life.

Focus on the positive: Make a list of all the good things in your life, as many as you can think of.


Sometimes people become overwhelmed by their feelings or memories of the past and lose touch with their surroundings. “Grounding” techniques help you bring yourself back to the present moment and gain more control of yourself and your actions.

Here are some ways to ground yourself:

  • Describe your environment in detail, including objects, sounds, colors, shapes, and smells: for example, “The walls are white; there is a wooden bookshelf against the wall…”
  • Play a “categories” game with yourself. Try to think of “types of dogs,” “states that begin with A…”
  • Describe an everyday activity in great detail. For example, describe the meal that you cook (“First I peel the potatoes and cut them into quarters…)
  • Say a safety statement. “My name is ______; I am safe right now. I am in the present, not in the past.”
  • Use humor. Think of something funny to jolt yourself out of your mood.
  • Count to 10 or say the alphabet, very s…l…o…w…l…y.

Get your senses  involved…

  • Run cool or warm water over your hands.
  • Grab tightly onto your chair as hard as you can.
  • Touch various objects around you: a pen, keys, your clothing, the wall….
  • Dig your heels into the floor-literally “grounding” them! Notice the tension centered in your heels as you do this. Remind yourself you are connected to the ground.
  • Carry a grounding object in your pocket, which you can touch whenever you feel triggered (for example, a coin or rock).
  • Stretch. Roll your head around; extend your fingers.
  • Walk slowly; notice each footstep, saying “left or “right”.
  • Focus on your breathing, notice each inhale and exhale.