What to do About a Bad Mood | What Causes a Bad Mood

Hey thanks for joining me on this edition of The Chalene Show. Someone asked me today if I ever get in a bad mood. Ironically I was in a bad mood when I got the question. Today’s podcast is devoted to figuring out what it means when you are in a bad mood and what you can do about it. All right, off to the show. Are you ever in a bad mood, are you ever in an inexplicable bad mood like you shouldn’t be in the bad mood and no one thinks you should be in a bad mood and you are kind of annoyed with the fact that you are in a bad mood but you are nonetheless in a bad mood. Well if that’s ever been you, congratulations, you are normal.


I want to talk to you about something I hadn’t planned on talking to you about but it’s a personal thing that happened to me today. And the reason why I wanted to share this with you is because this ended up being a big deal for me today. People always ask me, are you always in a good mood or how do you become a positive happy person and frankly, I am lucky because it is luck that genetically speaking because we do know that the chemistry of our brains, a great percentage of that is just genetically given to us like you inherit a happy brain, an anxiety brain, a brain that worries.


A percentage of that you inherit from both your parents and then of course a percentage of how you deal with the world and your happiness, your anxiety, your ability to roll with the punches is the result of you know, just your life experiences. Some people have some pretty bad experiences and therefore it makes sense that they would look through the lens of a darker colored glasses. If they had a pretty good and we have happy parents and so when people tell you, oh just be happy, you can try and you can definitely improve your mood but I think it would be misleading to tell you that we all have exactly the same brain and we all have the same ability to be happy.


Some people don’t have the same brain. Some people genetically speaking if you were to do a brain scan of them like I’ve done of my brain at the Amen Clinic, you can see that certain brains have a propensity for anxiety and worry and they are just sadder. When I had my brain scan, I was delighted yet not surprised to find out that I am generally a really happy person like the area of our brains that you would see a lot of activity around anxiety or nervousness or worry like I have no brain activity there. I just don’t worry like it’s a problem like things I should be worried about, I don’t and I think people think I am just saying that but legitimately I am like, I am not worried about it.


Number one, I’ve got like super, duper strong faith. I am like, what good [0:02:51] just worrying about I have to do when God already has all of this figured out like long before I hit the planet anyway. So why would I waste any time worrying about it, #1 and then #2, my brain just doesn’t work that way. I just don’t worry. However today, I was in a gnarly bad mood. We are talking in epic bad mood and it didn’t hit me until about probably about 12 o’ clock is when it really started to hit.


So what happened is, I am working on an update on my book Push and I’ve got a deadline which is fast approaching. I like to talk. I like to talk a lot. I am not that keen on writing. So typically when I am forced to write, this brain has a hard time focusing. This need to be a big writing day and then that I couldn’t do all the things I normally do that are fun like I freaking love my job. I love helping people with their businesses, I love looking at things that my students are about to launch and you know, I’ve got several online academies and so many of my marketing impact academy students are like launching their own programs and I mean there is probably like 20 people who I personally know who are going through their program who are like, Chalene, I’d like you to look at this, I’d like you to look at this and just offer your feedback and for me, that’s just like joy. I would love to do that.


So I couldn’t do all the things that normally are yes, a part of my job but I really enjoy. They give me great joy, great pleasure. They are fun. I also tend to do chunks of work in about 30 minute blocks, 30 and maybe 45 minute blocks and again things I really enjoy doing. I love my freaking day. I love working with entrepreneurs, I love studying social media, I love studying business building, I love fitness. I love all this stuff but here today it was an important day because low and behold, I’ve procrastinated doing something that I don’t really enjoy.


I don’t enjoy just sitting down to write. I like to speak because I have extreme inattentive ADD. That’s the type of ADD I was diagnosed with when I had my brain scan. I know what it takes and I have long known what it takes in order for me to get something done. I think it’s kind of been a blessing that I didn’t know I had this brain issue until I was you know like out of school. I’d already figured out most of my coping techniques. So today, I locked myself in a dimly lit room with no sound, no music and my phone on airplane mode.


So I couldn’t you know go shopping or like distract myself with social media and I just sat down and I was writing but about every 10 or 15 minutes, I get this like urge like ehh..I want to go do something else and I kept fighting that urge all day trying to continue writing and about 11:30, 12 o’ clock, like I could literally feel like my head is starting to feel it was going to explode and I was also getting hungry but more so I was like really, I was getting like angry and I was like, why am I in such a bad mood and it just kept getting bigger and bigger and more ugly, this mood of mine.


The kind of mood where you are like, babies aren’t even cute, puppies are annoying like that kind of a bad mood. You know like where someone is like, hello, hi, how are you? You are having a good day and you are like, how dare you? You know that kind of a bad mood. And so when I am in that kind of a bad mood, I announce it to the world. I tell everyone because it’s pretty rare. So I just I like stormed out of the empty room and I am like, for everybody’s information, I am in a bad mood and everyone is like, okay then you know because I don’t normally do that.


So then I went up to my room, I lay down on my bed and I lay there for like an hour and then my brain started to relax and I went outside of my balcony and I was breathing in the fresh air. I applied some make up. Don’t judge. That usually clears my mind and I just sat there thinking why am I in this bad mood. Why do I feel this way and what is the route of this because I don’t like the way it feels and I don’t like who I become when I am in a bad mood.


So I went into research mode and here is what I found and I hope that you will find this helpful because every single person, even the most positive of us will from time to time get in a bad mood and I think it’s most difficult for those of us who are really positive because it feels abnormal and it bothers us. Now I am not talking about my advice and the information I am going to share with you does not relate to those of you who are chronically in a bad mood. That may very well be something more serious like depression.


I am talking about like I am just in a bad mood and I don’t know why. Get over it like get away right back. I am in a bad mood. So here is what I found. Researchers believe it has a lot to do with ego depletion. Ego depletion happens when we are forcing ourselves to do something or not do something that we really want to do and the brain has to work really hard to fight against the urge to do or not do that thing and I read it and I was like, oh this explains a lot. Okay so, let me work with you for just a second.


Have you ever been in a relationship either like with a boyfriend or like a girlfriend or a co-worker or mother in law, not my mother in law. She is an angel but you know a situation where you really wanted to express your feelings, your anger, your frustration whatever and you had to bite your tongue and you had to just deal with it, right and you really had to suppress how you felt and what you thought and what you wanted to say and you really had to suppress it and over time you notice, you start becoming somebody that you are not and you start getting in a really bad mood and you are like, this is not me. This is not who I am.


You’ve either had a job like that or you’ve had a relationship like that where you are like, the sense that you get is like, hah I am not this person but how can I say that when I am feeling this, right. Ego depletion. So what happens is the brain literally drains itself of cognitive resources. So think of it this way. It’s like the ultimate mental fatigue. So you know what it feels like to have had a night where you’ve had like one or two hours of sleep. I mean it happens every once in a while, right. Your brain has cognitive resources.


Your brain actually requires glucose and energy and calories to do the heavy lifting that it does and the heaviest of lifting is happening when we are fighting something in our minds. That is heavy duty lifting that drains our brain of cognitive resources. Now you know what it feels like when you’ve had an hour or two of sleep. Your brain is on empty and when your brain is on empty, your patience go from here to like this like literally nothing. You have like zero patience, zero tolerance and you are like, oh don’t even get on my last nerve today.


You picked the wrong girl on the wrong day, right and that’s how we feel and it is because sleep helps us restore all of that. Sleep helps us to restore adenosine triphosphate, helps us to restore all of the cognitive resources that we need to make decisions. It helps us to restore glucose in the brain which is what’s needed for brain function. So it’s no wonder that when we have to fight a decision or an action or something that we want that we are in a bad mood, hence why almost every woman who is on [0:10:34] ever had to be on a very restrictive diet is in a bad mood.


Have you ever been around somebody who is competing for like a fitness competition or like trying to die down for something? I ain’t got time and that’s why I have never, ever in my life done that. Deal with it! God bless you if you can. I don’t want to be in a bad mood. I don’t want to be around people who are in a bad mood, who could fix it if they would just freaking eat a cookie. Eat a cookie and smile, right. So that explains why people are so in such a bad mood when they have to deprive themselves of something that they desire. Interesting, isn’t it.


Okay. So here is some more information that I found out for you. It put me in a good mood to figure this stuff out. I am like, okay I am not crazy. I am so not crazy. That would explain why when you are fighting something mentally, it can put you in a bad mood and I don’t want to explain bad mood. You don’t even realize it. Number two reason is, blood sugar levels. So when your blood sugar drops, when you are short of glucose in your brain again your brain loses brain function and you automatically become a difficult person to be around. Have you ever watched any of those shows?


I don’t know if you guys watch Naked and Afraid or any of those shows where they kind of have to go without food because they are out in the wild like the nicest, coolest people who are like on day 1 where they drop them off into the wilderness [ph], those people like as soon as they get hungry, all hell breaks loose. They turn to angry, mean, crying piles of emotion. Yeah because there is no energy there. Less point [0:12:07] When your blood sugar levels drop because you don’t have enough glucose or your glucose drops because you haven’t had proper rest.


You see, the brain has to clear itself out and it does that via REM sleep. This is an interesting fact for you. You can get 8 hours of sleep and wake up still feeling groggy and tired. It may just be that you didn’t get proper REM sleep that night and if you don’t get proper REM sleep, the brain is like it’s foggy. It has to take all those files that you have in your brain, all the things that happened, all of the experiences, all the people you ran into, all the things you’ve read, all the messages, everything and it has to do something with all those files. It has to file them away. And it’s during our REM sleep that the brain kind of makes sense of everything that’s hap – this is neuroscience. Makes sense and kind of files everything away that happened to us during the day.


So if you don’t get proper REM sleep, it’s like a messy office up there. And then what happens is, your brain is fatigued and when your brain is fatigued and you know this to be true, anything you have to do feels 100% more difficult, more frustrating, more upsetting and that triggers our bad mood. When we are in a bad mood, it constricts blood flow to the brain. You can often associate it with the headache and then it’s just a downward spiral. Once you are in a bad mood, then your focus of the world gets narrow and you start only seeing negative things and negative people and then you start thinking to yourself, I am in a bad mood. If one more thing happens and then of course one more thing happens, right like always.


When you are in a bad mood like it’s just like a domino effect which it’s really not but your focus has narrowed. The same is true when you are in like a really good mood. You know it’s like if you have teenagers, you can always tell when they are in love because they suddenly walk through the door and like, hi mom! You know they are like all happy and like the world is beautiful and that’s because when we are really, really happy like everything looks bright. Our view on the world widens and we see more good and we see more things that make us happy and when we are in a bad mood, our focus narrows and we see more negative.


So what can you do about it? Well now that you know the science behind it and again I am not addressing those of you who have something far more serious like chronic bad mood which is likely something else is going on in your brain. There may be a chemical imbalance, you may be dealing with depression and you must know this. You can’t white knuckle yourself and you should not white knuckle yourself due to depression. You should get help and have no shame in that. You would go to the dentist if you had a toothache. Why do we have so much shame in going to talk to a professional when our brain feels like it’s not working right? That doesn’t make any sense to me at all.


As long as I live, I will never understand that but you’ll need to know that smart people go and talk to a therapist. There is no more critical organ in your entire body than this one. So go talk to someone but if we are talking about the occasional bad mood, what can you do about it? Let me tell you. Now that you know it’s probably a glucose thing, it’s probably a brain depletion. Now you know what to do. So #1, meditation. Just 20 minutes of meditation. #2, prayer. The type of prayer where we are actually listening to god instead of speaking to him because normally when we pray, we speak to him but I mean just close your eyes and let god speak to you. It’s a form of meditation but it’s really a form of listening.


Go outside and get fresh air. Here is another one. Eat something healthy. Don’t eat something high in sugar because you will just crash and burn again. You will feel a momentary boost in your mood but it won’t be long lasting. So try to eat something that’s sustainable like a healthy smoothie or something that’s got some really healthy carbohydrates in it, complex carbohydrates but not something that’s like an immediate fix, okay.


The next thing you want to consider is exercise because exercise stimulates the production of dopamine in our brains. And then we start to feel good and then suddenly, we are like, what was I in a bad mood about. Everybody is beautiful. I love everybody. See what happens. I love everybody and then one really super, duper, simple easy fix I think most people forget is music. Music and our emotion connected to music is stored in a very special part of the brain that is connected to emotion and so when we can play a song about this, I am going to tell you to play music from when you were in middle school or high school because that music is associated with just a carefree fun, silly, youthful time for you.


If you don’t believe me, watch the documentary called Alive Inside. It’s all about neuroscience and music and brain and music is a really, easy, fast. It’s immediate. It will go into your system faster than any pill. It will go into your blood stream much quicker than a glass of wine and will leave you without a hangover. All right, so thank you so much for listening and thank you so much for understanding that it’s normal. Even the happiest for the normal, for the happiest of us too sometimes get in a bad mood. It’s okay but I think it’s most helpful when we know why it’s happening and that we do have the ability to some extent to know what we can do about it when we know what has caused it. Awesome!

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