How Meditation Can Help with Bad Moods

Ever had a day when everyone/everything seemed to annoy you? If pushing your buttons were a sport, the world would be gold-medal ready. There’s this wonderful guy in my life. He’s checked all the boxes on my list: thoughtful, hardworking, funny, responsible, healthy, adventurous, etc. (Yes, there is a list…there’s always a list). But on those days when my nerves are exposed like a bad tooth, even he can annoy me (sorry, babe.)

Yes, even my chivalrous man seems out for blood on days when my ego is inflated. 

And just to be clear, our inflated egos are exactly the cause of our problems. If you’re in the habit of becoming annoyed, it’s time to examine your thoughts. Remember your thoughts are formed as all habits are: by repetition. Destructive thoughts then are the result of ingrained patterns we’ve created, which ultimately determine whether our lives are fostering a sense of happiness or misery.

When I notice a bad mood looming, I try to break ugly thought patterns before they break me. It takes a moment before the angel appears at my shoulder and talks the tiny devil down from my ear. When sanity returns, I’m able to convince myself to stop mentally compiling offenses, and to do whatever it takes to get back to emotional balance.

In a previous postI talked about how to turn around a bad mood, how to recognize thoughts that create suffering, and guard our hearts against them so we can experience joy. Here’s how meditation can help with that process.

How Meditation Can Help with Bad Moods

First, let me tell you that yoga is a form of meditation. In yoga, we practice mindfulness. We listen to and begin to control our breathing, allowing it to anchor us. With every asana, we notice our muscles working, our limbs lengthening, and the way even slight motions can challenge our balance. We focus on feeling. We unintentionally ignite our body’s parasympathetic response, which tells our nervous system to rest and digest.

I could write endlessly about the benefits of yoga, but this post is about how meditation can help with bad moods, so I will stick to that point. Meditation is a means for healing, and is often used as a potent alternative therapy. In the book Meditation as Medicine, authors Dharma Singh Khalsa, M.D, and Cameron Stauth talk about the mind-power effect, which can boost the efficacy of medicines by an estimated  30 percent when a person believes the medicine they’re taking is helpful.

But we already knew that thoughts could heal because, “thoughts become things.” So why do we (and I include myself here) allow ourselves to indulge in bad moods when we can change our lives with a simple meditation practice?

How to Meditate (for Non-Meditators) 

If you’re burdening yourself with negative thoughts today, try taking a 5-minute meditation break. Let yourself daydream for a moment about anything positive and pleasurable. Don’t worry about learning the mechanics of meditation. There’s no wrong way to meditate. Don’t worry about chasing bad thoughts away or eliminating them from your mind. Just detach yourself from them. Watch them roll by as nurturing new thoughts appear.

Tell yourself that this moment is yours, and pure joy is attainable. Allow your imagination to provide a mini vacation. 

“Imagination is greater than intellect.” Albert Einstein

2 Comments
  • Elaine Mansfield
    December 16, 2015

    Yes, it does. If I’m very agitated, I use walking meditation or a repeated physical motion I learned in yoga to help my whole body let go. It’s amazing how much a few minutes helps and how we can do this anywhere. I was frustrated by missing a bus in Switzerland. The elderly philosopher my husband and I were visiting said, “Oh good. Now we have extra time to mediate while we wait for the next train.” A perspective I’ve always remembered. Our time is never wasted.

    • Rica Lewis
      December 16, 2015

      Awesome, Elaine! Walking meditation is a wonderful way to absorb nature and get some exercise simultaneously!

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