Moody Monday: How to beat a bad mood, part 1

Crappy moods. They happen to the best of us. Sometimes it’s because we are fixated on something, and that something is bad. This is called variously: brooding, ruminating, or stewing. In my family, we call this being a “worrier” and what it means is that you have the unfortunate habit of ceaselessly reflecting on painful experiences and fears about the future. Or mostly just petty annoyances. Now, full disclosure. I am a worrier and I come from a long line of worriers. My father was a worrier, his father was worrier before him, and probably the chain of worry goes back to the dawn of time and is somehow encoded in my DNA.There is nothing good about brooding, ruminating or worrying. According to people who should know, brooding actually stressful, paralyzing, addictive and fosters other negative behavior like drinking too much and eating disorders. Nothing good comes of it.

So how not to brood?  I guess if you are aware that you are doing it you can just force yourself to think about something else. But for me that’s like saying, “Don’t think about elephants.” which just makes it impossible to think about anything but elephants.

Recently, the NYT published a study that showed taking a pleasant walk in nature actually stops brooding. By this they mean it actually changes what is going on in your brain when you brood. I decided to try this out the last time I was particularly annoyed. I’m looking at you, American Airlines.  You, and your crazy carrier fees on BA.

Results, well, as a way to alleviate acute brooding, I would give the nature walk two stars out of five. It’s probably something that might be a good idea to do habitually to make your disposition sunnier — not as a way to alleviate acute annoyances. And, it’s not that I don’t love nature–nothing relaxes me like camping. And people who like camping as much as I do are a pretty small club.

But anyway a good playlist for walking. I think it’s upbeat, and quirky and interesting and has plenty of slightly weird stuff that should distract the average person from their internal monologue and help beat a bad mood.

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