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Bust Bad Moods!

Learn how to feel better after a bad day.
By Jeannette Moninger
WebMD Feature

Tween girl resting head on kneesRemember when Alexander had a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day? Even if you didn't read that book, chances are you know about bad days.

Maybe your friend doesn't want to hang out with you after school. Maybe you got a bad grade on your math test. Maybe you tripped on the sidewalk. Or maybe you just woke up feeling cranky. Everyone has bad days every now and then.

"It'd be great if we could laugh and be happy all the time. But in real life, you feel a wide range of emotions and sometimes those emotions make you feel bad," says Karla Harmon, a mental health counselor in Sioux Falls, S.D. 

The important thing to know about bad days and bad moods is that there are lots of things that you can do to destroy bad moods.


Detecting a Bad Mood

Figure out your feelings. Not feeling like yourself today? Try to figure out what's going on. Place your hand over your heart. Is it beating really fast? Is your breathing fast and not very deep? Does your belly hurt? Take a look in the mirror. Are your lips shut tight? Is your forehead wrinkled? Are your cheeks pinker (or maybe paler) than usual? Are there tears in your eyes? If so, you may be feeling angry, mad, frustrated, or sad.

Think about how you're acting. "Kids your age are more likely to act out their feelings than to talk about them," says Sheryl Gonzalez-Ziegler, a child psychologist in Denver. Slamming doors, yelling at your family or friends, not looking people in the eyes, refusing to do things you normally consider fun -- probably signs you're having a bad day.


I'm in a Bad Mood! Now What?

Take charge of your emotions. When things aren't going your way, you may get so angry that you want to yell, pout, or eat junk food. But doing things like that can make you feel worse and hurt others. Those actions cause your body to produce more adrenaline (the stuff that makes you want to fight) than usual. And your body also makes more cortisol (the stuff that can cause obesity and other diseases). "Once these mad juices start flowing, it's harder to keep control," says Harmon.

The good news is that you can take charge of your emotions.


How to Turn a Bad Mood Around

Take a deep breath. Try this deep belly-breathing exercise when your feelings start getting the best of you. Place your hands on your stomach. Inhale deeply through your nose as you count to five in your head. Picture a balloon in your belly filling up with air. Keep that balloon filled for a count of three. Then slowly exhale through your mouth as you count to seven until the balloon is little again.