How to Change Your Mood When You Feel Down

Every group I interact with is saying they’re all done with COVID now.   Everyone’s ready to move on.  It’s winter, it’s pouring rain and we’re all kind of sick of it.  It’s time to change your mood!

You don’t have to feel down or be ‘sucking slough water’ as a good friend mine puts it.  This is because there are three keys that determine your emotions.  Here’s what they are:

What you choose to focus on

If you let the media be a key voice in your life, you’re going to be unhappy.  That’s because they make money by recirculating a 24-hour doom loop.  If it bleeds it leads.  They’re in the business of depressing you and making you feel afraid.  That’s how they get clicks which is how they get advertising which is how they get paid.

Turn it off and read a book that challenges and inspires you.  Talk to a real person.  Ban COVID discussions from meetings.  Focus on something better.

The words you allow yourself to use

Our words become self-fulfilling prophecies.  It’s easy to talk yourself into feeling depressed.  Just keep making observations about how bad everything is, and soon you’ll be sold.

If you insist on saying good things, you’ll feel better.  If you smile, you’ll feel happier.  Act your way into the feeling.

What you do with your body

It’s virtually impossible to feel depressed when you’re walking in the bush or being physically active.  When you feel down, look at your position.  Almost certainly you are:

  • Sitting or laying down
  • Slumped
  • Inactive
  • Alone

So do the opposite.  Go for a daily walk or run.  Get off the couch and get active.  You’ll immediately feel better.

Action steps:

  1. Start your day with something positive
  2. Limit time reading the news
  3. Get some exercise (preferably outside with a friend)
  4. Stay connected to positive people in person and online
  5. Make a gratitude list and review it regularly
  6. Have no-COVID talk zones
  7. Listen to upbeat music and sing along – this is a magic cure
  8. Have an inspiring book going
  9. Do something nice for someone who needs help

Feeling terrible sometimes is okay and part of being human.  But when the sadness isn’t helping anymore and you know it’s time to move on and up, remember:

“Your emotions are not a victim of your circumstances but a servant of your will.”

Ask yourself which of these three levers you need to pull and get busy.

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Trevor Throness is a speaker, consultant, and author of “The Power of People Skills.”  He is also co-founder and senior instructor at

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