We’ve put together nine ways to work with moods. The trick is to discover which ones work best for you and then use them often.
1. Notice negative thoughts
Negative, unhelpful thoughts often quickly come into your mind and affect your mood without you even noticing them. This is what makes them so powerful and believable.
If you can get into the habit of spotting your negative thoughts as you have them, then you can use different techniques to balance or soothe them.
2. Practice ‘balanced thinking’
Write down some of your negative thoughts and then imagine what a best friend would say if they knew you were thinking them. Make a note of what your friend would say and use this when they pop back into your mind.
You will start to see that these negative thoughts are not always 100% true or believable.
3. Do things that unwind your mind
Do things that unwind and soothe your mind, like walking the dog, listening to music, doodling, breathing calmly or doing craft activities, knitting . . . anything that is calming.
4. Build a list of positive things you’ve done
Building a list of positive things you’ve done today (or this week) will show you that you are coping or managing life, despite the pain.
Keeping a ‘Positive Facts Diary’ helps deal with “I can’t do this” thinking. You’ll find that you are actually doing positive things. It is just that your mind gets too distracted and focused on the negatives to realise it.
TIP: Using your mobile phone to take photos of your positive moments is a quick and easy way to collect the facts and keep a visible record to remind yourself!
5. Practice being kind to yourself
For instance, check that you’re balancing activities and effort (ie. pacing); work towards fun goals in paced steps; do something enjoyable, like a meal out with a friend.
6. Learn from others with similar pain issues
Find out what other people do to deal with negative thinking and moods through local support groups or talking to other people living with persistent pain.
7. Get into helpful habits
Think about what made a really useful change for you last week – and then use it again this week. It sounds simple, but keeping on doing what works soon becomes a habit!
8. Discover other ways to tackle negative thinking
You can find self-help resources to manage moods in most local libraries or explore useful websites.
9. Get support from people you trust
Remember that you are not alone. We all need support and encouragement from other people, so try not to feel bad about asking friends and family to help you.