From time to time, every one of us has a bad mood. As partners and close loved ones, sometimes it's our duty to help bring someone else out of a bad mood. A combination of empathy, a little firmness and even some well-meaning trickery can help restore the man in your life to his usual self and make the day go better for both of you.
1. Processing the Feelings
Help him to process the feelings related to his bad mood. Avoid trying to push them aside or encouraging him to ignore them by telling him to “cheer up.” If he's not sure why he's in a bad mood, ask him when he first noticed that he felt that way. Discuss possible causes if there isn't a single, direct cause. Try to empathize and help him name his feelings. If he's uncomfortable talking about feelings, use language that focuses on the causes rather than on him. For example, instead of saying, “You're feeling disappointed right now,” say, “That's really rough.” Understand that the fastest way to get past the feelings that cause a bad mood is to get through them.
2. Creature Comforts
Encourage him to engage in a few creature comforts of the sort that he likes. If he's resistant to setting them up for himself, do it for him. Recognize that he might find it draining to make a decision about what would feel good right now, so it might be a good idea to turn on his favorite program for him to bring a favorite beverage directly to him. He may be of the opinion that nothing will help his mood, but bodily comforts have a way of improving one's outlook even when you think they won't, so it's worth a try.
3. Generating Good Feeling
Help improve his sense of himself in the moment with some encouraging, loving words. Think of things you can tell him about why you genuinely appreciate and love him or about things he's done recently that you've been impressed by or been grateful for. Look especially for things you can remark on that he might not know you've noticed and think about what areas of achievement or effort are particularly important to his self-esteem as well as the things that make you genuinely happy. Share good news, if you have any.
Do whatever you can to make him laugh. If you don't feel you have a talent for humor yourself, work references to things he finds funny into the conversation. Consider plugging in a funny movie or TV show or reading him something funny if you can't think of anything on your own. The act of laughing is difficult to control and once it's unleashed, has the power to considerably improve a bad mood.
- The American Scholar: Laughter And The Brain
- "Emotion, Disclosure, and Health"; James W. Pennebaker.
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