What’s got you down? The cause of your bad mood may not be as obvious as something like a traffic jam or a fight with your boyfriend. Here are a few surprising bad mood triggers and quick fixes that can turn your day around:
First: Bright sunlight. Yes, it can trigger a bad mood! Research shows that squinting at the sun increases feelings of anger and aggression by up to a whopping 44-percent. That’s because your mood and facial muscles are linked. And when you squint, your eyebrows dip and cheek muscles pinch in the same way they do when you’re angry, which automatically triggers your brain to feel irritated. The fix? Wear sunglasses. They’ll keep your facial expressions neutral.
Another bad mood trigger: The bad mood your coworker or roommate is in. It’s official: bad moods are contagious. A University of Notre Dame study paired up happy-go-lucky people with down-in-the-dumps people as roommates for three months. The result? The happy volunteers became more pessimistic. And a Harvard University study got the same results. They found that spending time with downer people can sink your mood. That’s because when people around you are constantly negative, your brain gets used to it, and you begin to mimic that behavior. We have a negativity bias in our brain, so we hang onto negative emotions and words much longer than positive ones. So what can you do if your roommate is Debbie Downer? Random acts of kindness: Bake cookies for them and wish them a good day. Research shows that even if they don’t reciprocate, being kind will make you happier.
And the final mood killer: Being dehydrated. A new study found that the more dehydrated you are, the more your mood plummets. Experts say it’s because when your body feels dehydrated, it triggers our brain’s mood circuits, and we get anxious and irritable. Even mild dehydration can cause our moods to crash. So keep sipping water throughout the day to stay hydrated and upbeat.