What is the matter with you? Why can’t you just snap out of it? What good does it do you to be so negative? So depressed? So worried? Why can’t you enjoy life? You have much to be grateful for. You have much to live for. And there you are complaining once again about what’s wrong.

Yes, people can be hard on you, and expect you to change, just like that. Snap out of it. Don’t feel the way you feel.

They don’t understand. Do they think you like feeling this way? Do they think you like to be miserable? You wish you could just snap out of it. But that’s ludicrous. It just doesn’t work that way.

It’s true that people are often intolerant of their loved ones’ emotional state. They believe that you can (or should be able to) change your mood at will. So, what should you do when others are fed up with your bad mood and you are fed up with them telling you what to do?

The first thing is to understand that you just can’t snap out of it. That’s not your fault. It’s the way emotions are experienced. But because you can’t do make it all go away doesn’t mean you can’t do something.

So, whether your bad mood takes the form of depression, anxiety, panic, anger, shame, guilt or the “I’m just not good enough” syndrome, know that there are ways you can make yourself feel better — at least for the moment. Here are three ways to do so:

  1. Distract yourself. It’s hard to get out of a bad mood when you keep focusing on what’s frightening or depressing. So try distracting yourself by doing something you enjoy that doesn’t require much effort or energy. Listen to music that warms your heart or gets you moving. Watch a light-hearted YouTube clip, movie or TV show. Do an enjoyable, easy task that will give you a sense of accomplishment.
  2. Talk yourself down. It’s easy to be sucked into a negative vortex when you zoom in on everything that’s wrong. When others tell you to think positively, you want to tell them to buzz off. They have no appreciation of all you’ve been going through. But you appreciate how tough it’s been. And you can talk yourself down from your bad mood by speaking to yourself kindly and gently. What could you say to yourself?“I love you. (Yes, that’s you you’re talking to.) And whatever we need to deal with, we can do it together.” “It’s been tough, so the only thing I ask of you today is to take one little step in the right direction.” “Despite the tough times, I truly am grateful for …”
  3. Move. You know all those studies that prove that exercise improves mood? They’re right. But who wants to exercise when you’re in a miserable mood? So, scratch that idea. Simply remind yourself that it’s good for you to move your body. What kind of movement might improve your mood?
  4. Stretch. It feels good when you stretch those aching, tight muscles. Walk. Get some fresh air. If the weather isn’t cooperating, simply walk around your living space. Even when you’re sitting or lying down, keep those body parts moving. Stretch again. Stretch each arm as far out as you can. Hold the stretch tight for 10 seconds, then release. Then stretch each leg out the same way. Now it’s time for your shoulder stretch and your neck stretch. There, aren’t you feeling better already?