If you find yourself growling, scowling or about to explode, try these tactics to improve your mood and (keep your cool).
Slide References:1. Barsade, Sigal G., The Ripple Effect: Emotional Contagion and Its Influence on Group Behavior; Administrative Science Quarterly, Vol. 47, No. 4 (Dec. 2002), pp. 644 â 675.2. Montgomery, Anthony. "The Inevitability of Physician Burnout: Implications for Interventions;" Burnout Research, Vol. 1, No. 1 (June 2014), pp. 50-56.3. Grandey, A., et. al. Is “service with a smile” enough? Authenticity of positive displays during service encounters. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes. Vol. 96, Issue 1 (January 2005) pp. 38-55.4. Interview with Daniel Gilbert. "The Science Behind the Smile," Harvard Business Review, January-February 2012.
Engage in random acts of kindness
A great strategy for shifting out of a self-absorbed state (which is typically what happens in a negative mood) is to focus on others. Numerous studies have found that happiness is related to giving, much more than receiving.
Counteract your negativity bias
Because our brains’ number one job is to keep us safe (and alive), more brain tissue is devoted to threat detection than to reward- we are more motivated to avoid threat than to seek reward. That causes a “negativity bias” where we pay more attention to the negative. The implications of this are that we more naturally engage in negative self-talk than in positive. You can offset this by intentionally noticing what is going well, what you are doing well, and the positive aspects of your day. By intentionally focusing on the positive, you can train your brain to reduce negativity bias.
Smile more (even if you have to fake it until you make it)
It changes the chemistry in your brain, it also works to counteract the negativity bias, and can make you appear more likeable, courteous, and competent, according to Penn State researchers.
How’s that for a big return on a small investment?
Relish your challenges
We often feel happy when we are striving for goals that are challenging and achievable, according to Harvard psychology professor Daniel Gilbert, who wrote, “The Science Behind the Smile.”