The Science Behind a Bad Mood

couple arguing in kitchen

Nobody likes experiencing a bad mood – that sunken feeling of despair, hopelessness, negativity, and so forth can make it appears nothing will get better. Bad moods may last just a few short minutes or could impact our entire day – no matter the length, a bad mood effects not only the person who has it, but those around them as well. When we’re feeling grouchy, we may not even think about what led us to this feeling. Amanda Chan, Managing Editor of Healthy Living, provides in a 2014 Huffington Post article several factors that may be contributing towards a bad mood:

  • You’re not getting enough fruits and vegetables.
  • You’re not getting enough sunlight.
  • You’re feeling dehydrated.
  • You’re working too much.
  • You’re spending too much time on social media.
  • You’re using a “slouched” posture
  • You haven’t laughed or smiled in a while.
  • You’re just plain tired.
  • You haven’t had much time in nature lately.

If any of these sounds familiar, they could very well be the culprit and this is a sign that you should change up your routine and do something different. Another factor to take into consideration is if you are around other people who are in a bad mood. Emotional contagion, as described by psychology professor Gary Lewandowski, Jr. from Scientific American, is a three-step process in which one person’s feelings transfer to another person. The first step to this involves nonconscious mimicry, in which you may copy someone’s posture, nonverbal cues, facial expressions or movements. For example – seeing someone frown may cause you to frown. The second phase is the feedback phase – now that you have frowned, you may begin to feel sad. Lastly, you may begin to synchronize your emotions and behaviors to that of your upset coworker, leading you into a bad mood.
Healthline, a health information site, notes that some bad moods such as irritation could be a sign of a mood disorder such as bipolar disorder or depression. If you are experiencing bad moods that appear with no reason or are hard to treat, speaking with a health care professional may be good to rule out any sign of a mental illness.
There are many causes to why someone develops a bad mood. Emotional contagion explains the reason why we may retrieve negative emotions from family, friends or coworkers. Neglecting proper nutrition, sleep, exercise, and sunlight could also explain how bad moods come about. No matter the cause, make sure that you are taking loving care of yourself to bypass feelings of negativity and sluggishness.


If you feel that your bad moods may be the sign of a mood disorder, speak with a health professional at Avalon Malibu Health & Treatment Center today. Avalon Malibu can help you turn a mood disorder into an opportunity for transformation. The physicians, therapists and practitioners at Avalon Malibu are experienced, licensed professionals who care about your happiness and well-being. Call today at 844-287-5318.

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