How to Change Your Mood Whenever You’re Depressed or Anxious


How to Change Your Mood Whenever You’re Depressed Or Anxious

There’s an old viking poem that reflects the idea that man must accept his fate and try not to “hog it all.” For man cannot have it all, and to complain or worry about his fate is a sign of stupidity. Here’s how it goes for those curious:

“Don’t cling to the cup but dink your share,

speak useful words or be silent,

no one will blame you for bad manners

if you go to bed early.

A stupid man stays awake all nigh

pondering his problems;

he’s worn out when morning comes

and whatever was, still is.

Sounds harsh? Perhaps, but it’s a truth we all know whether we accept it or not. No one can own every dollar in the world. No one can date every attractive woman they desire. No one can expect to be completely happy every day of the year.

Every day can’t be the same. You’re going to have days that feels like you heard the news of going to Disneyland. And you’re going to have days where it feel like the end of the day at Disneyland and you’re too tired to walk any further.

However when you are having an awful day, there are things that you can do to alleviate that burden. Such as how mankind discovered a way to turn lemon into lemonade, we’re going to turn those depressing and anxious thoughts into something useful. The next time you’re feeling depressed or dealing with anxious thoughts:


1. Listen to Pliny the Younger:

Back in Ancient Rome, Pliny the Younger had complained to Julius Valerianus that things were more attractive when you didn’t have them, but a down right pain when you actually owned them.

And there’s truth to that. I’m sure there was a time you wanted something simply because you saw someone else with it.

The first time you probably had this feeling was when you were a child and saw another kid playing with a toy you didn’t have. Perhaps there was a girl or guy you suddenly wanted because you saw someone else taking an interest to them.

The pursuit of happiness for things is common for everyone despite their social economics. People assume they need the newest phone, an expensive car, or fancy suit to convince themselves that they’re happy.

People buy themselves things they can’t afford to feel like they’re above the average person. In Dale Carnegie’s book, How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, he states that

“70% of all our worries, according to a survey made by the Ladies Home Journal, are about money.”

Families, friends, and coworkers argue about money and as a result, break relationships and bonds. Every wise person in the past warned about the dangers of allowing money to rule your life. And yet, as you’ve probably observed, every generation is manipulated by the concept of happiness.

It takes enjoying the simple things in life that makes it worth wild. Enjoy the gifts you receive daily rather than take them for granted.

As you sit here reading this article, you’re probably at home where you aren’t listening to the terror of war outside. (And if you’re reading this on your phone, that’s just another thing you have that a lot of people don’t.)

Chances are you have food in your house as people in foreign countries starve to death. You have a bed you can sleep on as others sleep under a bridge in fear.

I know this sounds corny and something you’d probably hear from a “motivational” ad to steal you money by making you feel sad, but it’s a common truth that needs to be slammed against your face. Despite the hot mess you may be facing now, there’s someone out there having it worst and still holding a smile on their face.

It’s not because they’re high or dropped all responsibilities. They’re just content to where they’re at because they see the more important things to life. They understand having a big house is cool, but they know sharing their time with people they love is cooler.

Before you think about what you don’t have, think about what you have that others would LITERALLY kill for. You have some food and water in your refrigerator? Chances are some refugee would spill blood for just that privilege.

Even if it’s something as small as electricity, appreciate it and realize there’s people in Africa who have to walk a 5k just to get some clean water.


2. Understand Your Cans and Can Nots:

Sometime it appears a thousand things are attacking you simultaneously. When you complete one task, something else comes up. Whenever you conquer one battle, another one seems to be around the corner.

For instance, there’s people who constantly deal with struggling to pay their bills. As soon as they finally manage to pay the bills for one month, the next month arrives and they have to pay again. 

As much as you hate the idea of continuous conflicts occurring in your life, take a deep breath and accept the situation for what it is. You hit your toe against the table? It sucks, but the pain will heal and you’ll be more caution to avoid that next time. I accidentally deleted an important file when I was transferring databases and that taught me to be more careful whenever I did that.

The next corny thing I’m mentioning is will be to accept your situation because it’ll come and goes. That’s how our emotions work. You’re not angry at something the same way you were the time it happened. 

To manage your fears and worries about the future, know what you can and cannot do. The great teacher and philosopher Epictetus said that making a distinction as to what you could change and what you could not wasn’t always easy, yet it had to be made if you want a peace of mind.

“What then is education? Education is learning how to adapt the natural precognition to the particular things comfortably to nature, and then to distinguish that of things some are in our power, but others are not; in our powers are will and all acts which depend on the will.” –Epictetus

To be educated is to know what you can do and what you cannot do.

You may not be able to change the expensive price for your home, but you can limit your budget when it comes to buying useless goods, thus saving more money. You may not be able to predict whether a woman will reject you, but you can learn how to socialize and practice until you become a stud.

Once you know what you can and cannot change, you give yourself the chance to liberate yourself from unnecessary anxieties, fears, and ultimate dread of all life’s circumstances.


3. Bury the Past:

A major cause for anxiety is being continuously chained to the past. Remember your past is a good trait to maintain because you know why you love chocolate and why you shouldn’t touch fire. But it gets self-destructive the moment you allow it to dictate your present and future.

For instance, whenever a man gets rejected by a woman, he’s likely to always remember that rejection whenever he encounters another female. Or suppose someone started a business, but it failed. Rather than learning from their previous experience, they become terrorized by it. Let your actions do the talking instead of your words.

Aristotle in his Nicomachean Ethics told his students that choice could not apply to the past, so think about now and the future, never the past. Whenever you look over your choices and decisions, do it about the present because it’s not possible to change the past.

“It is to be noted that nothing that is past is an object of choice. No one chooses to have sacked Troy; for no one deliberates about the past, but about what is future and capable of being otherwise, while what is past is not capable of not having taken place.” –Aristotle

Although everyone made mistakes in the past and would like to change them, it’s not possible. The only thing you’ll do is give yourself more burdens that then creates more obstacles that’ll affect your future choices. Instead, laugh at your previous stupidity and take them as a learning experience.

And if you are bothered by trivial things in the past that’s giving you depressing thoughts, meditate and rationalize what you actually learned from them and how you can prevent them from occurring again. 


4. Plan Ahead to the Next Winter:

Hesiod in his basic Works and Days, warns man not to spend his time idly gossiping all their time, but to plan ahead, at least for the next winter. Do in the summer what must be done in the summer, for winter will be very long if not prepared for.

A classic tale that originated from this was the lazy grasshopper and the hard working ant. Throughout the summer and fall, the ant prepared for winter by gathering food and preparing his home.

As for the grasshopper, he only watched and enjoyed the moment. Instead of preparing for the future, he relaxed and never cared about working. As a result, depending on the version you read, winter does arrive and the grasshopper dies because of his laziness.

Although this works as a cautionary tale, it applies to our society today. Success and security requires hard work. People have a choice to not plan and work and when they’re suffering, they often use excuses as to why they have awful lives. They blame other people for their mistakes and avoid all responsibilities.

It might not be fun doing things that require hard work or focus, but those are habits that give people meaning and purpose. Laziness may be fun on Sunday or Saturday, but not as a lifestyle choice. People who aimlessly go throughout life without any rationally planning anything eventually experience a complete breakdown.

“Character is that which reveals moral purpose, showing what kind of things a man chooses or avoid.” –Aristotle

Rational thinking is the key to building a life that’s free from most problems that normally occurs for no reason. Epictetus, a Stoic, had little sympathy for whiners. He pointed out that people who whined are the very ones who made the choice to be in the situation that they’re whining about.

What’s worse is the fact you probably know someone who complains about how difficult it is to find a job, but doesn’t try to find one. You might know someone who whines about how hard their life is, but sits around the house and do nothing all day. I unfortunately know a few people who complain about problems they never look for the solutions to.

It takes hard work to become the best version of yourself. Examine yourself if you want a life that’s worth living. Acquire wisdom by reading books, learning people life stories, and exploring your fears.

When people stop learning, they lose a small will to look forward to new things life. They become a zombie, searching for entertainment after entertainment to keep their minds busy.

The brain wants to work whether it’s reading books, learning something new, or if it must, adapt to a television program. Thus, know yourself and know your mental capacities because they’re the basis of success in the world.


5. Know Your Abilities:

Lao Tzu explains that a man who rationally and successfully achieve his goals will momentarily stop there. He will not overextend himself in effort or arrogance. For man will overwhelm himself by taking on bigger challenges than he can take.

In other words, set proper goals that matches your abilities and nature. Keep the costs of your income and time in mind and understand what you’re working with.

Without any clear thoughts on what your capabilities are, you’re working in a dark room. The Dhammapada teaches that man must control his rambling mind and set it in order. Or else, those thoughts give birth to unsettling emotions and fears that the user can no longer control.

This means bringing forth a time in your day where you can stop everything, sit down, and think out your life. Whether you sit down to think, meditate, pray, or speak to someone, find a moment where you can completely go over your life.

Think about what path you’re currently taking and where your decisions have currently taken you. Discover a “philosophy” of life and develop a love for wisdom.

Throughout history, it has always been encouraged to understand ourselves, our hopes, our capacities, our loves and our longings in life. When you’re suffering from depression or anxiety, use these five steps to erase or at least, reduce the emotions you may be feeling.

Part of the reason philosophers and wise sages preach the importance of self-awareness is so people can conquer the unnecessary thoughts rambling in their heads. Imagine your thoughts are ravaging dogs and without the proper leash to control them, they’ll tear everything that’s in its path.


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For more like this,

How to Get Rid of Anxiety Before It’s Too Late

Why You’re Still Lonely and What To Do To Fix It

15 Best Self Development Books For Anxiety

12 Helpful Self Development Books for Depression


About Author

Besides being random and dealing with ADHD from time to time, Michael Gregory II is the CEO of the Self Development Workshop. He’s traveled to over a dozen countries, counselled a variety of people, and continues furthering his knowledge in self-development, depression, and mastering your happiness. On his lazy days, he enjoy watching people, reading in Starbucks, and speaking to random strangers. (Yeah, he’s weird.)


  1. Most of this post is about giving yourself time to look inside what you have had so far. The good things are always with you but they are waiting for you to look at them.

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