How to Stop Being So Grumpy

In a bad mood? Don't worry -- you can pull yourself out of it.
... James Woodson/Photodisc/Getty Images

Nobody wants to be around a grump. And yet when you're in a grumpy mood, it feels like everyone around you is trying their hardest to make you even grumpier. The good news? You can take action to improve your mood. It will make you a better friend, a more productive student and an altogether happier person.

1 Take Care of Yourself

If you're running low on sleep or high on stimulants like caffeine and nicotine, you're setting yourself up for a grumpy day. Getting more sleep and cutting down on stimulants can pull you out of the dumps. If you're not eating enough, or often enough, you may also find yourself feeling grumpy. According to a 2011 Cambridge University study published in the journal "Biological Psychiatry," hunger causes a dip in serotonin levels, which can lead to grumpiness and anger. Serotonin is a chemical produced in the body that can affect your mood.

2 Figure Out What's Really Bothering You

You're grumpy, and you don't know why. Sit down and really think about what's bothering you. Sure, you may be a bit upset because your friend said something thoughtless, but search deeper to figure out what the underlying cause of your bad mood is. Recognizing what's really triggering your mood can help you try to fix it.

3 Lighten Your Mood

When you're down in the dumps, it's normal to feel like it's "not worth it" to do anything to try to improve your mood. But you can make changes in your environment in order to give yourself a pick-me-up. For example, you might want to put on your favorite music (just make sure it's not a pessimistic song!), call a good friend or take a few minutes to get yourself lost in a good book.

4 Get Moving

According to the 2007 study "Exercise and Pharmacotherapy in the Treatment of Major Depressive Disorder," published in "Psychosomatic Medicine," exercise actually has a similar effect to antidepressants. When you feel a grumpy mood strike, jump on the treadmill, go for a brisk walk or put on an exercise DVD to help normalize your mood.

5 Look at the Bright Side

You can actually change your attitude, even when you feel like you're drowning in grumpiness. Take a few minutes to write or think about the things that you're grateful for. Really recognizing how many positive aspects your life has can pull you out of the dumps. Thinking of something funny can also help you climb out of a bad mood. Laughter -- even unrelated to whatever is making you feel grumpy -- releases endorphins, powerful chemicals that improve your mood.

Keren (Carrie) Perles is a freelance writer with professional experience in publishing since 2004. Perles has written, edited and developed curriculum for educational publishers. She writes online articles about various topics, mostly about education or parenting, and has been a mother, teacher and tutor for various ages. Perles holds a Bachelor of Arts in English communications from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.