What's your tried-and-true way to banish a bad mood?

There are some questions I ask over and over of people. "What's your go-to weeknight dinner?" is a biggie. But as someone who is now and then beset with bad moods, here's another choice query: How do you fix a bad mood? Self-soothing tactics aren't just some namby-pamby way to coddle yourself. The way I see it is like this: if we don't take responsibility for our own happiness, who will?

By the time we hit adulthood, most of us don't have a mommy who will wipe away our tears with the same regularity as when we were toddlers. It's vital to know how to do this for ourselves. Not because bad moods don't have a place in our lives--they're a part of the normal emotional life cycle, for sure. In fact, research has shown that not only are bad moods natural, but that they can help you make clear-headed decisions and boost memory.

But whatever. None of that means anything when life has just come at you hard: a project lands on your desk at the eleventh hour, you get stuck in traffic, and a stranger asks if you're pregnant when you're, um, not. Times like these, we've got to have ways to bow out of those moods and get ourselves feeling right again. Below, 20 sure-fire suggestions.

  1. Take a bath.
  2. Watch the Real Housewives. Their problems are worse than yours.
  3. Bake something.
  4. Buy a new lipstick.
  5. Look at pretty fall clothes online.
  6. Take a kickboxing class.
  7. Call an old friend.
  8. Sit in a cafe sipping a cappuccino and reading, cell phone off.
  9. Dance in the living room to Tina Turner.
  10. Meditate.
  11. Blare your favorite song.
  12. Ask for a hug.
  13. Eat a luscious piece of dark chocolate.
  14. Organize a drawer that's been driving you nuts.
  15. Repeat a mantra. Try: I am good.
  16. Write in your journal.
  17. Watch Anne of Green Gables (insert your own favorite feel-good flick here).
  18. Go for a run.
  19. Do something kind for someone else.
  20. Channel the heroine of the movie version of your life.
Okay, now you: How do you banish a bad mood?

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