So, when someone else’s bad mood rubs off on you, it can create a trickle-down effect of negativity. Soon, everyone from your bank teller to your kids could catch the bad-mood bug.
While you may not always be able to control the outcome of situations, you do have a choice about how you react to it, says Dr. Holstein. Focusing on your actions is one of the best ways to fend off a bad mood.
To stay happy and pay your attitude forward in a positive way, put these tricks into practice:
1. Kill them with kindness Remember the lesson you teach your kids about saying something nice or nothing at all? It’s time to turn that concept on its head. Instead of keeping silent the next time you encounter a sourpuss, dish out a compliment. Compliment your boss’s haircut, or acknowledge the hard work of a surly PTA mom. A kind comment could do more to shield you from a dark cloud than zipping your lip. It may even help clear the skies for the other person too.
2. Do unto others It’s easy to sit and stew about the jerk who cut you off on the highway. A stay-happy alternative to fuming: Do what you wish he had done, advises Dr. Holstein. For example, give the next car plenty of room to merge and a friendly wave. Research shows that doing a good deed for others can lift your mood even more than doing something nice for yourself, says Dr. Holstein. Then, you’ll feel better (and feel good about yourself) for taking the high road.