Having anxiety causes a bad mood in many people.

We often think of anxiety in terms of the physical symptoms, including a racing heart and difficulty breathing.

However, anxiety is also linked with frustration.

On one hand, you might feel like you really want to calm down, and it is frustrating that you cannot do it. On the other hand, you may be stressed that there are a million things that need to get done, and you are not able to focus on any of them.

Additionally, the physical symptoms of anxiety are uncomfortable. That panicky feeling makes it difficult to stay in a good mood.

Luckily, there are many things that you can do to find balance again after anxiety has caused your mood to tank.

Focus on the Present Moment

lemon and lime water with mintAnxiety is almost always tied up with doubts and fears about the future.

If you can focus on the present moment, then you can bring yourself back to a calmer state of being, even if your anxiety causes a bad mood. As your body begins to calm down, your mind will begin to settle, and in turn, you will be able to move away from your negative state of mind.

Some ways to refocus are:

  • Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth
  • Enjoy a scent that you love, using a candle or essential oils
  • Eat something that dazzles the tongue, such as a fresh mint
  • Turn on a favorite song and sing along
  • Better yet, dance along to that favorite song—get into your body

All of these are simple, enjoyable activities that help you return to the present moment while infusing that moment with sensory information.

Accept, Embrace, and Understand


When anxiety causes a bad mood, you probably want to fight that feeling. After all, it is not fun to be in a bad mood. Thus, you want to snap out of it as quickly as possible.

However, when you try to fight a negative mood, it sometimes gets worse. Try accepting, embracing, and understanding it instead.

Accepting a Bad Mood

This is actually part of being in the present moment. Simply notice that you are in a bad mood. Accept that this is the way that you feel. Remind yourself that you won’t feel this way forever. Be gentle with yourself.

There is nothing bad about you as a person just because you are in a bad mood.

Embrace a Bad Mood

You can even go so far as to embrace a bad mood. All human emotions are valuable, after all.

Ask yourself, “What is the best thing that happens when I am in a bad mood?” For example, maybe you are really good at standing up for yourself when you are grumpy. Embrace that aspect of a bad mood.

Understand the Mood

All of our moods teach us something about ourselves.

So, get curious about your mood. Ask yourself what caused your anxiety, and how it turned into a bad mood. This provides insight, letting you know if you really need to sleep, eat, or get some other need met.

Defining Balance for Yourself

woman meditating in the mountains

When anxiety causes a bad mood, the goal is to get back to a state of balance. You want to feel calmer, but not so calm that you lose all of your energy. Of course, you can’t achieve balance if you do not know what balance means to you.

Try the following exercise.

Defining Six Big Needs

Draw a circle, using lines to divide it into six pieces like a pie. Label each of the six pieces with the six things you need most in your life to feel balanced.

You might include:

  • Family
  • Friends
  • Meaningful work
  • Time alone
  • Exercise
  • Spiritual practice

Everyone’s pie will look different. For example, you might not require meaningful work but need time to study for school. Alternatively, you may not emphasize exercise but require specific nutrition or medication.

Identify the six things you need most.

Are Those Needs Met?

Use a colored pencil to shade in each of the six pie pieces based on how much time you currently get in each area. For example, if you spend all of your time alone, then shade that one in completely. If you barely ever see your friends, give that one only a tiny bit of shading.

When you are done, you will easily be able to see which area needs the most attention. Strive to create balance across all six areas.

Then, when anxiety causes a bad mood, turn back to this pie chart. Pay attention to the areas that are lacking. Give time to those things that will help you rebalance.

When you can see in front of your eyes that you have not been exercising, then you can easily recalibrate by building more exercise into your day. Your anxiety will decrease, and you will get back to a calmer place overall.

Many people with anxiety wonder if therapy can really help. It is important to understand that therapy isn’t just a place to talk about your problems. It is also a place for collaborative with a professional and engaging in problem-solving. Learn more about my approach to anxiety treatment here.