Self-regulation of mood: strategies for changing a bad mood, raising energy, and reducing tension

J Pers Soc Psychol. 1994 Nov;67(5):910-25. doi: 10.1037//0022-3514.67.5.910.


Four studies evaluated the success of behaviors and strategies used to self-regulate bad moods, raise energy, and reduce tension. Study 1 (N = 102) used an open-ended questionnaire to identify behavioral categories. Studies 2 and 4 surveyed a representative sample (N = 308) with a fixed-response questionnaire to quantify behaviors, general strategies, and individual differences. Study 3 used psychotherapist (N = 26) judgments of the likely success of the strategies. Therapist and self-rating converged on success of strategies and gender differences. These studies clarify and confirm previous research findings, particularly gender differences in controlling depression. Exercise appears to be the most effective mood-regulating behavior, and the best general strategy to change a bad mood is a combination of relaxation, stress management, cognitive, and exercise techniques. Results support a 2-dimensional biopsychological model of mood.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Affect*
  • Aged
  • Arousal
  • Behavior
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Sex Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires