How can you free yourself from an angry or depressed mood?

Get your brain busy with working on a hard problem. Studies show that when your brain is loaded up and distracted by a complex problem it can do wonders to alleviate a foul mood.

From In Mind:

…recent experimental findings have demonstrated that performing a cognitive task can take the edge of negative emotional responses and help people put things into a more neutral perspective ( Morrow & Nolen-Hoeksema, 1990; Van Dillen & Koole, 2007). Thus, even when people successfully pass the math obstacle, they may still be less inclined to send out any emotional email because doing the math has eased their minds. The idea is straightforward: stuff your head with numbers, instead of irrational ideas about getting back together with your ex.

It doesn’t have to be math. Distractions that required active mental investment or difficult problems that loaded up the mind’s working memory were both effective.

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