Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn: I woke up in a terrible mood this morning, for no reason I can think of. What are your best tips to snap yourself out of a funk?

Carolyn says: Mine are pretty pedestrian: I warn people in case I fail at containment; I look for ways to laugh, with sisters or go-to videos, for the physical release and to get out of my head; I do yoga from YouTube, like, "Yoga for not punching people at random." I snuggle my dogs.

Unless I'm too radioactive for human contact, I do something nice for someone. Even donating 20 bucks toward decency feels like a cosmic correction.

Cute animal videos help, too. Don't judge me.

Here's a sampling from readers:

• Exercise. Even if it's freezing out, I'll bundle up and take a walk.

• One morning I was crabby and didn't want to go to school, and my mom said, "Why don't you put on your favorite outfit?" I did, and felt a lot better.

• I work a crossword or sudoku.

• I wallow. Grumpiness is a legitimate emotion that deserves to be accepted and owned.

• I sing along to pop-princess, girl-power anthems. It is hard to sing "Party in the USA" and remain grumpy.

• Do something different. If you have been sedentary, exercise. When I am racing and feeling overwhelmed, I will intentionally do nothing. Ideally outside, watching the clouds.

• Naps are panaceas for me.

• I have a list of movies that bring me out of it — some funny, some moving so I can cry, some scary.

• I work as hard as I can at my job or gardening or whatever. The satisfied feeling afterward is wonderful.

• I make a list of everything that's not bad about my life right now. Doesn't have to be good, just not bad. Like, "I had pizza for lunch." Then build up to better things.

• Celebrate something, anything.

• Sometimes I just retreat into my bedroom and smell my cat. I know it sounds weird, but she loves me and she smells like sanity.

• Maybe the laundry just doesn't get folded. Or I let the kid fall asleep watching TV instead of struggling with bedtime. I just pick one or two self-imposed expectations and let them go.

• Make a plan to look forward to, even if it's just your favorite takeout and a movie.

• I treat it like a cold or a rainy day — something unpleasant that will pass.

• Jot down three to five things for which you're grateful, even, "the first sip of my morning tea."

• Chocolate! Get the really good kind.

• I read. Getting absorbed in a story takes you out of your head. Drink a warm beverage.

• I write (stream of consciousness) how I'm feeling. Then I read it back and figure out what's really bothering me.

• I look at pictures on my phone.

• Baby goats in pajamas make the world right again every time. (

E-mail Carolyn Hax at, or chat with her at 11 a.m. Friday at