Learn more about bad moods Learn more about bad moods

Is this the same as a bad temper? Understand the characteristics and how to keep a bad time from affecting your personal relationships.

Santiago Herrera – Psychologist,
MA in History


Surely you have had days when you have not been in the best headspace to act with kindness or receive certain comments. Or maybe it has happened to you that before you tell someone something you rehearse it because you are afraid of their reaction or anger.

So, is this a bad mood or a bad temper? They are usually related. As psychologist Santiago Herrera explains, a bad mood tends to be more circumstantial, an attitude specific to a particular situation. A bad temper, then, is associated with a tendency in some types of personalities or ways of being. “However, in daily life and culture, they are used equally,” he states.

What characterizes both is the explosiveness and impulsiveness in the responses to acts that do not merit these reactions. This response has emotional components and physiological issues that others notice immediately, such as agitation and raising their voice. But the specialist points out the differences, “one thing is having strong responses in a particular moment and another is it being a constant, permanent reaction in some people,” he states. This is different from anger, for example, which is a much more excessive and uncontrollable reaction.

In other words, everyone can have moments of anger and rage, which is completely normal. “There are very calm people who can eventually exacerbate one of their responses. It has happened to all of us, in a chaotic or stressful time, responding badly to people who had nothing to do with it…These are circumstantial issues. There are also personalities who have emotional and impulsive responses, even euphoria as well. They vary and it does not mean that they respond to everything in their lives in this way, or that they are bad people,” comments Herrera. However, he adds, when these are repetitive behaviors, it is important to analyze which people or situations could be potential triggers.

In light of an outburst

Usually, whoever has this tendency, or has had an explosive response, is not proud of it. “People do not say, ‘I am going to blow up today.’ It is not something that is decided. And then there is a physiological compensation because there is an expenditure of emotions that have been expressed abruptly and untimely, so there is a void,” states the psychologist.

As a consequence, coexistence with others can be affected, as prevention, less spontaneous interpersonal relationships, and misunderstandings can arise. Communication problems are fueled, and these moments of agitation are also used to discuss other unresolved issues.

Healthy understanding

Although reason is not able to control emotion, for the sake of a healthy coexistence with yourself and others, it is essential to manage your bad temper when it causes distress. “The first thing is to recognize those feelings. Whether they are moments or if it is personality. What factors aggravate these expressions? Which people? Recognize they are part of yourself, of your way of relating to others, without this being a justification,” states the psychologist.

Another important aspect is that it is not possible to reflect during an outburst, but you should analyze it in moments of relaxation, without the filter of emotions. “Some people find that it works to get away from scenarios or events in which they have those reactions,” states Herrera. Also try to evaluate, imagine that situation to the extreme to realize that your exasperated response does not change things.

Likewise, cultivating tranquility is a daily exercise. To achieve this, there are many different options: psychology, psychiatry, sports, artistic expressions, yoga, meditation, religion. “They all have a common core: a moment of reflection, of finding oneself, distanced from external stimuli. Perhaps everyone, not only to manage anger and bad moods, should look for a way to get close to our emotions and thoughts. Tranquility has to do with spending time with yourself,” concludes the psychologist.•

Rationally, we can try to explain many emotions, nevertheless, they express a relationship between the body and the environment. It is important to recognize them and realize when they come to the surface.