How to instantly change your mood

glass statue

Lucio Bubacco Glass Extravaganza


You know those barriers (apparently called stanchions) they use at airports to make queues look smaller and fit the room? Yes, the ones that remind you of experiments in which rats desperately try to find their way out of a labyrinth.

I had to go through the biggest one I’ve ever seen at Dallas airport immigration. It was massive. At least 50 meters in length, with 5 turns. It would easily hold up to a thousand people.

When I join a monster queue like this, I usually start by trying to figure how long it might take to get through. As I had a 5 hour layover, I wasn’t in a rush. I wagered that at the current speed, I’d get to immigration in about 60 minutes.

High in spirits, I wait in line and observe people. Everybody has a different method to deal with the situation. Some read books, others fiddle with their phones, while some just get desperately bored and frustrated.

As time passes and progress slows down, I start feeling less happy too. I can literally feel being infected by the frustration and anxiety of the people around me.

Unless I do something, the crowd will take me down with them.

Are you familiar with the concept of the safeword? Yes, the one perverts use in case getting whipped becomes too painful and they want to stop.

I’ve collected a set of ideas that are capable of shifting my mood instantly just by thinking of them. They interrupt the course of events and my chain of thoughts just like the safeword does.  For me, these are memories, pieces of stand-up performances, funny stories friends told me. The one thing they have in common is that they will make me laugh at any time under any circumstances.

As I was standing in line, I knew the situation demanded an instant mood shift, so I took this one out of the hat.


If you understand English and that doesn’t make you laugh or smile at least, you need therapy. I’m sorry.

So I thought of Louis CK telling that story as I was waiting in line (didn’t actually need to see it) and I couldn’t help but burst out laughing. People around me gave me some disapproving looks (perhaps thinking I was laughing at them), but I couldn’t care less. My mood shifted in a millisecond and I felt like everything was great again. Soon, my mood shift started to affect people around me. Now my laughter and smiling was contagious.

Actually, I had to try hard not to laugh in the face of the immigration officer, when in my mind’s eye, little red dicks started fucking his nose as he handled my passport.

Now, you might think that’s primitive or otherwise inappropriate, but that is beside the point.

The point is that you find a set of ideas that you can use to shift your mood when you need to.

Whatever works for you.

I’d give you some tips, but I’m embarrassed to share them publicly 🙂


Do you have your own strategies for dealing with situations like this? I’d love to hear about them!