Are moods under our control?
Our moods change like the weather. Just like a bright British summer’s day, marred by an unexpected drizzle; our sunniest moods can turn cloudy and grey rapidly and with little warning.
Now, I appreciate this isn’t a particularly ground-breaking concept. But, it’s an important one to consciously get your head around if you want to master your interactions at home and work.
Some say you need to learn to live with the mood you’re in. Celebrate the good days and accept the bad for what they are.
But, have you ever counted how many times your mood changes in a day?
We’ve all woken up full of enthusiasm and ready to take on anything the world throws at us, only to be rugby-tackled by some bad news that sends our mood to the floor, hard. Then, come mid-afternoon, some better news lifts our mood up to somewhere between the floor and where we started.
The belief that we are prone to anger, jealously, happiness, or gratefulness is tempting. However, it’s also limiting because it restricts our potential for change and self-improvement.
The key to being your best self has nothing to do with the people around you or your situation. It’s about what’s going on inside of you.
The Mood Elevator from Larry Senn is a powerful model for helping us notice the positive and negative nature of our moods.
When we operate in the top area with the blue behaviours we are wonderful parents, partners, leaders, and colleagues. On the occasions that we fall into the red behaviours people don’t experience the best of us.
Why do we need to operate at higher levels?
Simply put, when we are higher up the elevator we have a good basic memory, greater insight, and access to our inner wisdom. Conversely, when we are lower down the elevator the quality of our thinking is poorer and we are more likely to be rushed and frustrated.
Six steps to help you manage your mood
Do you know where you tend to sit on the Mood Elevator?
Being conscious of your default setting is a vital step to mastering your mood. It’s easy to justify unreasonable behaviours, especially when we don’t take responsibility for our mood.
This is an uncomfortable process for some, particularly those that sit lower on the elevator. However, it’s essential. You can’t control what you don’t understand, after all.
2. Motion is emotion
Mood isn’t just an internal thing. It manifests externally too.
Observe your posture when you are happy versus when you’re sad. Poor posture leads to poor emotions. Good posture leads to a more positive state.
Change your body and get in-state. Tiny things you can do in the moment like make eye contact with people and smile, trick your mind into thinking you feel better than you do.
Eventually, your emotions and mindset will follow suit.
Senn suggests that curiosity is the built-in brake to stop us from plummeting down into the lower ends of the mood elevator.
When you’re feeling down, frustrated or angry asking ‘Why?’ is a potent tool to get you back on track.
“Why is this upsetting me?”
“Why can’t I feel better about this today?
It’s tough to ask why in the midst of negativity but more often than not, there is something to be discovered. Even when the cause isn’t readily apparent it’s essential to stay the course.
Keep asking why and keep thinking because once you understand the ‘why’ behind your descent to the lower floors of the mood elevator, the ability to take control, rectify and begin your ascent naturally follows.
4. The golden triangle
Controlling your mood isn’t always easy. That’s why it’s ever so important to create an environment that gives you the best chance of success.
Diet, exercise, and rest form a golden triangle that’s key to the healthy mind and body you need to optimally manage your mood.
You don’t need to become a health and fitness fanatic (in fact, if you’re not already and don’t want to, trying to do so can cause stress that just makes things worse).
Little changes do wonders.
Feeling healthy, fit and, in control boosts your self-image and provides a reserve of energy to see you through those difficult times.
Eating food you’ve cooked yourself with fresh ingredients, taking a couple of daily walks and, heading to bed at the same time every day is all it takes to start seeing improvements. No gym membership necessary.
5. Music is a proxy
Music is poetry for the ears. In every culture and across the ages, people have used music to convey the full suite of the human experience. Joy, grief, love, hate, and everything in between. It’s little wonder then, that music can energise when things are good and counsel when we’re low.
It’s often when we’re lowest that music really shines.
By having someone or something else express our negative thoughts and feelings, we’re better able to take a rounded view. The music becomes a proxy, aligned to how we feel in the moment yet distant enough to allow for rational analysis.
This analysis in turn allows us to ask and, importantly, understand the ‘why’ behind our moods. With this information, even the most mountainous problems become manageable.
Also, if you need something to lift your mood right now music should be your go-to. Whether it’s a quick three-minute dance to Ariana Grande or some stirring Mozart and a cup of herbal tea, nothing transports us to our happy place faster than the music we love.
6. Cultivate a gratitude perspective
Gratitude is an overriding emotion.
It’s almost impossible to be grateful and angry or grateful and blaming at the same time. They’re mutually exclusive.
Gratitude is more about other people rather than ourselves. Therefore it naturally overrides envy, depression, and self-righteousness. It forces us to step back and look at what we do have.
Manage your mood, master your conversations
Ultimately you, not your circumstances determine your mood.
That said, it’s disingenuous to imply lifting your mood is as simple as flicking a switch. Mastering your mood and reaping the benefits requires an investment of time and effort on your part.
Our Resilience Toolkit teaches you to overcome setbacks and obstacles in order to thrive in our ever-changing world. Packed with actionable tips, this virtual workshop gives you everything you need to develop your resilience.
The Managing Lockdown Without Meltdown virtual workshop helps you create the culture you crave at home. Since March, we’ve all spent more time than we ever thought possible with family. A dream for many, but dreams don’t last forever…
Being in close proximity to the same people, day in day out, each with their own fears and stresses creates an environment charged with the potential for conflict. This 60-minute workshop shares tactics on how to lead conversations and effectively manage undesirable behaviours in the home.
These workshops are challenging but packed with the material you need to succeed in mastering your mood.
Want to learn more? Fill out a contact form and we’ll be in touch.
Motion is emotion: How to reset your mind and mood, Tony Robbins (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QqqTtqGWCBM)
Curiosity: Curiosity: The Build-In Break on the Mood Elevator, Larry Senn (https://www.thindifference.com/2017/11/curiosity-the-built-in-brake-on-the-mood-elevator/)
The golden triangle: The Golden Triangle of Heath and Wellbeing, Channon Gray (https://channongray.com/golden-triangle-health-well-being)
Music is a proxy: Music Is What Feelings Sound Like, Courtney Warren (https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/naked-truth/201410/music-is-what-feelings-sound)