How’s your mood? Is it cheerful, irritable, fearful, or optimistic? Does your mood change from day to day, or is it relatively constant? Do you find that your mood creates problems in your relationship at home, school, or work?
When someone asks you how your mood is doing, it’s usually not because your mood is cheery and light, right? Someone has noticed a change in your attitude or demeanor. Perhaps this has been going on for some time, or it changes from day to day. People often get offended by this question precisely because of their negative feelings. It can feel like criticism or a put-down like you are a problem to them. But asking about your mood may be an attempt for others to understand what is going on. They may want to help but don’t know how difficult it is to explain when you are unsure about what is happening!
No one wants to feel sad or grumpy. We want to be happier, optimistic, open to new experiences, and deeply connected to others. That is not always the reality. Some people may not shake their negative moods, no matter how hard they try. Is this your situation?
If you could flip a switch on your mood, you would, wouldn’t you? It is hard to have a greater thought than your most intense feeling.Let Ron Huxley help you today!
What is a “mood”?
A mood is an affective state that can last for days, months, or even a lifetime. In contrast to emotions or feelings, moods are not as intense, may reflect a general state of mind, or, if persistent, become descriptive of your personality. Moods aren’t usually swayed by external events, or not for very long. You might be intensely happy about a job promotion or getting an “A” on a test, but you quickly return to feeling angry or sad. What happened? There is no reason to feel this way. The reason is due to the nature of mood.
We describe the mood as an attitude, spirit, temper, tenor, disposition, tendency, or character. A parent might say that their teenager is “in a mood.” A spouse might tell a friend, “don’t bother him right now; he’s in one of his moods.” It can also be a way to describe a strong desire or craving, as in, “I am in the mood for ice cream” or, like the famous song states: “I am in the mood for love.”
Creative works of art can be said to have a mood. Masterful literature or film has light, cheery, or dark moods and is somber in tone. The story, song, or painting might be reflective, gloomy, romantic, mysterious, calm, hopeful, angry, fearful, tense, or lonely. These works of art resonate with our current mood. Comfort can be found in a book, movie, or lyric. Soundtracks give scenes in a film a mood that creates tension, fear, and drama.
We are so moody or easily swayed in our moods because human beings are hardwired social-emotional creatures. Moods can be contagious and quickly picked up by being around someone else who is in a different mood than us. A dark and depressing mood can promptly shift the atmosphere of the room. You weren’t depressed before you walked into the room, but now, one second later, you are. We think we are “bipolar,” but this is just being social-emotional creatures.
Test this out: the next time you have a sudden mood switch, look around you and notice who is in the room and how they are acting? You might spot the culprit giving off negative vibes that you are picking up.
Take a deep breath of relief and let your confusion and negative energy on. Breathe in and tell yourself: “the feeling is not about me,” and on the exhale, release it. Want this means about yourself is that you are empathic and sensitive, two wonderful human traits.
As a therapist with three decades of experience working with people with mood disorders and trauma, I have discovered some practical tools to help “flip the switch.” Schedule a session today!