Are you in a mood?

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!

Need a Mood Boost?

As we enter the holiday season, in the midst of an ongoing pandemic, we could all use a little boost in our mood. For some, this is not a time of good cheer. It is a time for increased depression and anxiety.

How do we improve our mood?

How To Actively Improve Your Mood

There are many ways to actively improve your mood. The most obvious is to feel good about yourself.

Other reasons are probably not as obvious to you. Although, they’re pretty obvious to your mental and physical health.

Let’s talk about some of these reasons and how they can influence everything that goes on in our lives.

Improve Your Mental Health

Your mental wellness affects your thoughts, feelings, and behavior. It helps reduce stress, as well as help you cope with challenges and setbacks.

Having strong mental health doesn’t mean the absence of anxiety, fears, and worries. Going through difficult times is a natural part of living.

Yet, when you’re in good shape mentally and emotionally, you bounce back faster. You have the tools needed to face all these things head-on with confidence and resilience.

Being resilient means you stay flexible and focused when life throws you a curveball. You have confidence in your abilities to deal with whatever the future has in store.

Here are some extra perks that come when you boost your mental wellbeing and improve your mood.

  • You have a sense of contentment with life in general
  • You maintain a hearty dose of confidence and self-esteem
  • You see opportunities where others see none
  • You enjoy living and can laugh at yourself
  • You balance work and play
  • You build healthy relationships

Polish Up on Your Social Skills

We’re social creatures. We thrive when we feel connected to others.

This doesn’t mean we have to be surrounded by people all the time every day. It just means that our brains crave companionship in varying degrees.

Yes, you can always call or text. They certainly have their place and time in our busy, hectic lives.

Still, nothing beats the mood-boosting power of sitting down with family or friends. That quality face-to-face time is priceless.

You sit, you talk, and you listen — pretty basic right? But for your brain, it’s revolutionary!

Here’s why: studies show that our brains are wired for connectivity. Certain areas of our brains light up when we do volunteer work or spend some time with a friend.

Not only that, but the brain rewards us for being socially outgoing. It does so by signaling the release of two happy hormones, oxytocin, and serotonin. So, by being out with your partner, friends, or even colleagues, you’re actively seeking ways to improve your mood.

You should also make the most of those fleeting encounters you have with strangers each day. Make a point of looking your neighbor in the eye as you wish them a good day.

Look up from what you’re doing and take a couple of seconds to thank the barista or the cashier. You can even add a smile to go with it.

Despite taking mere seconds out of your day, those little acts of kindness are terrific mood boosters. They’ll do wonders for your day and theirs!

Stay Active

The link between the mind and body is complementary. When you take care of your physical health, you’re nourishing your mental well-being.

Anytime you exercise for at least 20 minutes, your brain releases endorphins. These are one of the four happy chemicals that help stabilize your mood and boost energy levels.

Regular physical activity also has a big impact on your memory and concentration. Plus, it relieves stress and promotes better sleep.

The trick is to find an activity you like and do it several times a week. Take a walk, cycle, throw a Frisbee with your dog—the point is to enjoy what you’re doing.

Better still, find a group of friends and be active in a group. This will hold you accountable, boost your motivation, and improve your mood.

Regulate Stress Levels

Almost everyone on the planet knows by now that stress is a major problem. It affects our mental, emotional, and physical well-being.

We also know that stress can’t be avoided, especially in this busy day and age. However, certain stress management strategies can help regulate stress in your life.

These tactics allow you to cope with life’s ups and downs. They allow you to improve your mood and feel good about yourself.

Here are some things you can do to reduce your stress:

  • Enhance the quality of your sleep
  • Eat mood-enhancing foods, such as fresh fruits, fatty fish, nuts, avocados, and beans
  • Practice relaxation techniques, like mindful meditation, yoga, and deep breathing
  • Make time for yourself and do something you enjoy
  • Find somewhere to sit at a local park and soak in some sunshine
  • Laugh more

If you need more help with your mood, contact Ron Huxley today to schedule a session!

Depression and Parental Insightfulness

Research articles often have a “duh” factor when it comes to outcomes in various studies. After you read them you think “I could have told you that!” The up side of academic studies is that they point a laser light of attention on areas of life that need attention. Society seems more willing to spend money and time on correcting problems when we draw a big circle around a social problem in the lab.

This was true, for me, of a study on the level of parental insightfulness and maternal depression (see clip below). The findings of the study was that mom’s (why do we always study moms!) who were depressed are less likely to be able to see life from the vantage point of their children. This results in less emotional attachment and parenting effectiveness. The obviousness of this research is that mom’s or dad’s that are depressed are less likely to see much of anything outside of their own internal pain. This isn’t a slam on depressed parents. I have experienced it and it isn’t purposeful. Depression is usually due to a chemical imbalance and requires professional interventions that may or may not involve medications.

I mention this study on the blog because I want draw a big circle around this issue and say that the long-term effects of a poor attachment between parent and child can have some serious effects on self-esteem and future relationships. I guess this is a call to action for anyone who feels they are depressed, even occasionally. Help yourself and your child by getting some help. There is plenty of help available, from changing diets to clinical therapy. I have found that playing with my child lifts my mood even when I was tired and emotionally down.

“Insightfulness is seen as the mental capacity that provides the context for a secure child–parent attachment. It involves the ability to see things from the child’s perspective and is based on insight into the child’s motives, a complex view of the child and openness to new information about the child. To test our hypothesis that maternal insightfulness is related to maternal depression, we utilized the Insightfulness Assessment (IA) developed by Oppenheim and Koren-Karie to conduct and analyse interviews in which mothers discussed their perceptions of video segments of their interactions with their children. We compared the results of a control group of 30 mothers without a diagnosis of depression with a sample of 23 mothers diagnosed with depression (International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision). As expected, depression was negatively related to maternal insightfulness.”

Source: onlinelibrary.wiley.com Share what you have done to increase your mood and deal with depression by leaving a comment below or posting on our Facebook ParentingToolbox Page.