Mindset Matters for Your Mood
Episode #4 of the course How to improve your mood by Patricia Haddock
Yesterday, you learned how to immunize yourself from contagious moods. What action step did you take?
If your mood right now is negative, spend about 90 seconds with the laughing baby before continuing.
You might have heard or read something about mindset. Even if you’re familiar with it, you may not realize that it plays a part in your mood. Let’s start today’s lesson with an overview of mindset theory and then explore how it affects your mood.
What Is Mindset?
Mindset refers to a set of beliefs and attitudes that influences how much you can accomplish, how successful you can be, and how much effort you are willing to put into achievement. All of these are factors in your mood.
Research by Stanford University Professor Dr. Carol Dweck identified two types of mindset: fixed and growth. Most people are a mixture of both; however, the predominant mindset determines how much personal and professional success and satisfaction you can achieve.
Fixed mindset: People with a fixed mindset believe that their potential is limited, that they are unable to learn new things, and that failure is fatal. They seek approval and are concerned more with appearances than substance.
Fixed mindset people often think of themselves as helpless and may suffer from low self-esteem. It is hard for them to be happy when others are rewarded or recognized, they take criticism personally, and they often resent others who seem more successful. This is a perfect storm for a consistently low mood.
Growth mindset: A growth mindset, on the other hand, opens the door to opportunities. These people think that they are capable of learning anything as long as they apply themselves. They are highly resilient and flexible and view mistakes not as failures, but as a means of improvement. They tend to outperform those with a fixed mindset because they seek out challenges and enjoy learning new things.
Neither mindset is right, nor wrong. However, if you tend toward a predominantly fixed mindset and believe that it is not serving you, or if you notice that your mood is more often negative than positive, you can open yourself up to greater success and a more positive mood by shifting to more of a growth mindset.
Steps for Cultivating a Growth Mindset for a More Positive Mood
Step 1. Write out every example of something you have learned to do well. Do you drive? It took a lot to master that. Swim? Paint? Are you good at your job? Give yourself credit for what you’ve already done.
Step 2. Go over everything you wrote down. What did it take to become good at each item? Maybe ability isn’t as important as sticking to it. You don’t have to start as a master of something; you just need to take one small step. It might be fun. You don’t have to tell anyone at first. Just do it and see what happens. Note your mood as you do this.
Step 3. Use other’s successes as role models. Read or listen to the biographies of successful people to discover how they overcame self-doubt. Study what they did, how they did it. What resources did they use? Can you identify the steps they took? Follow in their shoes and let them lead you to your success in this area. If someone else did something, you can, too.
Step 4. Permit yourself to make mistakes. Start calling them a badge of courage and proof that you took a chance. Maybe it wasn’t as successful as you intended or hoped for, but believe that you can learn from it and improve. Tell yourself that mistakes aren’t fatal; they keep you headed in the right direction.
“There are no mistakes or failures, only lessons.” —Denis Waitley
1. When you catch yourself thinking that you can’t do things or face challenges, stop and remember your past successes and how you achieved them.
2. Set an intention to take one small step each day to do or learn something new.
Moving into a growth mindset means having confidence in yourself—confidence that you can handle what comes at you. But what happens when you are confronted with change? When you are hit by that feeling of not knowing what’s coming and of wondering if you can handle it or not? For most people, uncertainty is not a great place to find themselves. However, you might be surprised to learn that uncertainty might be right for your mood. In tomorrow’s lesson, you discover why not-knowing doesn’t have to sink your mood as a rock tossed into a pond.
Until then, have a good-mood day.
Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D.
One Small Step Can Change Your Life by Robert Maurer, Ph.D.
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