Your Mood and Why It Matter Matters
Welcome to the course!
I’m Patricia Haddock, an entrepreneur, author, editor, and instructor. I teach professional skills development in large organizations and help entrepreneurial professionals overcome obstacles to achieve long-term career and business success. I’m the author of two other Highbrow courses How to Improve Your Self-confidence and How to Communicate Like a Pro.
In this course, you will gain strategies, tactics, and tools to help you better understand and control your moods instead of letting them control you.
What Is Mood?
The mood is a general term for an emotional state, usually referred to as either “good mood” or “bad mood.” It’s a feeling of lightness or heaviness, and it influences an outlook that is either positive or negative.
Right now, stop reading and note your mood.
Is it upbeat and positive? A “good mood”?
Or is it downbeat and negative? A “bad mood”?
Maybe it’s neutral—the mood of curiosity about what’s coming?
A mood can last a short while or all day, and moods swing back and forth from good to bad to neutral over and over.
Your Mood Matters
Research shows that positive moods enhance creativity, flexibility, cognition, performance, relationships, productivity, and more. You are more resourceful when your spirit is positive and upbeat.
On the other hand, negative moods adversely affect your judgment and interpretations, which can lead to conflicts that damage relationships. Cognition is impaired, as is the ability to control emotional reactions. Negative moods also are associated with a variety of serious problems, such as depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, and more. Prolonged negative feelings, frequent bouts of negative moods, or uncontrollable mood swings may signal a serious issue that requires professional help.
Up and Down the Mood Elevator
Larry Senn is chair and founder of Senn Delaney, a consulting firm. His book The Mood Elevator: Take Charge of Your Feelings, Become a Better You provides a road map for navigating the ups and downs of mood.
Senn’s mood elevator resembles a thermometer with zero being a neutral mood. He calls it a curious, interested state. Below zero are negative moods, ranging from impatient and frustrated to angry, hostile, and depressed, which is the basement. Above zero are the positive moods from flexible and adaptive to grateful, which is at the top.
It works like this: Something happens, and immediately you have thought about what happened. The thought sets off a string of responses:
• Your neurochemistry changes, depending on whether you view the event positively or negatively.
• A corresponding mood is triggered.
• You respond in some way.
All this happens instantly without your conscious awareness. In the space of a second, you can go from happy to sad, from joyful to furious. Your mood elevator is out of control.
For example, if you hate the cold and find yourself snowed in, your mood is probably down. If you’re shoveling your walk, it’s probably way down. Then the sun comes out, the snow melts, and your mood immediately improves. On the other hand, if you’re an avid skier and that snowy walkway is the path to your car and a weekend on the slopes, your mood is much different as you clear away the snow. The sun comes out, the slopes turn to slush, and your mood goes down.
“Time cools, time clarifies; no mood can be maintained quite unaltered through the course of hours.” —Thomas Mann
Fast Fix for a Bad Mood
Step 1. Notice your mood right now.
Step 2. Think of someone or something you genuinely care about—your spouse or partner, your child or grandchild, your pet, your garden—anything that fills you with positive emotions, such as happiness, joy, peace, and so on.
Step 3. Set a timer and focus on this person or thing for two minutes.
If you’re like most people, this fast fix will raise your mood and can be used whenever you’re below zero. Even if you only improve your mood a few degrees, each time your mood elevates, you gain more resources, and your outlook improves. There’s a world of difference if your mood moves from angry and hostile to stressed and burned-out.
1. Start paying attention to your moods as you experience them.
2. Keep a running record of the time, your mood, what triggered it, and your thoughts at the time.
3. Implement the Fast Fix.
Tomorrow, you will learn how moods are triggered, why some feelings seem to last forever, and how to turn round a bad mood in just 90 seconds. Until then, have a good-mood day.
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