Choose your mood

For more than a year I have asked training course participants if this statement is ‘true’, ‘false’ or ‘maybe’…

“I choose my mood and am in the mood I want to be in most of the time”

I have been surprised that many nurses, social workers and similar participants say this is not true for them. They then say it is not true for the people they are paid to help.

Surely we should be able to choose our mood most of the time. If we find that our moods are almost entirely depend on our circumstances there is a huge risk that we could become increasingly unhappy and dissatisfied.

If we are going to help others recover from mood disorders and help others with choosing their moods we first need to practice choosing our own moods.

We can help clients, friends and family better when we are able to choose our own moods.

See: What is emotion?

When we do not feel like smiling

Sometimes we do not feel like smiling.

forcing a smile

Forcing a smile

Have you ever been too anxious or too depressed to be able to smile.

Forcing ourselves to smile several times a day reduces anxiety and depression.

Leaving a pen between your teeth is said to be more effective than antidepressants. It is a lot cheaper and no horrible side-effects!

Smiling can be the quickest way to feel better.

I used to believe that people become miserable then stop smiling. Now I mostly believe: People who stop smiling become miserable.  We all need to smile from time to time to feel good.

Act as if #choosingyourmood

mood-act-as-if

sad inside – ‘putting on a face’

With the training I do, I have found that people who suffer from mood disorders and perhaps surprisingly those who care for them have low expectations of being able to choose a mood and then be in their chosen mood.

People who are making good recoveries from mood disorder and people who I see as doing very well in life have far stronger beliefs in their ability to choose their mood.

I have previous written about how people choose their moods by first choosing an attitude. Put simply this is a matter of ‘act as if’.

If you were to change your breathing to be rapid and shallow, like a person having a panic attack, you will almost certainly start to feel anxious. Please do not try this if you are prone to panic attacks. In fact there is no need to do this at all, as you already know it is true.

mood success

Good behaviours can create good moods

If you, now, change your breathing to be both slower and deeper, like a person doing yoga, you will almost certainly start to feel calmer. If you are not familiar with this technique for lessening anxiety, now is the time to meet with an expert who can teach you more about breathing, as it can be the simplest and least expensive way to take more control of your mood.

This is what ‘act as if’ is about. If you act like an anxious person, you will become slightly more anxious. If you act like a depressed person you will become slightly more depressed.

If you act like a calm person you will become a little calmer.

It works!

When it comes to mood we all already do some acting.

  • Can you think where sometimes acting can get us into trouble?

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