We Choose Our Moods

“I’m just in a bad mood.”

Sometimes you know why. Things didn’t go well at work. Something didn’t turn out the way you’d hoped. Someone said something that didn’t sit well. The boss is in a bad mood. You name it.

Sometimes you don’t know why. You can’t put your finger on it. You just know it’s there.

Either way, the bad mood creeps into your being, seeps into your thoughts, causes you to tense up, be on guard, see the world through a dim and shadowy lens.

We like to think we haven’t chosen this bad mood. We like to think it just happened. We like to point to external circumstances. We can justify the mood: “If you only knew what’s going on in my life, you’d be in a bad mood, too!”

Circumstances are realities. Moods are choices. Yes, we might slip into a bad mood inadvertently. But we don’t have to stay there.

Moods determine our perception of how much control we have.

Recognize that the mood is likely because something in your circumstances is not what you want. You aren’t happy with the “reality” of what’s going on in your world. You have evaluated the circumstances as wrong, bad, scary, unfair, etc.

A negative evaluation invites negative emotions—emotions that will deplete your ability to think strategically, creatively, innovatively, collaboratively. You are now at a disadvantage. The circumstances are now on top of you instead of you being on top of them. Like being on a teeter-totter with a 1,000-pound gorilla, you’re stuck up in the air, powerless to do anything because of the imbalance of weight.

The paradox is that if you choose a different (good) mood, you have greater power, greater weight, greater grounding. And from that good mood, you activate a different part of your brain, your body relaxes, and you engage with the circumstances (and life) with greater ease.

What mood will you choose?

What are your strategies for leaning toward a good mood?

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