I recently heard a quote that many of us would agree with, yet it seems to be a struggle to personify in our lives.
“Don’t believe everything you think”
If the stories we tell ourselves shape our reality, then it means we accept a lot of what we are thinking as true.
Its not hard to see how believing the stories that our minds tell us, especially when false, can have a negative impact on our relationships, our work, our goals, etc.
If our incorrect thoughts possess this much power than certainly our moods fall in the same realm.
Our moods are derived from what we are thinking which then drives our behaviors.
There is a concept called “the mood elevator” which is shown in the below picture and reflects what is called higher mood states and lower mood states.
When we are in the red zone, we think and say and do things we would not do when in the blue zone.
I am sure my family members would agree wholeheartedly with this self-reflection! It is not hard to imagine that the words we chose to speak to colleagues or family will differ if we are in an anxious state versus a grateful state.
Most of us ride this elevator with changes not just daily but hourly. Sometimes it seems our moods are handed to us (good news and opportunities) and sometimes it feels like a choice.
Knowing the impact my mood can have on those around me, I have recently implemented some new guidelines for myself as follows:
· When I am in the RED zone, I need to call it out and state it. Even just noticing a mood helps so I can maybe do something to change it (see 4th bullet).
· Once I have noted that I am in the RED zone, it is time to contemplate and remember the quote “Don’t believe everything you think”. If I am stressed or frustrated, it most likely is not a good time to make a major decision. It is time to act as if I am driving on an icy road, which means being cautious and not overreacting.
· Perspective and gratitude. My wife is good at bringing context to my life when I am in the RED zone. Find someone who can help you maintain perspective.
· There are things I can do to improve my mood and move up the elevator. Exercise, walking in nature, meditation etc.
Maybe we should think of our moods as a skill rather than a state we find ourselves in.
If it is a choice, then managing the elevator can be something we can get better at.
The better we manage the elevator, the more likely we are to be in a grateful state which means we are more likely to trust and believe our thoughts.
Have a great weekend,
One reason to be aware of where you are on the Mood Elevator is that moods are contagious. Larry Senn
When day comes we step out of the shade,
aflame and unafraid
The new dawn blooms as we free it
For there is always light,
if only we’re brave enough to see it
If only we’re brave enough to be it (Amanda Gorman, excerpt from Inauguration Poem)