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08.28.17

The Mood Elevator

Mood Elevator

W
E ALL have mood swings.

But once we accept the fact that moods aren’t something that happen to us, but are the result of our thinking, we can do something to control them—or at least manage them better.

Senn Delaney, Chairman and founder of Senn Delaney, wrote The Mood Elevator to help us take charge of our emotions and control our rides on the Mood Elevator.

Step one is understanding that the way we respond to outside events depends on what is happening inside our heads. “There may be events that stimulate our thoughts, but it is the thoughts that determine our moods.” Reality is reality; it’s what we make of it that makes a difference in our lives.
You will never let go of your moods completely, but knowing that hour thoughts are the source of those moods can provide a little added distance and help you remain in control. It’s a powerful first step to learning to ride up the Mood Elevator rather than feeling like a helpless victim of emotional forces you can’t control.

Why Does It Matter?

When we are down the Mood Elevator our thinking is closed. When we travel up the Mood Elevator our thinking improves and opens up. We can reconnect with our best self.
We all come into this world with the potential for mental and emotional health. Our natural state is to be loving, creative, trusting, forgiving, curious, happy, and desirous of warm, close relationships with others. Unfortunately, as we grow up most of us develop thought habits or beliefs that can mask or obscure our innate health. At some point we are hurt by someone, and we may become guarded and defensive. We are criticized for a mistake, and we may earn to make excuses and blame others, seeking to become less accountable so we don’t look bad.

Mood ElevatorWhen we are up the Mood Elevator it is easier to maintain our sense of perspective and keep our cool in times of difficulty, stress, or conflict. Traveling up the Mood Elevator we are more ready to access the sources of original ideas.

Unfortunately, we can become stuck so long on the lower floors of the Mood Elevator that we can begin to think that it’s normal. Recognize when you are staying on the lower-floor emotions. Although it doesn’t make us happy, we can actually grow comfortable with self-destructive patterns of thought, negative thinking and victimization. So we feed these thinking patterns and reinforce them with stories told to validate our perspective on life. Other people are often motivated by the same things we are. It’s just that their perspective is different than ours. It’s best for us if we let it go.

How to Move Up the Mood Elevator

The dividing line is curiosity because when something happens that threatens to pull you down to the lower floors, you can stop yourself and ask, “I wonder why they did that? It would be interesting to find out.” We tend to rush to the judgmental/blaming floor but with a curious perspective you can begin to move up to the higher floors.

Learn to interrupt your own mood patterns and typical responses. A good night’s sleep, exercise, deep breathing, positive self-talk, and even listen to your favorite music can all help in this regard.

Adapt an attitude of mild preference. Senn explains:
Living in mild preference doesn’t mean adopting a Pollyanna attitude. It does mean looking for positive steps you can take to solve problems when they arise—and refusing to wallow in the emotions of frustration and anger that problems can so easily generate. Living in mild preference does not mean having no standards or principles. It does mean being selective about how and when to apply your standards and principles—choosing your battels carefully, as the saying goes.

Naturally a sense of humor and humility help here. But at the top of the Mood Elevator you will find gratefulness. Senn calls it the overriding emotion. “It’s almost impossible to be grateful and at the same time be angry, depressed, irritated, or self-righteous.” Gratitude is a good way to maintain a healthy perspective on what’s happening in your life. “Focus on activities that will nourish your sense of gratitude and your appreciation for the blessings you’ve already been granted.”.

A few other important thoughts to help us manage our moods:
Recognize and honor separate realties we all live in. Be quick to understand other’s perspectives and slow to blame or criticize.

Remember that your thinking is unreliable in the lower mood states, so delay important conversations and decisions; don’t act on your unreliable thinking, and don’t take your lower mood state out on other people.

Have faith when you are down on the Mood Elevator, that this too shall pass.

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 07:30 PM
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