Moods, Emotions and Feelings

by Catherine DeAngelis

Before we can begin to know what emotions or feelings we are experiencing in our daily lives, we need to be aware of our moods so that we may manage and shift them to affect positive outcomes within ourselves, our relationships, at home, work or at play.

Mood can be defined as frame of mind, disposition, bad or good temper and humor, sulk, having the doldrums. In an “atmosphere” mood creates a feeling, vibes, ambience, an aura in the air that may set a tone.

It is often difficult for us to identify our moods.  If you didn’t know this already, we have a variety of moods to choose from which we experience in a day and may change many times during it. A mood cannot be simply described as “bad” or “good” – it helps to be more specific. It may sound simple, but knowing the specific mood we are experiencing will better allow us to work on changing or easing it and as a result allow us to name the emotions and feelings.

Moods are identified as one descriptive word: anxious, mad, happy, hurt, disappointed, loving, proud, guilty, ashamed and afraid. For instance, if we were in a frightened mood – a high level of emotion/feeling may be I feel dreadful, panicky, terrified, horrified, petrified, and desperate. A moderate level of emotion/feeling may be I feel alarmed, jittery, strained, shaky, threatened. A low level of emotion/feeling may be I feel uneasy, tense, timid, anxious, nervous or puzzled.

How to identify Moods

Body – focus on any changes to your body, is there a heaviness throughout it that may show disappointment, depression, while tight shoulders may show fear and tension or vice versa, relaxed shoulders may show we are in a pleasant mood.

Identify emotions/feelings – it’s important that we not judge our mood, as many of us may not want to admit to certain feelings as a result of our mood (e.g. anxious, bored). Moods are just that moods. It is okay to be honest about the mood and name it by the feeling or emotion and simply deal with it truthfully.

Be clear – Avoid using vague terms to describe your mood and be exact in your description, for example a sad mood, say, I feel bummed out, down, disappointed.

Moods are different from thoughts – Try to know the difference between moods and thoughts – this takes practice. Psychology Today explains our mind is cluttered with thousands of thoughts, most of which are repetitive and circular. Thoughts may range from wondering what “other people feel about me” to ruminating on “what life is all about.”

Identify and rate our Moods – On a scale of 0 to 100 we can think about rating the intensity of our moods – the higher the rating – the higher the intensity. We can think about the situation, describe where we were, who we were with and what we were doing? By being specific we can find our mood(s) in one word.

Mood Disorders 

Canadian Mental Health Association reports that Mood disorders affect about 10% of the population. Everyone experiences “highs” and “lows” in life, but people with mood disorders experience them with greater intensity and for longer periods of time than most people.  One common mood disorder is Depression. A person with depression feels “very low.” Symptoms may include: feelings of hopelessness, changes in eating patterns, disturbed sleep, constant tiredness, an inability to have fun, and thoughts of death or suicide.

It helps to know ourselves well if we can identify our moods. As a result we have a better understanding of our emotions and feelings to allow us to enjoy a healthier mental state and create greater relationships all around.

Blog written by Catherine DeAngelis Copyright © 2013 Catangelis Communications – Unauthorized use and duplication of this material without written permission from site owner is prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided full credit is given to owner or to any other copyright materials used by owner is also quoted with appropriate direction to original content.
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Healthy Thoughts

 

Watch your thoughts, they become words
Watch your words, they become actions
Watch your actions, they become habits
Watch your habits, they become your character
Watch your character, it becomes your destiny
                                                       Author Unknown

They are many reviews written about Elizabeth Gilbert’s enlightening book about her worldly travels. Below is an excerpt taken from Gilbert, E (2006), Eat Pray Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia – reprinted from Eat Pray Love, New York, Penguin books, p177-178).

I was drawn to Gilbert’s message when it was brought to our atttention upon participating in a group session on cognitive behavior therapy for depression. Group participants were both men and women and the paradox in this private group setting, were both sexes agreed. Before the passage was read out loud, a few male participants mumbled,  “that’s a chick flick” or  “my girlfriend wants me to see the movie and I said, ‘no way’.” Could it be possible for a moment to reserve the strong hold around such characterization, and open ourselves to receive potentially what could be an understanding regardless if a book or a movie is a ‘guy or a girl thing’. Read and judge for yourself.

Note that the author is nicknamed “Groceries” and the page from the book referenced here is “I will not harbor unhealthy thoughts anymore.”

     “This last concept is a radically new idea for me. Richard from Texas brought it to my attention recently, when I was complaining about my inability to stop brooding. He said, “Groceries, you need to learn how to select your thoughts just the same way you select what clothes you’re gonna wear every day. This is a power you can cultivate. If you want to control things in your life so bad, work on the mind. That’s the only thing you should be trying to control. Drop everything else but that. Because if you can’t learn to master your thinking, you’re in deep trouble forever.”

     On first glance, this seems a nearly impossible task. Control your thoughts? Instead of the other way around? But imagine if you could? This is not about repression or denial. Repression and denial set up elaborate games to pretend that negative thoughts and feelings are not occurring. What Richard is talking about is instead admitting to the existence of negative thoughts, understanding where they came from and why they arrived, and then – with great forgiveness and fortitude – dismissing them. This is a practice that fits hand in glove with any psychological work you do during therapy. You can use the shrink’s office to understand why you have these destructive thoughts in the first place; you can use spiritual exercises to help overcome them. It’s a sacrifice to let them go, of course. It’s a loss of old habits, comforting old grudges and familiar vignettes. Of course this all takes practice and effort. It’s not a teaching that you can hear once and then expect to master immediately. It’s constant vigilance and I want to do it. I need to do it, for my strength. Devo farmi le osssa is how they say it in Italian, “I need to make my bones.”

     So I’ve started being vigilant about watching my thoughts all day, and monitoring them. I repeat this vow about 700 times a day: “I will not harbor unhealthy thoughts anymore.” Every time a diminishing thought arises, I repeat the vow. I will not habor unhealthy thoughts anymore.”

 
© Copyright 2011 Catangelis Communications – Unauthorized use and duplication of this material without written permission from site owner is prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided full credit is given to owner or to any other copyright materials used by owner is also quoted with appropriate direction to original content.