Monday, December 19, 2016

Choose Your Mood

How often have we sought to excuse our behaviour with the explanation of "Sorry, but I'm in a bit of a mood today', as though we had no option?

Being 'in' a mood implies that the mood itself has control over our behaviours and actions. Think about how often people will allow a 'mood' to determine the course of their day, colouring the nature of all their interactions. Telling ourselves that we're happy, sad, tired, depressed, angry, frustrated... becomes the glasses through which we view the remainder of our day. We allow our 'mood' to have free reign over our feelings and behaviours.

However, we create our reality with our thoughts. Unfortunately, roughly 80% of most people's thoughts are negative. Given that we typically have between 35,000 and 90,000 thoughts a day we can be priming our beliefs with a lot of negative messaging.

We know that we are mentally wired into what science refers to as a Negativity Bias. This bias served us well when we were primitives seeking only to survive, when every rustle in the bushes was likely to be something trying to eat us. We needed the negativity bias to keep us on the defensive. However, it does not serve us nearly as well today.

Our negative thoughts take only 90 seconds to travel through our brains and trigger a physiological response. Cortisol, the stress hormone, and Adrenaline, the fight or flight hormone, get released into our systems causing us now to physically experience a reaction to the negative thought resulting is us now 'feeling' as bad as we thought we would. What's important to note though is that it was our thoughts that drove the response; we did indeed create our reality with our thoughts.

If so, then could we not learn to think differently? Respond differently? Choose different?

Life is nothing if not all about choices. We choose what to eat, what to wear, what to drive, where to live. But we also choose how to react to situations. We choose how we let others affect us. We choose to be in a good or a bad mood. We can choose to be controlled by our moods or to instead control our moods. Rather than being controlled by our moods we need to recast them into something we need, something we can use, something that serves us.

Start each day by setting a firm intention for how you will approach that day, allowing it to seep into your unconscious mind. Drive the attitude and mood you want to experience. Your brain will react to the thoughts you implant the same as they would an unconscious one. Use your conscious mind to override your negative biases and programming by driving what you want to experience each day.

Given a choice I would always want to choose happy over sad, energetic over tired, strong over weak, empowered over ineffectual. Your choices are your own, of course, but if choosing differently than this you might want to question why.

The level of success you enjoy will ultimately be determined by the choices you make.

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