What to do when a mood overtakes you?
While considering what to write today, I was feeling in a bit of a gloomy mood. Not that anything was particularly going wrong in my life. Quite the opposite, all aspects of my life are great. So where did this mood come from and what do I do about it?
What is a mood anyway? It is a feeling that pervades all other experiences I am having. It runs the gamut from the high of ecstasy to a low of despair and all the variations in between. Moods are always triggered by some response that I am having to the world. They seem to arise without warning and can stay until they leave without any apparent reason. The triggering mechanism could be the inside world of my thoughts. I know that my thoughts seem to originate from places I don’t know and come with randomness and apparent lack of control by me. Moods can be sparked by a physical sensation or an encounter with something or someone else.
In most business settings the moods of people with great influence in the organization can affect everyone around them. It is not uncommon for people to call the assistant of an executive and ask, “what kind of mood is she in today?” The response to this question will determine if and how the person will approach the executive.
Having been an executive who was unaware of the impact of my moods on the organizations for which I was responsible, I can look back with amazement at the havoc I caused. If something was not going my way, I could become petulant. I can remember how people treated me during these times. It would either create a situation in which people did not tell me things (so they wouldn’t get a negative reaction because of the mood I was in), or they simply avoided me. In either case, I missed opportunities to connect with those I cared about and to whom I had responsibilities.
As I was sitting with my gloomy mood, I remembered that moods are something that I can keep for blossoming and change when I choose. I have a few “tricks” that help me now. The first is to realize that I am feeling a particular mood, like my gloomy mood this morning. I know that I am in a particular mood but the mood does not match up with my life at this time. Next, I have a few ways that help me shift out of the mood that I have slipped into. One is that I listen to music that distracts my mind so I can remember that I am the one who can change my mood. I can also sit in a quiet place and remember something that I care deeply about such as my wife or children. Now, I choose how I want to feel. LIke right now – I choose to feel creative, and so I am writing about this experience to you.
The ability to be aware of our moods is a key factor in being effective as a leader of a large corporation or a leader at home. I invite you to ask yourself right now, “What mood am I in?” and then “is it a mood that I choose to continue”. From there you will know what to do.