On what to do with moods

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Moods are processes– not events.  They have a coming and a going.  They have a beginning and ending.  Depending on where you are with the mood there are basically 3 things you can do:

  1. Prevention-  Things are either less likely or more likely to happen.  Moods, although they may feel like it, don’t,  for the most part, just come out of the blue.  Moods are the emotional momentum of your life, and frequently people who know you can sense a change in your momentum long before you can feel it.  Prevention is the set of skills that have to do with how you maintain positive momentum and redirect negative momentum.  It includes things like: self maintanence (what you do to take care of yourself), knowing high risk situations and warning signs (being able to “see it coming”), and cues (knowing exactly what you do that tells you exactly how you are doing– for ex. on the manic scale an 8 means what?).  Finally it means those plans that you are going to follow once you “see it coming.”  Prevention means becoming an expert on yourself with some degree of efficiency and expertise.
  2. Coping- Coping is what you do when you know “its here.”  It means limiting the damage and beginning the process of positive momentum.  A lot of coping is tied up with how you process your experience and the plans you have for support when you can no longer trust the way you process your experience.  It means knowing that because something “feels so” doesnt make it so.  It means having a sounding board- whether it is a script or series of statements you do  or another person you can trust– that helps to clarify reality when it doesnt seem so clear.  It is trying so hard not to leap and find yourself dealing with consequences of your mood that you really don’t want to see happen.
  3. Learning- Learning has to do with how you view the “finished product” and what you learn that you can use next time.  It means seeing mistakes and also seeing successes.  It means viewing your experience not just as a source of deprivation, but as a possible opportunity to learn more about life.

Obviously this is a simple look at a complex thing.  Many things are beyond control and your particular brain chemistry figures into your emotional momentum in life.  Even so we have a lot of ability to affect.  The brain is responsive to our experience.  And even when you feel totally out of control you still have the ability to make things more or less likely to get better.

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10 Responses to “On what to do with moods”

  1. largeendeavors Says:

    Pretty Cool!

  2. Mary Ann Pinkerton Says:

    Very well done.

  3. Katherine Stone Says:

    This is a lovely post I found by way of Therese Borchard. I plan to share it with my readers at Postpartum Progress who will, I am sure, benefit from these words as they struggle with postpartum depression and anxiety.

  4. Angie Fitzpatrick Says:

    May I have permission to print and distribute your words to the mothers in our ppd/a mom to mom support groups (in Portland OR and Vancouver WA)?

    • hopeworkscommunity Says:

      Angie

      That would be great. Thanks for the kind words. Tell others about hopeworks community

  5. 3 Ways We Can Control Our Moods | World of Psychology Says:

    [...] Drain of the Hopeworks Community blog wrote an excellent post the other month on three things we can do about our moods: prevention, coping, learning. He writes “Moods are processes — not event. They have a coming and a going.” Like [...]

  6. robin Says:

    I have a friend his name is Richard and he has been so depressed and it is effecting his marriage now and his moods are getting so bad it is effecting our friendship and other people don’t want to be around him because of it.

    What do I do or what can he do to help these moods he is having?
    The other day he was even talking like he did not care if he died and I am just real worried about him.

    I do not think he will do anything but it is scaring me, so what can he do to help his moods?

    I told him he needed to go talk to someone but he said he can’t afford to go and they cost too much money so what does he do?

    He lives in Virginia.

    Thanks for any help you can give us.

    Thanks Again
    Robin Phelps

    • Paula Says:

      Two excellent self-help groups for your friend are
      Recovery, Inc., and Emotions Anonymous. They are
      essentially free (a $1 contribution is fine). Both groups
      are on the internet and in the phone book. Both groups
      have several weekly meetings in greater Washington, DC,
      and around the country.

      I suggest that you consider going with your friend to at least
      his first meeting. He sounds as though he might be too low
      to develop the energy to go alone. Trust me, you can look
      at it as a worthwhile educational experience for yourself,
      with nice people who want to share good helping ideas.

      All the best to you and your friend.

  7. Selma J Says:

    This is so informative I will past this on to friends……the website is now in my favorites. Keep writing!

  8. Hubert S. Williams Says:

    I am glad I open this site because as a man I some time have moods. They ten to put in a differerce place and didn’t even move. By reading these reply on your site it tell me I have to take time and learn them so I can deal with them at that time.
    Thanks

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