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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.