How to Boost your Mood II
“The only difference between a good day and a bad day is your attitude”
– Dennis S Brown
Following last week’s article about suicidal thoughts we thought we would seek to lift the narrative.
Within many of our articles, we have discussed the cognitive behavioural cycle using various practical examples.
We know that our thoughts, emotions and behaviours are intrinsically linked and that what we ‘tell’ ourselves about what is happening in any given situation is not always synonymous with truth. In fact what we ‘tell’ ourselves is driven by our core beliefs, which are often formed in childhood as a result of our experiences and conditioning.
Thoughts can be written as sentences.
For example: “I am so stupid because I forgot to attend a meeting.” Emotions are body experiences which can be described in one word.
For example: rage, despair, fear, irritation, anger, joy.
Behaviours are actions.
For example: to snap at someone, to cry, to run away, to eat.
Our automatic behaviours are our ‘go to’ responses in any situation. They exist to keep us safe while we are occupied with more cerebral tasks but they result in an unconscious shaping of our environment: How to Shape your Environment
When we introduce conscious choice into that cycle at ant point, we can affect change.
Thoughts – I choose what to think. I challenge the narrative.
Emotions – I accept and acknowledge my emotions. I see them as a signpost for change. I use tools to affect a shift such as meditation, breathing, music and physical activity, once their message is received.
Behaviours – I can observe my automatic behaviours, ‘press pause’ and choose alternative responses.
The consequences of our thoughts, emotions and behaviours are the new situations that we unconsciously manifest for ourselves and they affect our mood.
During the pandemic in October 2020 we shared some ideas about how to boost your mood during challenging times: How to Boost your Mood
Today we would like to share a very simple mood boosting tool that utilises the above concepts.
It is part of the human experience to experience peaks and troughs in mood.
This means that at some point all of us will have experienced feeling low.
Use this tool at a time when you have observed that you experiencing some sadness or apathy.
Begin with the first thing that you see when you look around you.
For example, a cup.
Say “I like this cup”.
Continue with everything that enters your awareness.
“I like this desk”.
“I like this picture”.
“I like that lamp”.
“I like this book”.
“I like that photograph”.
“I like this pen”.
“I like the wind”.
“I like the garden”.
You do not have to feel it – just say it.
As you practise the tool you will find that your narrative begins to engage:
“I like this cup – I was given it as a joke by my partner”.
“I like this desk – It is where I achieve great things and generate the income that sustains me”.
“I like this picture – I chose it to cheer up the living room”.
“I like that lamp – It provides just the right amount of cosy light”.
“I like this book – It takes me on an adventure whether I am on the train or relaxing at home”.
“I like that photograph – It reminds me of a fabulous holiday abroad with friends”.
“I like this pen – It writes beautifully”.
“I like the wind – It is blowing away all my anxiety”.
“I like the garden – I will spend some time weeding and tidying it today so that I can relax there
When we begin our recognition of something with the words “I like…..” we affect the internal narrative that follows. In the first example, rather than seeing the cup as a soulless object for holding a drink, we are reminded of the joke that our partner made in gifting it to us. This is a thought that is bound to lead to mood boosting emotions of humour or comfort which will affect our demeanour and consequently that of those around us.
In the last example, instead of noticing the weeds and mess in our garden, we focus on our love for it and become motivated to tend to it so that it can be enjoyed. The thoughts about how much we appreciate our garden generate pleasant emotions which in turn affect a behaviour, the outcome of which is a mood boosting, tidy garden where we can have a relaxing experience.
The beauty of this tool is that even in times of low mood and poor motivation, little effort is required to practise it. You do not have to ‘feel’ it to do it. You do not need to believe in it. You only have to want to feel better, to begin looking around you for things to ‘like’ and the rest will follow.
To learn more about how to boost your mood see ‘How to Rise – A Complete Resilience Manual’ from Sheldon Press. It takes you on a journey of self-discovery sharing over 60 tools and techniques, including meditations with purpose, visualisation exercises and practical tools to help improve your mental wellbeing and reduce anxiety. 'How to Rise' helps you to take control of your life.