Can you really “choose” your mood?

Have you ever been in a bad mood that you just can’t shake?  Have you had a pile of homework but realize you’re not in the mood to get it done?  Sometimes we feel at the mercy of our moods, but moods aren’t things that just happen to us.  We can influence and change them!


Being about to choose the mood that’s best suited to a situation is one of the skills of emotional intelligence.  Choosing the right mood can help you control whatever situation you’re in.  You’re not born with this skill, it’s learn through a lot of practice.  You’ve probably chosen your mood before without even realizing it. Many times people choose a mood naturally without thinking about it. But, practicing ways to choose your mood intentionally can help you get good at it. Ever see someone one who is happy everytime you see them? That’s not faking it, it’s choosing to be happy!  They probably aren’t happy all of the time, but maybe the situation they’re in requires it so they can do the best job or have a better day.


Mood +Mindset = Success

Moods can influence how well we do in certain situations, but so can something else:  our mindset.  What’s the difference between a mood and a mindset?  Moods are the emotions we feel.  A mindset are the thoughts and ideas that go along with that mood.

Mood and mindset go hand-in-hand because our thought can influence our mood.  Here’s an example:  Imagine you’re competing in a competition this afternoon.  Which mood and mindset helps you do your best?

  1. Mood A:  Insecure.  You keep thinking about how the competition might blow you out of the water and maybe you’re not good enough to win.
  2. Mood B:  Annoyed.  You’re thinking about how the whole thing is stopping you from doing something fun with your friends tonight.
  3. Mood C:  Pumped and Confident.  You’re thinking if you do your best, there’s a good chance you’ll place in the top 3!


Of Course, you’re likely to do better with the mood and mindset of option C.  What if you’re feeling A or B?  Luckily, you can change your mood!


Steps to help:

  1. Identify your mood.  To switch moods, you need to check in with what you’re currently thinking and feeling.  That way you can decide if you need to change your mood to one that’s more suited to your situation.  Stop and think about what you’re feeling and WHY.
  2. Accept what you feel.  After you name your emotions, show yourself some understanding for feeling the way you do.  It’s perfectly OK (and natural) to feel bored on a rainy Saturday or annoyed about having to babysit if your friends are doing something fun.  All emotions are acceptable and understandable.  BUT, you don’t have to hold on to feeling that way.  Choose to move past it.
  3. Identify the mood that’s best for the situation you’re in.  If you’re competing at a swim meet, it’s best to be pumped and confident.  If you have to watch your siblings, it’s better to be focused and fun.  Take a minute to think about which emotion gets you a better day.


How to get into the best mood:

After you imagine the mood that’s best for your situation, it’s time to get to it.  Think positive and focus on these 6 things that can help.

  1. Purpose.  Get clear on what you want and need to do.  Example:  Get your homework done right away so you can go to the movie later.
  2. Place.  Put yourself in the right situation – environment influences mood.  If you need to study, it’s better to find a table or desk in a quiet room than to go to the coffee shop with friends who distract you.
  3. People.  Who can help you feel the way you need to?  Chose a focused classmate to study with rather than a chatty friend.
  4. Playlist.  Music is one of the most powerful influences on mood because it’s all about communication and inspiring emotion.  Check that your playlist is all anger and depression.
  5. Physical.  Move your body into the right mood.  For calmness, try yoga or soft music.  For sleep, try deep breathing, stretching, or light reading.  Need energy, try music with a great beat that you can sing to.
  6. Promotion.  Encourage yourself with self-talk.  Self-talk is a way of suing thoughts to influence your mood.  You always hear about negative self talking bringing people down and feeling bad about themselves.  Stay positive, talk your self through what you have to do.  Self-talk doesn’t just create the mindset that supports your mood, it also helps you keep a mood going.


What mood do you want to be in?


How to get out of an unhelpful mood:

To get out of a bad mood, try these:

  • Undo.  Do something to break the train of thought that keeps your mood going.  Distract yourself.  Distractions are like rebooting your mind – they create a space between moods.
  • Unstick.  Change your location.  Get up, stretch, walk, exercise.  Moving your body changes your mindset and mood.
  • Unwind.  Sit quietly, breathe gently, focus.  Keep your mind from wandering back to a mood you’re trying to change.  Focus on feeling calm.