How Best to Manage Your Moods – Free Ebook

Far more than we are inclined to accept and
sometimes even realise, we are creatures of

mood: that is, our sense of our value as human
beings is prone to extraordinary fluctuation.

At times, we know how to tolerate ourselves,
the future seems benevolent, we can bear who

we are in the eyes of others and we can forgive
ourselves for the desperate errors of the

past.

And then, at other points, the mood dips and
we lament most of what we’ve ever done,

we see ourselves as natural targets for contempt,
we feel undeserving, guilty, weak and headed

for retribution and disaster.
But it can be very hard to grasp what causes

our moods to shift. A day that started with
energy and hope can, by lunchtime, end up

mired in self-hatred and tearfulness. A sure
sense that we’ve finally turned the corner

and are on the way to better things can be
replaced at speed by an alternative certainty

that we are a cosmic error.
We cannot, it appears, ever prevent our moods

from being subject to change, but what is
open to us all is to learn how to manage the

change more effectively – so that our downturns
can be ever so slightly more gentle, our sadness

more containable and our inconstancy less
shameful in our own eyes.

Here is some of what we might learn to bear
in mind around our capricious moods:

Realise our Vulnerability
We should acknowledge how vulnerable our moods

are to being perturbed by so-called ‘small
things’. We belong to a species of extreme

but also fateful sensitivity; we shouldn’t
expect to be able to appreciate a Mozart aria

or a Rembrandt self-portrait on the one hand
and then, on the other, stay unbothered by

the downturned corners of the mouth of a lover
or the slightly distant gaze of a would-be

client. We shouldn’t berate ourselves for
how thin our skin is; we should adjust ourselves

to the full consequences of our extraordinary
openness to experience.

Edit Social Life
Unless we take vigorous measures to edit our

social lives, we can too easily find ourselves
in the company of people who, though they

may call themselves our friends, are – in
terms of what they do to our moods – no

such thing. Beneath a veneer of kindness,
these people are the bearers of latent hostility,

deadly competitiveness, self-absorbed hysteria
or priggish moralism. To start to be a friend

to ourselves means learning to take a scalpel
to our address list in order to edit out such

dispiriting impostors.
Vulnerable Friendships

The one great solace for a low mood is the
right sort of company: people who know how

to reassure us that we still belong, that
sadness is to be expected and that our errors

never put us beyond compassion. These consoling
souls will have suffered, they will have hated

themselves and they will have learnt how to
laugh at the absurdity of being human. Most

importantly, when we show them our low mood,
they will know how gracefully to take that

most essential next step of friendship: accept
our flaws and display one or two of their

own.
Honour the Body

Maddeningly, some of why our moods shift is
that we inhabit a body. But because it’s

so humiliating to have to accept that our
ideas about ourselves and our lives might

be dependent on bodily factors – how long
we slept, how much water we’ve drunk, what

viruses we are fighting in the background
– the temptation can be to insist that our

ideas must solely be the offspring of reason.
It would be wiser to interpret that most of

what passes through our minds is in some way
dependent on particular things going on in

our bodies. At points, it isn’t that it’s
all over and that we’re the worst person

on earth, it’s just that we may need to
lie down for an hour or urgently have a glass

of orange juice.
Disrespect a mood

Moods are proud, imperious things. They show
up and insist that they are telling us total

certainties about our identities and our prospects
– perhaps that our love lives will never

work out or that a professional situation
is beyond repair. But we always have an option

of calling their bluff, of realising that
they are only a passing state of mind arrogantly

pretending to be the whole of us – and that
we could, with courage, politely ignore them

and change the subject. We might recognize
but not give way to the mood and put a bit

of distance between it and our conscious selves.
We might at times even do precisely what a

mood commands us not to do: see someone rather
than cede to shame, show our face rather than

give way to paranoia, go out for a walk rather
than fold our limbs into the foetal position.

While we are being rocked by a dark mood,
we should strive to keep a little light on,

the light of sanity and self-kindness that
can tell us, even though the hurricane is

insisting otherwise, that we are not appalling,
that we have done nothing unforgiveable and

that we have a right to be. We can strive
to keep ourselves plugged into a small pilot

light of kindness until a larger sun is ready
to rise once more. Not only do difficult moods insist that they

are correct, they also seek to convince us
that they are permanent. But our sense of

self is naturally viscous; we are condemned
to rise and fall, flow and ebb. We are, as

a reality and as a metaphor, largely made
of water. We shouldn’t allow a misplaced

ideal of permanence to add to our sorrows.
Though we may be unable to shift a mood, we

can at least realise that it is only ever
such a thing and that, in the inestimable

words of the prophets, with the help of a
few hours or days, it too shall pass.

Our Emotional Barometer is a tool that can help us to more clearly explain our moods. Click the link now to find out more.

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