When you’re in a high mood, or a great mood, the world seems to be a better place in general. Even though you may get a tear in your sleeve, spill your coffee, or have to deal with a noisy neighbor, when you’re happy these minor daily problems don’t really bother you. Conversely, when you’re feeling dejected or disappointed after some type of loss or breakup, each of life’s minor annoyances only adds to your pain. You find it difficult to look beyond what’s right in front of you and may even find yourself staring at the computer screen, watching the cursor blink, blink, blink….

New research is beginning to show how happiness isn’t just an emotional experience, but an emotion that can actually shape the way you perceive the world.

Your mood can impact your relationship
Your mood, whether low or high, can impact your relationships because it can enhance or distort your feelings towards your partner, your family members, or other people in your life. This is because when you’re in a high mood you tend to feel happier. Thus, your feelings toward your partner or others tends to be more positive. Any differences feel more manageable, or insignificant, or irrelevant.  When in a low mood, however, these same differences can seem insurmountable, painful, and even deal breakers.

When your partner or other people you encounter are in a low mood, you might think you have to understand what’s wrong with them and even try fix it! In reality all you need to do is simply offer support. Moods are constantly swinging back and forth as on a continuum. They are dynamic. Moods can change quickly, or slowly, over time. That’s just how moods work. Unless severely depressed moods are seldom persistent.

Your mood impacts your thoughts and feelings

When we’re in a low mood we tend to have negative, pessimistic, and even fearful thoughts that can lower our self-confidence and increase feelings of in inadequacy. Conversely, when we are in a high mood we tend to have positive, confident, and even joyful thoughts.  Low mood feelings can range from dread to relief.  I.e. “I’m tired and I have to fix dinner tonight,” to “Great! He’s coming home early. I can fix us a nice dinner and then we can relax together.” High mood feelings can range from contentment to euphoria.  I. e. “It’ll be nice to relax with my husband tonight,” to “Yay! It’s Date Night!”

With all these thoughts and feelings fluctuating with your mood, your psychological functioning can also be impacted. When in a low mood your mental activity amps up as you start to ruminate about problems and your dissatisfaction with yourself, your partner, your job, or anything that’s irritating you. Sometimes there is a heightened but distorted sense of immediacy, as if whatever is bugging you has to be taken care of right now. It can’t wait!

It’s not the mood, but how you respond to it, that determines the quality of your life! 

When low, you might feel distressed succumbing to the fear that the mood is real and will last forever. When high you might spend your time worrying when “the other shoe will drop!” Or you might choose a more enlightened response and be grateful when mood is high while attempting to be graceful when it is low!

When low, you might feel distressed succumbing to the fear that the mood is real and will last forever. When high you might spend your time worrying when “the other shoe will drop!” Or you might choose a more enlightened response and be grateful when mood is high while attempting to be graceful when it is low!

Mood Awareness
Paying attention to your mood will help you navigate through your mood shifts. To do this, start noticing how your perspective changes with each shift in your mood. Here are some examples:

  • Gloom and doom – Why is everyone always judging me?
  • All is not right with the world – There are many villains out there.
  • I’m ok. Life’s okay – I feel content.
  • Gratitude – People are well meaning. They are trying to do the best they can.
  • Inspiration – I‘m so lucky to have all these people in my life!

Though none of us like being in a low mood, there are some benefits. Low moods tell us to slow down so we can be more reflective and recover our bearings.  They teach us humility because they help us realize that we don’t know as much as we thought we did. Then, when the low mood ends, we realize how we’ve blown our thoughts and fears way out of proportion. It helps us maintain a better perspective during those times when we are in a funk.

When in a low mood – chill out!

When you notice you are in a low mood, acknowledge it. Then chill out! Your mood colors your perception of reality and can make things go bad, chaotic, or messy very quickly. If you feel grumpy and irritable, try to keep to yourself until your mood shifts, for it will shift. During a low mood don’t become involved in any deep discussions, make any criticisms or judgments, or attempt to make any big decisions, especially with your partner. A low mood will contaminate your thinking and will increase your chances in getting into unproductive and damaging arguments.

How can you tell when you’re in a low mood?

Pay attention to how you’re feeling and to the quality of your thoughts.  When you have painful feelings and your thoughts are full of shame, guilt, regrets, insecurities, and negativity, then you can be certain that you are in a low mood. Your thinking is contaminated.  When you have feelings of well-being and your thoughts are confident and positive, then you’re in a high mood and your thinking is more trustworthy.

What if my partner is in a low mood?

When your partner is in a low mood, don’t criticize or judge them! Or try to fix them! Just let them work through their mood on their own. It will eventually shift. Don’t take what they say or do too personally as their perception is temporarily distorted by their mood.

If they are verbally abusive or disrespectful, wait until their mood has shifted to address it.  Resist temptation to fight with your partner when they are in a low mood. However, when they return to a more balanced mood do let them know how their treatment made you feel and ask that they be more respectful in the future.

Remember, moods can shift from moment to moment. Be patient, considerate, allow your partner to take care of themselves, stay focused on taking care of yourself, and allow the low mood to shift of its own accord.  This will help you maintain a healthier relationship.

If you are having challenges in your relationship and would like some guidance on how to be a healthier partner with better communication skills, then contact Joy for a complimentary 30-minute consultation. Call Joy at 415-819-8769 or email Joy today!

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