3 Steps To Change Your Mood

We all experience bad moods from time to time, enduring prolonged periods marred by feelings such as sadness or anger. Sometimes, these moods are a direct result of an unpleasant event, interaction, or experience. Other times, the cause is elusive, making it nearly impossible to pinpoint the source of these feelings. Often, these moods are triggered by a subconscious memory or physical sensation, leading us to ruminate over painful memories, thereby establishing a pattern for intrusive thoughts to follow.

Emotions are not just mental experiences; they have a physical component as well. We literally feel our anger, sadness, happiness, and joy within our bodies. The realm of emotions is a complex one, straddling both the physical and mental aspects of our being. Unfortunately, many of us remain entrenched in our minds, disconnected from our physical experiences. This results in our emotions being only partially lived and leaves us oblivious to the origins of many of our feelings.

It’s crucial to understand that the cycle of negative emotions doesn’t start with intrusive thoughts. Instead, it begins with unpleasant feelings, both emotional and physical. When distressing emotions arise, our mind responds with corresponding negative messages, such as “I’m a failure” or “I’m unlovable.” These messages are then supported by a narrative, often consisting of memories of past failures or rejections. This combination of thoughts and memories creates a vortex, trapping us in a whirlpool of negativity that only serves to reinforce our distressing feelings.

You can’t think your way out of a prison made of thought.

Krishna Das

Finding ourselves in these moods can be overwhelming, making it difficult to break free. We may find ourselves losing sleep, trapped in the relentless cycle of a mood, its accompanying message, and a self-reinforcing narrative. It’s been said that “you can’t think your way out of a prison made of thought,” but it is possible to feel your way out.

  1. Feel your body – Connecting with our bodies provides a pathway out of the stories that fuel our worst thoughts. Our emotions are felt—that’s why we refer to them as feelings! By focusing on our breath and bringing our awareness to our body and its sensations allows us to find the epicenter of stress or anxiety. Undertaking a mental inventory of the body, checking each part, from the toes to the top of the head, leads us to the points of tension, discomfort, and disruption in the body.
  2. Stay in the body – remain in the physical sensations. Our mind will try to take us back into to the tumultuous sea of emotions and painful narratives, so we must focus on the body and those parts that are feeling the most disturbed. By concentrating on the physical sensations and identifying the areas most affected, we empower ourselves to choose our next steps. Naming and labeling our feelings, even if it’s as simple as recognizing a knot in our stomach or tension in our hands, grants us a sense of control.
  3. Relax the body- by consciously directing our attention to our bodies, we often find that relaxation naturally follows. We can enhance this process by slowing our breathing and visualizing our breath flowing to the areas that are tense or uneasy. This practice not only alleviates the physical symptoms of stress but also disrupts the cycle of negative thoughts, providing a much-needed respite and an opportunity for recalibration.

We can break the cycle of negativity by recognizing our feelings, staying present in our bodies, and actively choosing to relax and release the tension that binds us. This practice doesn’t just alleviate the immediate discomfort; it also paves the way for a more mindful and resilient future.

It’s important to note that while these techniques can be profoundly effective, they are not a substitute for professional help if it’s needed. Emotions are powerful, and sometimes they signal that we need to seek support from friends, family, or a mental health professional.

So the next time you find yourself caught in a whirlwind of negative emotions, remember the power of connecting to your body. Feel your feelings, stay in the body, and relax into the sensations. By doing so, you reclaim your power over your mood, allowing yourself to live a more balanced, aware, and peaceful life.

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