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August 26, 2007

Controlling your Mind – Focus on ‘Mood’

Step 2: Focus on the mood you are experiencing and... actually do something to combat the mood:

•    Express your emotions through a creative outlet such as painting or singing. Creative activities can be extremely cathartic

•    Get some exercise—many studies have proven the benefit of exercise in alleviating depression or anxiety

•    Give yourself a little gift to lift your spirits

•    Keep yourself busy with things that are interesting or enjoyable to you— the more you busy yourself, the less time you will have to dwell on your negative thoughts

•    Offer your help to someone else—not only will this keep you busy, but it will also give you a feeling of accomplishment and self-worth

•    Spend some time with friends and family. Avoid isolating yourself, as loneliness may only feed your negative mood

•    Use relaxation techniques—from simple deep breathing to meditation

    change the negative thought patterns that are produced by your mood or are contributing to your mood:

•    Allow yourself to imagine positive, seemingly unrealistic outcomes—this may trigger a fresh perspective or a new solution

•    Assess your feelings in an intellectual and rational manner—try to separate the actual facts from the emotion

•    Try to determine whether you are employing all-or-nothing or catastrophic thinking. If so, reframe your thinking in a more positive and realistic light

•    Gather strength and learning from your negative experience and then allow yourself to move on

•    Sometimes, denial is healthy and useful. Every now and again, force yourself to stop thinking about the situation actively try to forget or deny your negative emotions

Our list of strategies above demonstrates that, for the most part, behaviors, thoughts, and mood are highly interconnected. By adjusting one, you can affect the others. Accordingly, if you can find the power to assert control over one element in the equation, it can have a profound affect on improving your overall mood!

Controlling your Mind – Focus on ‘Event’

Step 1: Focus on the event that is triggering your mood and...

  • change your behavior:
    • Simply stop doing anything that may be contributing to the problem
    • Make a list of things you could do to fix the problem
    • Make a plan to do things differently next time the problem arises
    • Remove yourself from harmful relationships or situations which are contributing to the negative mood
    • Seek advice from friends, family members, or other people that you trust—sometimes, another perspective is all you need to lift your mood
  • change the way you think about the event:
    • Have faith that things will turn out for the best. Hope, in and of itself, can be restorative
    • Make a list of the positive aspects of the situation—sometimes an important life lesson can come out of a seemingly bad event
    • Make a list of the things that are going well in your life and try to focus on those elements

Set aside a limited time to think about the negative aspects of the triggering event, then forbid yourself from thinking about it at other times of the day. For example, allow yourself 15 minutes each day to worry about the situation, and then stop