What Mood Do You Live In?
by Jennifer Louden
This is a question on my client intake form that I use with new coaching clients. It often gives my coachees pause. What mood do I live in?? I don't know! Why does it matter?
Moods shape and limit our possibilities much more than we realize. For example, let us imagine I own a business selling rare bubbles. But I can't figure out everything about selling rare bubbles. The business isn't working. I need help but I've tried to get help and it hasn't worked. I say thing like, "I could never find someone to help me who really knows what I need" or "I can't afford help" or "The only way I'll ever make money is to do this all myself." My words reveal I'm living in a mood of resignation. I know that help exists AND I have a lot of stories or assessments about why that help is not available to me. I'm resigned to being stuck.
Now imagine I am saying things like, "How can I find someone who knows how to import Tibetan violet shimmer bubbles? Who would know that?" or, "I have no idea how to make this Quick Books program work. Who could help me? What do I have, besides money, I could give them for their help?" or, "I feel frustrated. What is missing for me?" These statements reveal a mood of
ambition (not ambition as in I'll get whatever I want no matter what - instead think pluck, boldness, energy). My mood of ambition opens up certain possibilities that my mood of resignation did not.
Here is a potent notion: Your mood is not you.
Another liberating idea: Your mood is not fixed.
And: Moods live in you, not the world. When our mood changes, so does the world.
Guess what? You can negotiate your moods, intercede and change them!
Become a student of moods. A mood-minder. This can be tricky because by definition a mood lives in the background of your life, like Muzak wafting over a store speaker. We are often not aware we are even in a mood. Moods do not announce themselves like emotions do. My bike was stolen and now I am angry. My daughter kissed me and now I feel loved. Event = emotion.
Moods are subtler. Sometimes an emotion turns into a mood, sometimes a place generates a mood, the time of the year or week. We are always in a mood. Always! Check in with yourself right now: what mood are you in?
One way to find the mood is to notice what you are saying to yourself and what are you thinking about yourself and your world right now? Tune into your private and public conversation.
Take time to find the right word to describe your mood OR describe it as a color, scent, or place. Name that mood. Hey, that could be the name of a new game show!
Notice what form your body takes in this mood - is your jaw clenched? Are you leaning forward? How much space are you taking up with your body? What is your breath like? Fast? Shallow? Slow?
As you become aware of your mood, say to yourself, "I'm in ______ mood. I did not produce this mood. This mood is not fixed. I am not this mood."
Jennifer Louden is a best-selling author of The Woman's Comfort Book, The Comfort Queen's Guide to Life and three other titles. You can visit her popular website at ComfortQueen.com where over 600 articles about self-care, an interactive Inner Organizer, and a wonderful CQ store await you. Jennifer also works with a few clients at a time as a life coach.