Pride, compassion, envy, melancholy: what emotions invade you today?
Moods are more subtle than emotions but can significantly affect us. We can repress them, hide them or reject them, but we will deny our authenticity. Being aware of them helps us to balance.
Moods, unlike primary emotions, are less intense but more lasting and influential. They may seem weak, discreet, easy to forget. Still, we can understand their power and influence as capable of ruining a day.
Our life is colored by the little nuances of the soul. Moods such as melancholy or good humor influence us more than great emotions. They all teach us something, so it is essential to accept and love them because they are, ultimately, what makes us human.
DIFFERENCES BETWEEN EMOTIONS AND MOODS
Pride, compassion, envy, melancholy. We could define the states of mind as the mental contents – conscious or unconscious – in which body states, subtle emotions, and automatic thoughts are mixed. Their role and influence on who we are and what we do are immense, yet many pay little attention to them.
We can approach them, as they offer us valuable information; it is only necessary to stop working, running, and cursing the world.
Moods do not necessarily have a particular object like emotions, which does not imply that they are without cause, but this is not so obvious. In general, emotions are a “response” to something that “comes” to us from outside; moods, on the other hand, can also reach us from within, be self-produced.
They are influenced by habitual and automatic thoughts. Emotions radicalize and simplify our perception of events; moods complicate it but make it more subtle.
Emotions are “social agitators” that modify our relationship with others and with the world.
In contrast, moods are “internal agitators” that limit our relationship with ourselves and our vision of the world, leading us to change many things, but in a creeping way.
Emotions drive us towards external action and moods, first of all, towards internal reflection and sometimes rumination.
Moods can persevere in the wake of strong emotions (the state where we find ourselves after great joy or great disappointment). They can also represent the terrain that facilitates them:
- late payment, which favors strokes of sadness and melancholy;
- the resentment that waves of anger prepare;
- panic erupting against a background of anxiety.
First, the gray clouds come, and then the storm breaks. But the essence of our mental meteorology is based more on moods. We spend little time under the influence of anger and much more under the perception of our emotions.
Lingering thoughts become calm irritations. Longer with nostalgia than with true despair in the present. More time with concerns than with great crisis of anguish.
HOW TO KNOW WHAT STATE OF MIND INVADES US
Our moods are always there, like background noise; it is necessary to stop and listen to our thoughts to perceive them.
Stop, as if we were walking through the forest and paused to hear: what would you notice?
For example, we may perceive the sound of the wind, the sound of the trees moving, the chirping of the birds.
Consistency is important. Learning to listen and observe your moods can help identify thoughts and feelings that go unnoticed. Recognizing a heavy perspective of consistent negativity can influence positive action. Easier said than done.
Shifting your mindset and changing the relationship with how you audit your thoughts takes effort. I recommend sitting in your thoughts and feelings through meditation.
Meditation precisely gives us a beautiful metaphor: we can safely observe our moods and complex thoughts by staying close to them.
For example, imagine a walker who enters a waterfall and remains sheltered between the rock and the water that falls with force. The walker might tremble a little, feel wet and uncomfortable, but protected and in a privileged place.
One of the goals of meditation is called mindfulness. Mindfulness is precisely to stand aside for a moment and watch moods go by, break them down, and understand them without trying to stop their flow.
When you’re mindful, we teach it’s most important to “just notice and without judgment” of the content you see and hear. Can anyone stop the water from a waterfall? Likewise, we can’t control the content of automatic thoughts.
Still, we can change the meaning of each thought and learn to directly influence how we feel. Now that we know what a mood is, we can ask ourselves what distinguishes them from emotion. Moods tend to last longer and are influenced by our perceptions.
In contrast, emotions are shorter and generally the result of something specific. Moods, therefore, can be more subtle. To change them, modify how you speak to yourself daily, in each moment.