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by Alana Gregg, MS

We all have highs and lows. We have good days and bad days. Some days start out great and then end up going badly. Some days start out bad and get worse from there. Sometimes our mood is due to real life events and sometimes we inexplicably just wake up feeling good or wake up feeling bad. Our mood can be very powerful and can really impact how we go through our day. But should we let ourselves be so controlled by our mood that it becomes the determining factor in how we approach life?

Here are 6 ways to keep your mood from ruling your life:

  1. Rate your mood. It’s important to be able to understand your emotions and what highs and lows are like for you. You can rate your mood on a scale of 1-10. If you are between a 1-3 or 7-10 then reflect on what is going on in you. Is feeling a 10 a bad thing? No. But expecting everyday to be a 10 and then feeling depressed when it’s not is not a realistic expectation. We are going to have ups and downs and that’s ok. It’s keeping things in perspective that will help affect how your mood impacts your life.
  2. Find balance. Keep in mind there is no perfectly balanced life. You will have seasons with more highs and seasons with more lows. But the goal is to manage your mood so that you can keep your ups and downs in that middle range. Think about it in terms of blood sugar. When you don’t eat enough, your blood sugar becomes too low and it has physical effects. When you eat a donut and a latte, your blood sugar goes up, but it goes up too high and then crashes down an hour later. But when you eat a peanut butter sandwich and then snack on a banana two hours later, your blood sugar stays at a healthy level. It’s the same with our mood. When we are down, are there things you can do to increase your mood, like go get fresh air or talk to a friend? When we are up, do we allow ourselves to enjoy those moments fully and then manage our expectations so we don’t experience the crash?
  3. Remember emotions are temporary. Our emotions are important because they tell us a lot about what is going on inside of us. But they are temporary. In the moment, it may feel like your feelings are overwhelming and permanent. But stop for a minute and consider that you will not always feel this way. It is just one moment in time.
  4. Keep moving. When you are feeling down or depressed, it can be really hard to get through the day. You may feel heavy and like all you want to do is go back to bed. You have a choice in those moments to let yourself be consumed by those feelings or to push through them and keep moving. Break your day down into small tasks and take one step at a time. Start with getting out of bed, then eat something healthy, then maybe go for a walk or read your Bible. Every healthy choice will lead to another healthy one.
  5. Find the bigger picture. Our mood tends to change our perception of the world, doesn’t it? When we are in a good mood, life seems great and it’s easier to see the good in the world. But when we are in a bad mood, all we see is the bad stuff. You may need a change in perspective. It’s like holding up a picture too close to your face. You can only see one part of it. But when you hold the picture out, you see the picture clearly because you’ve changed your perspective. When you are depressed or in pain, you can’t see the whole picture. Take a step back and try to see this moment in light of the bigger picture. When you do, you may see your mood with a little more clarity.
  6. Choose joy. Joy is different from happiness. Happiness is a feeling that comes and goes. Joy is something we can choose no matter what our circumstances are. This doesn’t mean you need to always be positive. That’s not very realistic because we live in a world with a lot of pain and struggle. Unfortunately, no one is immune to suffering. But we do have a choice in how we respond to our suffering. We can allow ourselves to be consumed by it or we can choose to trust that there is more to life than what we are feeling in this moment.

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How is your mood impacting your life? At Lime Tree Counseling, our trained counselors understand how much our pain impacts our mood and how we see the world. We also understand that lots of different things impact our mood, like our relationships, mental and physical health, and our brain chemistry. If you are struggling, please don’t hesitate to call and set up an appointment or a free 15 minute phone consultation. We offer online counseling throughout Pennsylvania to better assist you, specializing in cross-cultural counseling, anxiety treatment, and marriage counseling, to name a few. Reach out today!