Usually in my weekly posts I present some information that I think will be useful to you, something I’ve learned that I want to pass on to you.  This week I want to reverse that process: I’d like your collective wisdom to educate me and everyone else who reads my blog.

The topic is moods.

This mental state first became an issue in my occurring courses where the participants and I were trying to identify all the factors that seemed to influence how reality “occurred” for us, in other words, what determined the meaning we gave events as we experienced them, moment by moment?

We realized that probably the major source of our occurrings was our beliefs and conditionings.  Other relevant sources included our physical condition and our “moods.”  But when we tried to state specifically what we meant by a mood and where our moods came from, we were stumped.

After a lot of thinking and a bunch of research, I came up with a few ideas, which I’d like to share with you in this post.  But instead of ending with my conclusion, I’m going to end with a request that you take a look at what I’ve presented and then tell me and my readers what you think, and let’s see if our collective thinking can figure out what moods really are, where they come from, and how to change them if they are negative.

What do the experts say?

I checked to see what Wikipedia had to say. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mood_(psychology)

“A mood is a relatively long lasting emotional state.  Moods differ from emotions in that they are less specific, less intense, and less likely to be triggered by a particular stimulus or event.

“Moods generally have either a positive or negative valence. In other words, people typically speak of being in a good mood or a bad mood. Unlike acute, emotional feelings like fear and surprise, moods often last for hours or days.

“Mood also differs from temperament or personality traits which are even longer lasting. Nevertheless, personality traits such as optimism and neuroticism predispose certain types of moods. Long term disturbances of mood such as depression and bipolar disorder are considered mood disorders. Mood is an internal, subjective state, but it often can be inferred from posture and other behaviors.”

Some of my thinking

Moods seem to be like emotions in some respects and different in other respects.  They both can be positive or negative. Moods tend to last longer than emotions.  Usually emotions are set off by a specific stimulus (in the case of stimulus conditionings) or by the meaning we give specific events at the time (in other words, our occurrings).  I’m not sure what creates our moods.

A mood colors one’s perception and behavior.  It is like a filter through which one views reality. Therefore it can affect the meaning you give to an event, which determines how events occur to us.  Although our occurring can influence the mood we are in, it seems more common that moods affect our occurrings.

I said earlier that our physical condition, such as being in pain or being tired, can affect our occurring.  It also can affect our mood.

In an earlier blog post on emotions I wrote: “Sadness, unhappiness, grief and sorrow are emotions that result from feeling powerless in the face of not having (or not being able to have) what we want, or losing what we had.”  (http://www.mortylefkoe.com/why-negative-emotions/) Now that I think about it, these four emotions have many of the characteristics of moods.

Could moods be affected by the same principles that determine emotions? (In that earlier post I explained the source of our negative emotions.)

It is possible that moods have a stimulus just like emotions, but it is usually easier to identify the stimulus for an emotion because we are aware of the emotion starting and thus can usually see what precedes it.  A mood is more diffuse and we can be in a good or bad mood for a while before we are aware of it, so if there is a specific stimulus it might be more difficult to identify it.

Emotions can be quickly and easily eliminated using either the Lefkoe Stimulus Process (if the emotions are caused by stimulus conditioning) or the Lefkoe De-conditioning Process (if they are caused by our occurrings, in other words, the meaning we give to current events).  I’m not sure how to get out of moods.

People’s moods are confusing

When I try to apply all that I know about moods to a specific situation, I realize how little I really understand about this topic.  For example, when I think about my two daughters when they were teens, I remember that they usually were in very “good” or “bad” moods.  When they were in a “bad” mood they would get angry very easily over the slightest thing, would yell at me and others seemingly without provocation, and would give negative meanings to almost everything.  On the other hand, when they were in a “good” mood, the opposite would happen.  They would be very loving and would put a positive spin on almost everything that happened.

Is a mood the way our life is occurring to us at the moment? And will a mood, like inertia, keep going once it gets started until something stops it? If a mood is the result of our beliefs then why can the same person with the same beliefs, such as my daughters, be in a very good mood and a very bad mood in the space of a single day?  What would determine which mood she is in as she has the same beliefs in both cases?  Could it be her occurrings that are determining the mood as opposed to vice versa?

What do you think?

I’ve given you some of my random thoughts and a little of the research I’ve done. Now tell me what you think.  Here’s what I’d like you to address:

1.  What is a mood?

2.  What determines our moods?  What is the source of moods?

3.  Once we have a mood, what can we do to dissolve it intentionally or change it from negative to positive?

Please write your thoughts on any one or all of these three questions.  And then come back to this blog in a few days to read what others have written, which might stimulate you to write more.

Maybe as a group we can come up with some good answers to these three questions.  I can’t wait to read what you have to say.

If you haven’t yet eliminated at least one of your limiting self-esteem beliefs using the Lefkoe Belief Process, go to htp://www.recreateyourlife.com/free where you can eliminate one negative belief free.

For information about eliminating 23 of the most common limiting beliefs and conditionings, which cause eight of the most common problems in our lives, please check out: http://recreateyourlife.com/naturalconfidence.

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Copyright © 2011 Morty Lefkoe