Our mood changes from day to day – even hour to hour. A period of happiness can quickly take a short-term dip, seemingly coming from out of the blue, and turn into a bad mood of sadness, anxiety, stress, unhappiness and irritability.

We all suffer from short-term mood dips most of the time. However, some people turn these short periods into bad moods that last for days or longer even turning into mild bouts of depression.

Moods Drive Our Thoughts

Only recently, since the 1990s and early twenty-first century, have we discovered that there are underlying processes going on in our brain. It has long been believed that our thoughts drive our moods, but only recently has it become clear that the reverse is also true. Your mind can drive your thoughts. For example, a few gloomy moments can begin a cascade of negative thoughts, which in turn stir up sad memories, further deepening your mood. What takes place in the background is an intricate dance of bodily sensations, emotions, thoughts and feelings.

Physical Sensations

The same thing happens with other moods and emotions as well. When you feel a little stressed, your body becomes tense. Perhaps a churning stomach, causing upset feelings and more stress, turning into fear, worry, and anger. Before you know it, you’re struggling with anxiety.

Happy moods can conjure up other positive moods of love, compassion and attitudes of caring and willingness. This can create more feelings of happiness, causing a more rapid heart-beat, thereby proving that both body and the mind share emotional information.

Smiling Is Contagious

What makes an emotion is a truly complicated process full of feedbacks and interactions. But research shows that our entire outlook on life can be altered by tiny changes in the body. For example, changing posture or wearing a smile can have a dramatic impact on mood and thoughts going through your mind. Even wearing a false smile will, almost always, result in receiving a smile in return, causing a mood change and changing yours to an authentic smile. Try it yourself. If you smile at a complete stranger they will invariably smile back at you. Your smile made both of you react in positive ways proving that a simple smile is contagious.

Mindfulness Enhances Positive Mood

Practicing Mindfulness also produces positive results with moods. Recent research at the University Medical Center at Groningen, The Netherlands, shows that increases in positive mood and well-being are directly related to living a Mindful and more aware lifestyle. This results in reacting to the experiences of life in a less automatic way.

The United Kingdom’s (UK) National Institute for health and clinical excellence (NICE) has recommended Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) for people having a history of three or more episodes of depression in their Guidelines for Management of Depression (2005, 2009).

Read the Sunday Comics

If you find yourself in a troubling, low mood, try a change of posture, a change of scenery, or try reading the Sunday comics or a humorous book to make yourself laugh. When all else fails, put a smile on your face and look at yourself in the mirror. You will surely get a chuckle and a mood change. 

This report is not a diagnosis. We hope this information can guide you toward improving your life.

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