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How Much Control Do We Really Have Over Mood?

good mood

Do you have your mood under control, or is your mood under your control? Have you ever had a bad start to a day, and that feeling is in control all day long? Then think of a time when you were in an excellent mood. On that day, even the challenges you were facing seemed a little easier to handle. Did you have something to do with this? Is mood something we control, or is it like the weather or the tides of the oceans?

Regulating your emotions or mood is about choosing your perception of events, more so than how you feel. That does not mean that you do not acknowledge your feelings. It means that you choose to control your reactions to life’s events and emotions.

How much control do we have over the mood? Does a mentality or habit change the key to controlling your mood every day?

Your Perceptions Matter

If you feel like life is happening to you, and you’re just along for the ride, you may think you have no control over your mood. Perspective makes a big difference here. If you feel emotions are uncontrollable, it’s easy to feel helpless or pessimistic about how you experience your feelings, emotions, and mood.

On the other hand, if you think you can control your mood, it is easier to feel optimistic or positive about your moods and emotions and your ability to influence or change them.

According to a study, “Theories of emotion evaluation suggest that it is the subjective assessment of an event by an individual – that is, it is the meaning and significance – rather than the event itself that leads to a specific emotional response. (See the Silver lining: Cognitive Reappraisal Ability moderates the relationship between stress and depressive symptoms, Allison S. Troy, et al., 2010).

This means it’s all in the way we interpret a situation. This gives you the freedom to choose your mood based on your view of the situation. Practicing mindful observation of your emotions gives you time to think before reacting to the feelings.

Free Will

It is an accepted idea in Western culture that free will exists & that people use rational, logical thoughts to make the best choices. If we believe that free will is a good concept, it seems logical that we should be able to keep our moods fully under control. Most of us know that in real life, things are not so clear or straightforward. Many of us react to situations and use emotions to navigate through our feelings by merely deciding what to feel.

 

Biology, Genetics & Environment

Increasingly, we learn that human emotion and mood are influenced by evolutionary motives, childhood environment, cultural forces, genetics, hormones and medical conditions, nutrition, and other biological factors that make it more difficult for people to control their mood with their conscious thought simply.

Research shows that we are primarily in control of our state of mind. External factors influence this control. Despite the environment, genetics, and other factors beyond our control, much of the control over mood is the practice and discipline of conscious evaluation of our emotions and responses to those emotions. This is a practice that can be developed over time for better mental health.

Choosing to be reflective versus reactive and making strong decisions about when to allow yourself to stay in negative or nonproductive emotions can drastically affect your mood and the kind of day you have. The choice of how much control you have over your mood is up to you.

 Sources:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3278301/
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