Mood management is something I talk a lot about in my work as a psychologist. “What are your coping skills?” I might ask someone who struggles with depression, or its wily and often not altogether unwelcome twin, anxiety (“Hey, at least I can get something done when I’m anxious!”) “And what are your triggers?” I follow up with. So we list and categorize and attempt to give some structure and control to the inchoate landscape of the person’s inner life. This line of inquiry, while not necessarily wasted effort, can nonetheless contribute to the erroneous assumption that our moods can and should be controlled and that we are doing something wrong when they are unpleasant.
But what if we began to reconceptualize our moods, not as something “good” or “bad,” or existing inside of us, but rather as a vibratory field that runs through and around us. Then perhaps we could begin to relate to our moods, not as something to manipulate or control, but instead as the musical background to our lives. We participate in the music and have the power to create some of our own melodies. We can aspire to enjoy the music of our own existence, listen to the music of others, while creating our own overtures.
The above is a preface to why I prefer the concept of `vibration’ to the traditional concept of mood. A mood is something that you have while vibration is something you do. Thinking of moods in this altered way gives a new and perhaps needed twist on the practice of mood management. You can now think of mood management as shifting your vibration. A low vibration is dark, enclosed and heavy. It is indicative of isolation, hopelessness and negativity and is expressed by worry, fear and the driven thoughts of “should” and “what if?” It draws you lower in your body in a constricted way that has little light or air flow. To create shift you first want to get some flow moving into the darkness and constriction. Taking a walk or performing some gentle yoga poses are good ways to do this because both require increased breathing, which helps break up the constriction. Then you can begin to move the vibration upward using your thoughts, increased physical movements (like arms over head), or connecting with others. Thoughts of gratitude and self compassion work well to shift your thoughts from the darkness of a low vibration. Don’t force it though. Perhaps just noticing yourself in pain from a compassionate distance will suffice. Connecting with others may be difficult if you suffer from social anxiety, but even peeking out from under your hat and observing the world is a start. Notice others’ happiness and wish them well.
A higher vibration is indicative of light, air and movement. You feel it when people are vibrating in this lighter way and you likely know when you are as well. You feel hopeful, generous and expansive. Things feel possible. The world looks beautiful. There are many things that you can do to facilitate a higher vibration. In fact, it can help to think of your day in terms of how you can keep your vibration high. Setting an intention in the morning is a good practice, as is starting off the day with prayer, meditation or a walk. Choosing foods that enhance your vibration is important – meaning natural, nourishing foods that create energy. Be very careful about who you spend time with – does their energy feed and rejuvenate you or conversely does it leave you feeling worried and depleted?
We all have a set point vibrational tone. This is your habitual vibration and will be your default setting. Identify your set point. Mine happens to be negativity and worry. No big deal. No judgement. Just an active plan to move it upward throughout the day with steady intention backed by proactive habits. Shine on!