Brighten Up, Sunshine!
Estimated Lesson Time: 3 minutes
How often do you find yourself down and a little depressed? Don’t you find it strange that outside events that really have nothing to do with you, like the weather, can so easily influence your mood? Or perhaps you wake up to some bad news and resolve that “today is going to be one of those days,” and sure enough, it becomes one of “those days.” Good news, in many of these situations, good days are within your complete control.
While treatment for clinical depression should be discussed with a licensed professional, the cure for the common “bad mood” can often be a simple change in thinking behavior. If this kind of melancholy is brought on by our thoughts, and we can control our thoughts, then isn’t it true that we can control mood with our own thoughts? If you have a positive mental attitude, it is extremely difficult to get in the bad mood habit. People with positive attitudes understand that they are in control of their own destiny as well as their thoughts and feelings. It would be fair to say, however, that this level of positive mental attitude does not come easily and takes time to build. Thinking positively is a habit just like melancholy can be a habit. However, melancholy is a habit most people would like to do without, so it makes the habit easier to “kick.”
Besides applying a good positive mental attitude to your daily life, here are some techniques for having a mood that is consistently one of motivation, gratitude, and energy.
- Have goals and focus on them; do something each day that brings you closer to their attainment. Be sure your goals and life purpose are empowering enough to both excite you and motivate you.
- Ask yourself, “What am I thankful for? What is good in my life?” Write these things down, close your eyes and experience the feelings these things bring to you.
- Help someone else. This one reminds me again of the movie It’s a Wonderful Life, when the angel saved George by allowing George to save him.
- Change your physiology. Stand or sit up straight, take deep breaths, keep your chin up, chest out and smile.
- Keep active. Boredom follows lack of activity and melancholy often follows prolonged boredom. Do something productive—build, create, write, read, learn, play—anything that will keep your mind and/or body active.
- Exercise. I cannot stress enough the seemingly limitless benefits of regular exercise. Preventing and getting out of a bad mood are just a couple more.
- Be reasonable. Don’t make the false association of one bad event with the remaining events of the day. There is rarely a causal relationship between these events. Just because you get out of bed and stub your toe, it does not mean you day is ruined.
We can actually sum up all of these techniques into one general rule: change what you focus on. Try focusing on all the good things in your life, what has been, what is, and more important, what can be. If you cannot think of any good things in your life, then think harder. We can all at least be thankful for being alive. As an American or a citizen of another free country with opportunity, we have even more positive things to focus on. Focus on the positive and build your positive mental attitude, and “bad moods” may very well become a thing of the past.
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Some discussion questions (some may not apply to this lesson):
- Have you implemented this idea in your life? How has it been working for you?
- Do you have any interesting stories related to this lesson? Do tell!
- What do you admire most about this person? (success biography days)