Balancing Your Mood: Part 3, Your Mind
January 2002

Underestimating Attitude
You have probably heard, more times than you’d like, “attitude is everything”. And though it may not be everything, it has a huge impact on your life and the world around you. If you see the world as an awful place, it is. If you see the world as a beautiful and hopeful place, it is.

Getting Grounded and Focused
What does this even mean? Can you think of a time you spoke to someone and they spoke quickly, interrupted you when it was your turn to respond, changed the topic mid-thought and seemed distracted? Not grounded. Can you think of a time you spoke to someone who really listened, looked at you, possessed clarity of thought and was a great creative problem-solver? Grounded.

How do you get grounded? Start by practicing sitting down. Simple. Sit in your chair, feet flat on the floor, spine straight and focus. Set a time limit for focusing — five, ten, twenty minutes. Focus on anything . . . a task you are doing, the meal you are eating, your breathing, or an image. Have a piece of paper nearby and every time you get distracted and want to get up, start a different task, make a phone call, etc., simply make a quick note. Keep sitting until you are finished with your task or you are ready for an officially scheduled break. Multi-tasking is terrific but we can work ourselves into a flurry of never being present if we don’t teach ourselves to turn multi-tasking “on” and “off”. (i.e. why do we keep thinking the car is a dining room or office while we are driving?)

Practice this in your listening too. Focus on the person, her expressions, what she is saying and let her finish her thoughts. If you catch yourself getting distracted, replant your feet firmly on the ground and come back! Focus on her completely until the conversation is over. You will likely learn and “hear” a great deal more and she will feel important.

You Control Your Thoughts
Thoughts are typically the beginning of action as well as the beginning of emotion. When you are critical of yourself, others or a situation or start to feel sad, anxious, or angry, it usually begins with a thought. It is up to you to decide what you want that thought to be, what you want to focus on. Do you want to notice the patch of cellulose on your thighs or your beautiful smile, eyes, strength, courage, health? Do you want to hone in on your husband’s shortcomings or what he does right and all the truly amazing, impressive qualities he has?

We are a society that tends to see what is “wrong” rather what is right. It is the one person who “ruined” your day that you remember, not the two or 20 others who were polite and appreciative of you.

Experiment with awareness and see if you can start to notice your thoughts before they become words, actions, emotions. Can you catch yourself and choose the positive elements rather than the negative?

It Just Happens
So I thought this was about mood? I assure you that if you practice how to:
Sit down and being more focused on one task at a time,
Choose to notice the things in your life that are going well,
Focus on the parts of you that you love and appreciate,
Emphasize the qualities in people that make them unique, special and loveable, and
Be more “present” in your exchanges with all people, . . .

. . . that you will notice a mood shift. It just happens. It is nearly impossible to see the light and beauty of life and be depressed. Consider it an official challenge.