Do you ever catch yourself regretting a decision you’ve made, personally or professionally, wishing you had made it differently? Many times, our decisions are influenced by outside factors, incorrect incoming data, not enough time to collect all the facts, the car breaks down, the children come home with colds; or even, you are just in a bad mood. Can mood also affect your decision making? Yes. No matter where we are and no matter what we are doing, we humans are persistently in a mood. Moods live in the background, like white noise. Generally, we don’t choose or control our moods we just find ourselves in them. It’s notable that many people state that their moods possess them. If you can pause to examine what predominate mood you show up in, to work, to family events, to church, you usually find that you are absorbed in them.
How is this different from emotions? Emotions are explicit and reactive. Emotions are tied to specific events, such as, the dishwasher flooding, the car overheating, or the bank notice that the checking account is overdrawn again.
If you think you’re possessed by a specific mood, affecting your decision making, ask yourself:
• What mood do you experience most of life in, general optimism, rigidity, even-tempered?
• Can you point to a specific event that has propelled you into your current mood?
• Have you arrived to work after horrible traffic and now have no patience with anyone there?
• Does the current environment create a mood for you such as, your home is peaceful, the gym is enjoyable, the office is hectic, all inducing a specific mood?
• Am I feeling a ‘collectiveness’ of mood from a group, a set of photos, the seasons, even music playing?
• How do you recognize moods in others? Can you give yourself permission that others can be in a negative mood, but you don’t’ have to join them?
• Am I a passive victim of someone else’s mood, influenced by their language to me or others?
“Vitality shows in not only the ability to persist but the ability to start over.” F. Scott Fitzgerald