Moods come and go. If you think of moods like the weather, they are beyond your control and you take what you get. If you think of moods like a mirror, then your actions influence what happens in the reflection. If you just feel your moods, they will seem like the weather. If you pay attention to your moods, you may see yourself moving the image in the mirror.
To pay attention to your mood you start by feeling your mood. When you notice what mood you are feeling, then you become aware of your mood. When you hold your awareness on your mood, then you are paying attention. As you pay attention to your mood, you can notice physical sensations associated with your mood. You can notice the thoughts that are sustaining your mood. You can also notice external sensations, like the sun, the wind, dogs barking, birds singing or music playing. You can notice your breathing. As you notice these other sensations, you keep your awareness on your mood. You will notice your mood change. When you practice paying attention to your moods you become familiar with their comings and goings. Each bad mood doesn’t feel so ominous and each good mood is enjoyable.
If you don’t pay attention to your mood, you just feel your mood. You go about your life and moods happen to you. You either feel good, bad, neither or both. Your mood becomes like the weather. If it’s rainy, it’s rainy and you get wet. If it’s sunny, it’s sunny and you dry off. Like the weather, you don’t seem to have any control over the moods. Although you don’t have any control over your moods, they seem to respond to your circumstance. So, in order to influence your mood, you are constantly trying to address your circumstances. If you’re sad because you’re lonely, you run around trying to find company. When you just feel your moods, without paying attention to them, they can seem overwhelming. Like a hurricane, a bad mood can be devastating.
Although paying attention to moods does not give you total control over your moods, it provides perspective. As soon as you start to pay attention, you become grounded in the present. By locating yourself in the present moment you can notice your thoughts. If you notice your thoughts making wild claims that you would never believe in a different mood, you can correct those thoughts. By breathing and connecting with your senses, you can slow your thoughts down a little, or take a break from them. Checking in with the present can prevent a mood from getting away from you. Instead of a hurricane, you get a shower. As you pay attention to the shower, you can watch the clouds part and feel the Sun again. When you practice paying attention to your moods, you will get used to seeing the sun come out and you won’t mind the rain so much.