What happened to my good mood? Did someone put the Mojo on my mood ring? You can be walking the beach, mowing the lawn or peddling along the Cape Cod Rail Trail, when suddenly you get hooked. Something pops into your noodle and in a matter of seconds your mood is sent down the tubes, courtesy of a self-induced smack down. One second you're up, and the next second you're gorging on a self-serving from the Ugly Menu: Fear, guilt, anger, self-doubt, jealousy--and often it's a combo platter. Your brain takes the bait...and off you go.
The "hook" happens to us all, and with enormous regularity. Buddhists actually have a word for this mental flick of the switch, they call it Shenpa. Now, I'm no Buddhist (I like my wine too much), but I do know hooks. One second you're feeling empowered, and the next you're worrying about a deadline, or irritated over a friend's comment, or feeling guilty about something that happened 2 weeks ago. Negative thoughts love to pounce, and although there's not much to do about that, there is a simple 4-step way to instantly transform those thoughts before they hijack the moment.
1. The first thing to do is catch that hook. As soon as you feel your mood change, stop and acknowledge it. Where did it come from? What brought it on?
2. Secondly, ask yourself, "Do I accept this new mood or would I prefer to be at peace?" Now, sometimes "getting your grumpy on" can be down right fun, but for the most part you're going to want to stay positive, so you move to step 3.
3. Step 3 is change your conversation! Turn the negative into a positive. "I feel broke from my car payments." can be "I'm so lucky to own this nice car!". Or "I wish I could lose 9 more pounds" would be better suited as "It's so awesome that I've already lost 6 pounds".
4. Step 4 is to acknowledge your new, happier frame and then, like scissors to a balloon string, cut that thought free and send it on its way.
The next time you feel the hook, try it. The more you practice this 4-step technique, the easier it gets. You'll instantly feel better, and you're mood ring will thank you for it.