When do emotions end and moods begin? And what impact are yours having on your quality of life? When we are not in touch with our emotional state and overall mood, our life can feel chaotic, leaving us feeling disconnected, exhausted and downright lousy. However, in order to regulate our feelings we need to first understand what they consist of?
Emotions are lower level responses in the amygdala/prefrontal cortex to a specific trigger or stimulus. They last a very short period of time and are automatic. They can be extremely intense and are often the result of past experience being projected onto current circumstance. Once our brain and body becomes aware of the sensation, it begins to decipher what is happening. It is at this point we apply meaning to an emotion based on memory, past experience and beliefs. It is also at this point we can attempt to rationalise and analyse the feeling. As the old adage says, we don’t have to act the way we feel.
A mood on the other hand is a more pervasive emotional state. It is not as intense an experience as an emotion and can last from a few hours to several weeks. It is generally the result of combination of factors including your biology (hormones, neurochemicals), psychology (personality, learned responses) and environment (stress levels, relationships). It can be difficult to ascertain the direct cause. It is important to note that your overall mood has an influence on the likelihood of experiencing an emotion, your ability to regulate it, and the intensity which you experience it at.
Regulating emotions is a skill; whilst we cannot stop them occurring, we can intervene with the impact they have on our wellbeing and peace of mind. In cases where negative experiences or trauma have heavily influenced our emotional reactions, it is advisable to get assistance in developing the skills needed to separate past emotion from present situations. This is one of the most common areas I visit with clients. Developing awareness, acceptance and the ability to analyse and self-soothe are all integral steps in managing emotions and living a more fulfilling life. We need to learn to embrace all of our emotions, both positive and negative; experience them compassionately and release them as opposed to letting them rule our thoughts and actions.
Learning to deal with our emotions effectively is a fantastic way to enhance your mood. However there are many things you can do to elevate your general mindset. Connection with people you care about, reducing your stress levels and contributing to humankind (even a smile for a stranger counts) are all ways to feel more upbeat. Accepting that we cannot be in a good mood all of the time and learning to stay curious with what we are experiencing, even when your mood is a little low, can be so beneficial. Practicing mindfulness, enjoying nature and challenging yourself out of your comfort zone regularly helps keep us positively engaged with our life.
Of course, there are the more obvious ways to promote brain health and mood including regular exercise, proper hydration and a healthy diet. Supplements that are found to be beneficial are Magnesium, Vitamin D, Fish Oils, probiotics, GABA and 5 HTP (GABA and 5 HTP not to be used with antidepressants)
If you are experiencing extremely erratic mood swings, or an ongoing low mood, seek medical advice or assistance as it may be an indication of something more serious.
For any queries on mood or emotions, get in touch by email or get more information in my youtube video on the topic: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b1dbzEPYk1Y&t=15s
or my instagram post: https://www.instagram.com/tv/B08W98FoLgZ/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link
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