The language of moods

I’ve noticed that we often speak about moods the way we speak about physical places:

“I’m IN a great mood!”

“I’m IN Vermont!”

“I need to get OUT OF this apartment.”

“I need to get OUT OF this bad mood.”

What might be the implication of this parallel?  I’ll offer a suggestion: In the same way that we make a decision and then take action to move ourselves into or out of a room or a building or a country, we can also make a decision and take action to move ourselves into or out of a particular mood.

Three additional thoughts:

1) If you can’t just snap your fingers and get into or out of a particular mood, don’t feel bad about it: sometimes the circumstances really do make it difficult to change moods, just as walls or gates or embargoes can make it more difficult to get into or out of a particular place.

2) If you’re in a particular mood and DON’T want to be there, it may be easier to get out if you can visualize the mood in which you DO want to be.

3) If you’re stuck in a bad mood and can’t seem to get out, try laughing: make yourself smile, force a chuckle.  Laughter has a tendency to break down walls.

Choosing your altitude

Last week I took off from Newark amidst grey skies and driving rain.  Twenty minutes into the flight I looked out the window: the tops of the clouds below us indicated that the weather was still dreary on the ground, but from our vantage point it was a beautiful day.

If you go up high enough, it’s always a beautiful day.

This is true of life and work as much as of the weather: even when it’s raining cats and dogs, the sun is still shining above the clouds (but this is hard to remember when it’s raining on your parade).  We can’t change the weather, but we can choose whether we take the street-level view or the 60,000-foot view.  This is what “keeping things in perspective” is all about.

There’s a flip-side, of course: just because it looks like a beautiful day around you doesn’t mean it isn’t hailing on the ground: having your head in the clouds all the time is as limiting as being perpetually stuck in the weeds.

The key is realizing that perspective matters, that we can choose our altitude.  The challenge is knowing which altitude to choose.