Bad thoughts? Use the elevator!
The Mood Elevator
Everyone has good days where their ideas and thoughts can flow freely, and work gets done in no time. Time just flies by as you concentrate on your work. You can admire your work and at the end of the day, you feel like you have accomplished something. You have a positive mindset towards everyone and everything. Then the next morning comes. Nothing seems to be working well, you cannot focus, and you feel like something bad is going to happen, since the day has not been a breeze so far. Everything feels irritating around you. Sounds familiar?
What controls our feelings?
The Mood Elevator (Senn 2017) explains, that our thinking is the one thing that guides our feelings. The reason why our moods change during the day for better or worse is our thinking. One tool to utilize in managing our own thoughts and feelings is the Mood Elevator, hence the name of the book. The Mood Elevator is a concrete list of emotions you might be experiencing: at the higher ‘floors’, there are positive and energetic feelings, whereas the lower floors have some of the more negative and stressed feelings. The Mood Elevator helps to identify your feelings and when you are at your best and when you are at your worst. Once you have identified your feelings, it is easier to adjust your thinking to get the best out of yourself.
Getting to the ‘UP’ Button on the Mood Elevator
When we are experiencing some negative thoughts, they have a tendency to stay longer with us than the positive thoughts and emotions. When we feel like we are on the lowest floors of the Mood Elevator, it is hard to find the ‘up’ button. Everyone has different ways of how to lift themselves up: some might seek help in their religion, some might seek a professional to talk to, and some stick to helping themselves completely on their own. Senn urges everyone who is experiencing these feelings, to first identify them from the Mood Elevator and then question why we are feeling this way. After giving some deeper thoughts to this, Senn suggests that the reader should now look at the upper levels of the Mood Elevator and ask themselves: what levels do I want to visit more often? The book, again, has follow-up questions to help the reader to identify their thoughts and emotions even better. “You don’t have to be a passive passenger on your Mood Elevator, drifting from floor to floor unable to control or influence the journey. Make a conscious decision about where you want to spend your time and take steps to feed the emotions that will take you there. (Senn 2017, 89)
Role of Thought – Forgiveness
As stated before, our thought plays a big role in shaping our feelings and behaviour. Sometimes it is easy to blame others for our feelings, but changing our thinking and mindset moves us away from blaming others around us and towards better self-knowledge. If we understand our own feelings and thoughts, it is easier to understand others around us. The book had an example of forgiveness. Imagine someone doing you wrong and they apologise for it. You forgive that person, but still cannot seem to get it out of your minds and it is affecting your mood. It stated: “When we understand the role of thought in shaping our attitudes and behaviors, it’s easier to see the innocence in those around us. Remember that everyone does what makes sense to them based on their thinking. When someone hurts you, disappoints you, or angers you, the cause is rarely personal; it’s unlikely that they are deliberately seeking to injure you. They are just doing what follows from their thinking.” (Senn 2017, 152)
Feelings and thoughts are clearly a part of our lives, but we can decide for ourselves what feelings we want to nurture and what feelings should be left alone. Our thinking creates our feelings: worried thoughts create worried feelings and vice versa. Changing your thinking will affect your feelings drastically and blaming others is not the way to go. Our thinking is what makes us ride the Mood Elevator. When we start to notice and identify the moods and emotions we are experiencing and change our thinking, we will find ourselves more times at our best and doing less damage when we are in a negative mood. Feelings are clues to our thoughts, and they come and go. Remember that it is normal to feel bad things too, life is not always easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy, but with the Mood Elevator, it is easier!
Senn, L. 2017. The Mood Elevator: Take Charge of Your Feelings, Become a Better You. 1st edition. Oakland, CA, USA: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.