Many factors impact our mood or our predominant emotion. Some of them are external, such as news, adversities, and calamities. Others are internal, such as negative self-talk, doubts, and worries.  

Not everyone reacts to the same situation in the same way. Our beliefs, values, and life experiences have created conditioned responses. Many of us are not aware of the emotional triggers that activate negative emotions, such as anger, rage, sadness, and fear.

Current events, breaking news, photos, videos, and the tone of disgrace and disappointment are spreading faster than the pandemic. How not to feel disappointed? I recently facilitated a class on emotional intelligence. When discussing self-awareness, I asked the audience how they were feeling. I noticed a wide range of emotions. While a few were feeling optimistic and content, the majority expressed feelings of anxiety and concern regarding work, life, health, the economy, politics, the pandemic, and more. 

How can we improve our mood and bring a little bit of joy to our lives? I suggest that we can do so by turning inside of ourselves. This is the only place that we can exert control. We can start by increasing our presence in our daily life, recognizing our triggers, and becoming more entuned with our feelings as they are happening. 

Our emotional state can have an impact on our wellbeing. According to Dr. David Walton, the emotional aspects of a disease are central to a patient’s quality of life. In his book Emotional Intelligence, a Practical Guide, he suggests the following steps to boosting health and wellbeing using Emotional Intelligence.

  1. Connect with others for support, balance, stability, and a sense of purpose. The pandemic has made it more challenging for us to interact with our family, friends, and community. Even online frequent interactions can help us feel connected. Look at connecting with people as a foundation stone for your life and be prepared to invest time and energy in nurturing your relationships. 
  2. Increase your level of physical activity. Be physically active and go into the fresh air outside to feel good, giving you a sense of balance in your life. Exercise helps you manage negative stress and improves your stamina, energy, and immune system. I have a weekly routine that combines jogging with stretching and breathing. I notice that I sleep better when I exercise for at least 45 mins.
  3. Stay present by living in the moment. You can make your days more special by savoring your daily experiences. For example, noticing the sensations, sounds, flavors, and smells of the food you eat. I use my morning coffee to enjoy the aromas and flavors of my favorite beverage while I do my gratitude practice. You can also admire the beauty in nature when you go on your daily walk. 
  4. Keep Learning. Find opportunities to do something new in your work or your personal life. Take a class to improve your skills, learning a new hobby, and even trying different activities. Rediscover an old interest. Try learning to play music, etc. Last year, I started painting in acrylic and discovered such an enjoyable way to express my creativity.
  5. Appreciate what you have and who you are. Gratitude is a feeling of appreciation toward a person, thing, or situation that helps us feel kindness and generosity. These positive emotions make us feel better and more at peace. Gratitude helps us feel connected with life and all its bounty, regardless of the circumstances.
  6. Give. In the spirit of giving, think about an act of kindness that you can do towards someone you know or even a stranger. This gift of kindness can bring about a positive impact on a person’s mood or spirit. Today, I cooked a meal for my daughter and drove to her place to deliver it to the front door. I saw her smiley face through the window, and I felt so content and happy inside.

There is no doubt that we are living in tumultuous times that might generate negative feelings and emotions. Most of the events that impact us the most, such as the economy, the pandemic, and political turmoil, are outside our direct control.

Starting today, you can regain control over your life by deciding to manage your mood for an increased sense of wellbeing. You will feel more connected, more present, more alive.

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