Shifting Your Mood
By: Alysia Lyons
(3 min read)
Have you ever found yourself effortlessly doing something you’re really good at yet struggled to explain it to someone else? It happens to me all the time, especially when it’s a skill I’ve become “unconsciously competent” at. It’s a common human experience. We become so proficient at certain tasks or coping mechanisms that we no longer consciously think about how to do them. However, when someone asks us to break it down to teach them, we can be stumped.
Last week, my son, Zander, was frustrated by how easily I could shift my mood when I was upset or frustrated. His frustration only grew when I couldn’t articulate what I was doing because I had been doing it for so long.
Zander had asked me repeatedly for guidance on managing his emotions, particularly when it came to his video games. He wanted to know how to stay calm when he encountered difficulties while playing. My response up until that point had been a simple one: take a break. But Zander wasn’t always keen on this advice. He wanted a more immediate solution, something he could implement within the game to regain his composure.
The next morning, I woke up to a chaotic scene in my living room. The reason? We had recently welcomed a 10-month-old puppy we’d adopted from a shelter into our home. Overnight, she had decided to chew on our couch, coffee table, and worst of all, she came close to chewing on my cross stitch! I was infuriated by the situation, and it takes a lot to make me mad these days.
I found myself questioning our decision to adopt the puppy. However, a thought crossed my mind: She doesn’t know what she’s allowed to chew on and what she’s not. It’s my job to teach her. This realization became the turning point.
I related my approach to the puppy to Zander’s video game frustrations. Just as the new puppy needed to be taught what she could and couldn’t chew on, Zander needed to learn how to think differently about the situation when facing gaming challenges.
The breakthrough moment came when I explained my thought process to Zander. I shared that shifting my mood was as simple as changing my thoughts. Instead of thinking, “This dog is going to destroy everything I own,” I began thinking, “I need to teach her what she’s allowed to chew on because she doesn’t know any better.”
This shift in thinking brought about a positive change in my mood. I realized that much like my new puppy, people can benefit from understanding and compassion when they’re learning something new. My frustration turned into a desire to teach and help, which made the situation more manageable.
Teaching something you’ve become unconsciously competent at can be a challenging task. However, this personal experience offers a valuable lesson: Shifting your mood and helping others do the same is about changing your thoughts and adopting a compassionate perspective. Whether it’s a new puppy learning the rules or a child navigating the challenges of video games, patience, and understanding can go a long way in teaching and learning.
So, the next time you face a situation that calls for a shift in mood, remember this story and approach it with a new perspective and a willingness to teach and learn. After all, it’s not just about what we do but how we share our knowledge and empathy with those who seek to learn from us.
All Things Wellness, LLC
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