This article will discuss the psychology of moods and where good and bad moods come from.
Before we can tackle the question of where moods come from, we got to understand the very nature of the moods.
To put it simply, you can think of your current mood as your current emotional state. Moods are just emotions that last longer.
Though you can experience different kinds of distinct, well-known emotions your mood can be broadly classified as good and bad. Good mood that feels good and bad mood that feels bad.
At any given time, if a person is experiencing a mood then it’s either a good mood or a bad mood. In the article on the function of emotions, I threw light on the concept of positive and negative emotions. The story is pretty much the same when it comes to moods.
In reality, there are no good and bad moods. There are just moods that create an emotional state in us with the end-goal of enabling our survival, reproduction, and well-being. Bad moods we call bad because we don’t like experiencing them and the moods we like to experience we call good moods.
How moods work
Consider your subconscious as a security guard who’s continually monitoring your life, watching you from a distance, and wanting you to lead a happy and healthy life. But this security guard, of course, doesn’t use verbal language to communicate with you.
Instead, it uses moods and emotions. When it finds that your life’s going fine, it sends you a good mood and when it finds that something’s wrong, it sends you a bad mood.
The purpose of a good mood is to tell you that ‘everything’s fine’ or that you should continue doing the things that you just did because, apparently, they can help you reach your goals or satisfy your needs.
For instance, the great feeling you get after achieving something big is just your mind’s way of telling you,“This is good! This is what you should be doing. You are moving toward your goals. Your life’s going great.” On the other hand, the purpose of a bad mood is to warn you that something has gone wrong and that you need to reflect, re-evaluate and change something if you can.
For instance, the bad feeling you get after you eat a lot of junk food is essentially your mind rebuking you:
“What have you done? This is wrong! You shouldn’t be doing this. It’s going to take you away from your goals.”
You are largely responsible for your own mood
The way you interpret events and the actions you take are the most important factors that control your mood. You can change your bad mood into a good by convincing your subconscious mind that your current actions will take you toward your goals.
Sometimes life challenges are unavoidable, yes, but how you deal with them determines your mood.
Deal with the life challenges appropriately and you’ll be blessed with a good mood. Deal with them inappropriately and you’ll remain engulfed in a bad mood.
What exactly do I mean by responding appropriately or inappropriately to moods?
When hungry, eat. When thirsty, drink. When sleepy, sleep.
This is responding appropriately to emotions. Imagine how you’d feel if you felt hungry but went to sleep instead or when you were thirsty, ate food instead of drinking water?
This is common sense, of course! Everyone knows what to do when they’re thirsty, hungry or sleepy. But this kind of common sense is rare with the other emotions. We get confused about what to do when we feel insecure, angry, jealous, bored, depressed, etc.
This website provides you with a clear understanding of all these emotions so that you may be able to understand what they’re trying to tell you and therefore respond to them appropriately. (see Mechanics of Emotions)
When we respond appropriately to emotions and moods, we’re able to channel them out of our system and feel relieved the same way we feel relieved when we drink water when we’re thirsty or eat food when we’re hungry.
For example, if you feel bad because you have been procrastinating on an important project, it’s your mind warning you that something important isn’t getting done. When you start working on the project, your bad feelings will end and you’ll feel relieved.
Hi, I’m Hanan Parvez (MBA, MA Psychology), founder and author of PsychMechanics. I’ve published one book and authored 400+ articles on this blog (started in 2014) that have garnered over 4.5 million views. PsychMechanics has been featured in Forbes, Business Insider, Reader’s Digest, and Entrepreneur. Feel free to contact me if you have a query.