Tag Archives: mood

Warmth and Cheeriness

With the warming of the weather comes the bettering of my overall mood and disposition. This past winter was the worst for me that I can remember, but I’m loving being able to walk outside in short sleeves again. For the first time in months, I actually enjoyed feeding the horses yesterday and spending some time just watching them. It’s always so relaxing – despite the resultant mud from the thaw that threatens to (and sometimes does) suck the shoes right off your feet.

Punxsutawney Phil said that spring would be arriving early this year – and it looks as though he was right.

Attitude Change At the Flip of a Switch

Ever feel like you’re trapped in a particular mood or attitude and can’t get out of it? Well, sometimes I think it’s all in your head. Literally. For instance, this evening I found myself feeling irritable and cranky (still do, in fact). It was getting to the point where I was starting to get snippy with my wife, and I knew I didn’t want to do that. I walked out of the room for a moment to get a grip over myself before coming back and trying to act civilly. I even forced myself to make a joke. And the funniest thing happened — I found myself mood actually changing for the better. I had made the decision to behave better, I forced myself to actually do so (even though I didn’t feel like it), and ultimately I found my mood shifting to match the behavior.

And of course, now I’m reminded of the social psychology principle that states that people’s attitudes tend to actually shift toward their behaviors and not the other way around. In my own Christian walk, I have often forced myself to do those things that I knew I was supposed to do, even when I didn’t feel like it. And 99% of the time, I quickly found my attitude shifting to match. (That last 1% of the time was when I was just bound and determined to
rebel.)

Moral of the story: If you want to get out of that slump, try doing what you’re supposed to do anyway. I’ll bet you’ll be surprised at the result.

Sifting

I love psychology. It is, after all, my chosen field. And I must say that getting my master’s degree from a secular institution has been interesting, to say the least. I always have to include a personal mental disclaimer to every lecture. For example, in my Social Cognitions class last night, we discussed briefly a classic psychological “chicken-or-the-egg” phenomenon — which affects which first? Physiology or affect (moods/emotions/etc.)? (See? Chicken. Egg.) Does physiology initiate an action and thus mood is interpreted from the aroused physiological state? Or does affect/cognition initiate the arousal and thus the physiological reaction.

Enter disclaimer — “Note to self: present company has little to no notion of the spirit/soul, and few theories even mention the topic, let alone discuss it. Be sure to account for that in your own personal practice.

That’s a continued problem I run into (and probably will for the rest of my professional life) – most of these theories are so frustratingly unilateral and unimodal. The theories attempt to fit all the facets and nuances of human behavior into a nice, tight little package of cause-and-effect (impossible!). And while some theories are better than others, none is perfect (or necessarily even great) at doing the job. So, I sift, sift, sift through the theories and take out the useful stuff (using a biblical, as well as a practical, foundation)and, with a VERY critical eye, blend it with what the Bible says about the human condition and the human relationship to one another and to God. Very tedious, yet at the same time, really quite fun. Especially when application can be made — and one can watch it work!

So, I sift the theories, but mentally add the element that nearly every theory neglects — the spiritual side of humanity. If you can’t identify ALL the pieces of Man, then you can’t properly address all the NEEDS of Man.