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Hello, my name is Sandy.

Moods and things

I'm in one of those moods where I hate all the topics on my #blogjune ideas list. Of course, I won't trash the list. Tomorrow, I might find I love it.

Isn't it funny how that happens? You can look at a situation at separate times, and feel completely different about it each time even if nothing about it changes. Consistency is a nice idea, but I wonder how realistic it actually is.

Once upon a time, I had a friend who was deeply troubled by his inability to remain consistent. That his mood varied between morning, afternoon and night caused him great distress akin to an identity crisis. He had my compassion, but not my sympathy. I found it puzzling, since change was pretty much a constant in my life. We were in our teens then.

Since those days, I've kept an eye on change. I've tracked my moods alongside sleeping and eating patterns, activity levels, the company I keep, the work I do. I found some correlations were so reliable, I wondered how I could have ever misattributed those good and bad moods.

Actually, I do know how. The human mind is fallible; we're ultimately influenced by our emotions and perceptions. I use a flowchart now for figuring out whether I'm facing temporary petulance or a proper crisis. The steps vary depending on circumstances, but typically they look something like this:

my mood testing flowchart

When my mood dips and my mind starts rationalising why, I hold the thought and run down the list.

I eat. Then if I'm still upset, I know it's not just hanger.

I play, rest or sleep. If I don't feel better, I know it's not just boredom, fatigue and stress.

I check how much sport I played during the week. Yes, I get irritable when I'm sedentary for too long. But if I'm having a good run, I can probably pin the bad stuff on something else. As for socialising - too much and too little both leave me in a bad way.

Then comes the habit check. If a mood passes (or is 'fails' more correct to say?) all of these tests, I take a long hard look at my personal and lifestyle habits. I'm not ashamed to admit they've needed tweaking before. Anyone who's ever changed a habit, tail between their legs or no, should be proud of having taken responsibility for their own behaviour.

Finally, if it turns out I'm actually happy with my habits, I'll know via that process of elimination that something probably is wrong in my life. This sounds dramatic for good reason. Usually what follows is something big and, well, life-changing.

Duh, right?

My flow chart makes things easier, but only by a little bit. Dealing with reality is still messy and subject to perspective, but it's nice to have a framework for if I'm feeling open-minded enough to try it.

Anyway, my current mood is sleepy. So I'm going to go to sleep. Good night!

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