Quality of life has a big influence on longevity. I never try to be in a “good mood” but I do pay close attention to my bad moods when they arise. Bad moods are a big deal. Many of my worst choices and biggest mistakes were made because of or at least while I was in a bad mood. Bad moods filter and shape the way you see reality at that moment. They affect the moment of choice which sets you on a new course to a destiny you may regret. Instead of making important choices using your experiences and wisdom, you may make a very poor choice because you are in a bad mood. I quit one of the best jobs I ever had because I was in a really bad mood.
Consider bad moods as a category that can include, feeling sour, agitated, angry, sad, pissed off, sick and tired. If left unabated, they can grow into something catastrophic. When are able to catch your mood it is important how you deal with it. The easy ego way is to feel sorry for your “self” and seek to cover it up with something artificial. Inappropriate measures such as drinking, fighting, debating, arguing, over-eating lead to self-destruction which is the antithesis of longevity.
Through the practice of mindfulness of mood, you can train your self to wake up periodically and observe your state of mind (mood). If practice this enough it will become second nature to recognize your mood and then deal with it effectively. By cultivating your sovereignty skills you can catch the ego as it begins to stray from the path and direct it back.
I have suffered from mood swings all of my adult life. Here are some of my techniques for regulating dark moods. Good mood management involves both preventative and recuperative measures. When you can integrate these measures on a regular basis you cultivate the ability to stop moods from controlling your life.
– sitting still and focusing the mind on a point other than your thoughts will allow you to pluck your “self” from the run-away mind stream of thoughts. If you have trained in meditation, you must practice every day as a discipline so that you are skilled at becoming detached from mood thinking. After a time you will begin to settle down and feel better. While you are sitting, the ego will struggle to take charge again. Allow equanimity (stillness and peace of mind) to return, each time ego retakes control (mind returns to the mood), Simple return your focus back to your focal point. This way you can free your “self” and take control again. (this is Sovereignty) Repeat as often as possible till it is over. Practice during the happy too, that way you will be trained and ready for the dark mood when it starts rising.
If you have not learned meditation, seek training. There are many good teachers that can help. Mindfulness Stress Reduction Clinics are very effective. Spiritual groups and Sanghas over both meditation and support group structure to help you train long enough to become effective. Being part of a regular group that holds you accountable is effective.
-Mindfulness is the ability to pay attention in a non-judgmental way the activity of the mind. By being non-judgmental you remain detached from value judging every thought as good or bad. The practice is to simply observe without reacting. By keeping your consciousness focused on a specific point such as a mantra or your breath, the mental activity is on the periphery of your awareness. It creates a detached point of observance where you are aware of what has just passed but not reacting to it.
This skill is something you can practice where ever you are. So if you are pretty good at noticing your emotional state when it changes you can catch the dark mood as it begins to arise and then put space it and you, your higher self, the consciousness observing the thoughts and mood (the ego). Without this ability, you will remain a slave to the emotional ego and be dragged around where ever it takes you. The moody ego will ruin your life through bad choices if you let it. Learn and practice mindfulness. Find a teacher and practice practice practice.
Get your Sleep
-Sleep deprivation is a huge contributor to dark mood swings. Nothing more needs to be said about this one, you know what I am talking about.
Dining habits and Gut Biome Health
-Your diet matters. Specifically, the food that supports your gut biome which effective hormone release can have a direct effect on how you feel emotionally and physically. My doctor helped me to understand how inflammation affects our well being and both physically and emotionally. I recommend trying one of several longevity diets, like “The Blue Zone Diet”. Americans are notorious for high carb-high glucose diets. Bad moods and bad food seem to go hand in hand for making things go from bad to worse.
-This is one of my tried and true remedies for a bad mood. It is pretty simple really. When I exercise I am able (most of the time) to replace the stress hormones with feel-good hormones. For me, I have two go-to options; Tai Chi and walking. Please, for the sake of all of us having to suffer your bad moods, get up and move.
Play and have FUN
-I saved the best for last. Don’t tell me how old you are or how busy you are as to why you don’t have more fun in your life. Find your bliss and just do it. What do you love to do? Get up and do it. Make it a meditation where all you focus on is what you are doing in each moment. Fun is relative, so you have to find your own version. The thing about fun, aside from being fun, is that it does something mysterious and wonderful to our mind and body. So many of the happy vibrant elderly will tell you right away that they endured because they didn’t take everything so seriously and they all had ways to have fun.