Taking Permanent Control of Your Moods

Your Mental State Is in Your Hands

I sure do hope you’re not typical … because the typical person has little control over how they’ll feel when they get up tomorrow.

Most days, they feel like a pinball. They crawl out of bed expecting that — again today — they’re going to be bounced from one obstacle to another, pushed this way and that, and rolled helplessly into an unending stream of unexpected experiences.

Of course, if you study self help, you probably try to take some kind of control. You set goals (sometimes), and you do a bit of meditation and thought exercises (more or less regularly). Maybe you do a little manifestation or attraction work, perhaps some affirmations or hypnosis (when you think of it).

And, oh the hours we all put into books, CDs and seminars.

But the results …

Honestly now — are you getting the results you want? Consistently, every day; every week; every year? Or are you still having too many pinball days?

If you’d like to have more say in how you feel tomorrow morning and every morning after that, for the rest of your days, listen up.

This is going to be pretty simple. Unfortunately, however, your mind, being trained to think it’s all complicated, is going to try and reject it. As it has been trained to do, your mind will almost certainly try to trick you into remaining a pinball person. Why? Well, in most cases that’s just the way our minds have been trained to work, so they just do the job as it was given to them.

I suggest that we not waste time on the “why” and instead look at what actually happens. After all, the real point is results … outcomes.

The Quick Overview: You’re in a Trance

Yes, a trance — or more specifically a constantly shifting series of trances. There is never a moment when you’re not in a trance. Every minute of every day you’re in a state of flow into one trance state and then another.

You doubt it?

If somebody says something nice to you, you instantly begin feeling good. Or if your boss calls you into his office and reams you out, you go into depression. Or anger. Or resentment.

You’ll stay in that particular mood (trance) for a while, until something else happens that has a large enough impact to shift you into a different trance. Each of these changes is a mental state that is induced from the outside.

Now I want you to pay close attention here … every one of your moods is a trance. Please don’t miss the significance of this because it’s more useful than you may have ever realized. This is what’s going to release you permanently from pinball land.

FACT 1: Every mood, every mental state is a discrete, separate and identifiable trance. It can be induced with certain specific cues or prompts. Mood = Mental State = Trance.

FACT 2: Some trances are more useful to you than others are.

FACT 3: Once you clearly identify which prompts and cues trigger which trance (mood), you have a simple tool for selecting which mental states you will spend the majority of your time in.

What this means is:

  • Although others often control our trances (sometimes deliberately, but usually unwittingly), all we need is the right information to exercise control for ourselves.
  • We COULD be consciously choosing our own trances (moods) most of the time.

Please don’t think, “That sounds too strange, and it probably takes too much effort.” That’s exactly what most people think. As I said earlier, I hope you’re not typical; typical people live only the tiniest scrap of the life that’s available to them.

They reject the whole idea because it sounds either too simple, too alien or too hard.

You’ve read the books and listened to the CDs. You already know how to do many of these things, but I’ll bet you’re not taking full advantage of the things you already know. If not, then why not start by trying this simple little process?

From High to Low and Back to High In 30 Minutes

When I was in my teens and twenties, I suffered from chronic depression.

It went on and on and on for years.

Then one day in my late twenties, for some unknown reason I was feeling wonderful. Top of the world. This was extremely rare, so I was reveling in it.

By that time I had already read dozens (perhaps hundreds) of self help books, and I was thoroughly familiar with the concept that our thoughts control our lives. Because I was feeling so good — even adventurous — I decided to do a simple little experiment.

I began repeating “I feel terrible. I’m so sad. Nobody likes me. I don’t have a friend in the world. Things are awful and getting worse by the second.”

On and on I went, repeating gloomy, depressing thoughts to myself.

Please notice that I didn’t have any burning desire to be depressed. I was just curious. Also note that I was feeling wonderful, so the depressing thoughts were all untrue when I began repeating them.

But even though I was clearly lying to myself, within 15 minutes I was sunk in some of the blackest, darkest despair I had ever experienced.

Its onset was so sudden, and its grip on my feelings so stifling, that it terrified me.

Like most people who get depressed, I usually just curled up and suffered passively, but this time I was frightened enough to try something different. I remember thinking, “I just repeated some words, and that got me into this. Maybe other words can get me back out of it.”

I honestly didn’t think it would work because I’d never done it before, but I decided to try anyway.

“Everybody loves me. I’m everyone’s favorite person. I am super successful at everything I do. I love getting up every morning because each day is better then the one before. I enjoy being around all the wonderful people I know.”

There was a huge component of desperation in my thoughts, but I kept at it, and within another fifteen minutes, I was back feeling terrific again. It was like I’d never been depressed.

Please notice that this time also I was lying to myself — and was even more aware of it. But I kept on with it, and soon the results came.

That’s why I’m never impressed when I hear somebody claim, “Affirmations never work for me because I always know I’m lying to myself.” Well, that’s a phony belief. I know from personal experience that it doesn’t matter whether you feel like you’re lying or not.

Maybe you’ve run into that same feeling of “I’m lying.” Well if so, relax. Even if it IS a lie, it’s only untrue to your conscious mind.

The thing is, you’re not talking to your conscious mind. You’re addressing your subconscious; you’re issuing instructions to be picked up and implemented at the inner level.

Maybe you’ve seen someone go with friends to a restaurant and when it’s their turn to order, they announce something like, “I’m having pancakes and an omelet.”

If somebody in the group is a very literal person, they could pipe up with: “No you’re not “having” that food; it’s still in the future. There’s no food in front of you yet, so you’re obviously lying.”

Of course anybody with even a hint of good manners would never say that to a friend. You know the sentence is expressing expectations — something that’ll be received in the near future.

But even though we wouldn’t say such a rude thing to another person, some of us (most of us) say similar things to ourselves. And we keep doing it, on and on.

Think about it. We can shade the figures in our income tax return. We can consistently drive five or ten miles an hour over the speed limit. We can tell friends that we weigh ten (or more) pounds less than our real weight. We can even tell our spouse, “No — really — you look fabulous in those pants.”

We can do all that without a twinge of guilt, but when it comes to suggesting to ourselves that we’re rich and happy, then suddenly we become flaming moralists; we cannot bear to tell a lie.

Oh my, aren’t we humans strange animals sometimes?

Mastering Your Moods

Jack London, author of “Call of the Wild” and other adventure novels once wrote, “You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.”

He was commenting on what it takes to be a professional.

When a professional writer sits down to work, she doesn’t just wait for results, hoping that the muse will visit today. No, she proactively begins writing. As a result, she produces a certain number of words dependably and predictably. And she does it now; today; every day. She produces dependable quality on a dependable schedule.

By an odd coincidence, the same characteristics that make a good professional writer (dependability and focused, proactive effort) are found in all successes. This is what London called “Going after inspiration (results) with a club.”

I love that image. It conjures up such a powerful picture in the mind.

Is it just slightly brutal? Perhaps, but definitely forceful. It doesn’t let little, inconsequential things get in the way of survival. It’s proactive and dynamic rather than passive. It’s determined, oriented toward producing specific results. Notice I said PRODUCING results, not just drifting into them. Or even worse, waiting for permission from somebody.

And if that’s what it takes to make a piece of writing happen, then it’s doubly true for keeping your own thoughts and moods on track.

So let’s return now to the notion that your every mood is a distinct trance and that each one has its own set of triggers and cues which you can learn to use deliberately.

Finding Your Own Control Buttons

If you could identify even one or two of your habitual mental states and take conscious control of them, wouldn’t that start making your life a little easier?

Let’s say you could learn how to turn ON your feelings of enthusiasm any time you wanted to?

Or what if you could turn OFF feelings of discouragement at will?

Both of those things are so easy it’s laughable, and yet we have a habit of letting ourselves get mired in the swamp of despondency, where we can’t even muster up the energy to defend our own mental state.

In a word, we don’t train ourselves to take control and choose our own trance.

There are many wonderful and effective techniques for doing this. NLP (NeuroLinguistic Programming) has a number of surprisingly fun ways to train your own mind to go the way you want it to.

Other approaches include The Sedona Method, EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques), even simple garden variety affirmations, if you do them with real intention.

Now, if you aren’t familiar with any of these, do a quick Google search. You’ll find tons of free and valuable information on them, as well as many other ways for you to take rapid control of your mental state.

And if you ARE familiar with them and aren’t bothering to use them, then it’s time to get busy practicing them. You have the means to take back control of every aspect of your life.

So do it. Or as the Nike people used to say, “JUST do it.”

Do I need to point out, however, that the purposeĀ of this is not to review techniques which you probably already know.

Your head is filled with more than enough techniques and facts and methodologies. No, what you really need is to leapfrog past all the “learning more and more ABOUT it.” That’s where most people are stalled. Instead go directly to the action and results phase. The doing. So do the following:

ACTION POINT 1:

Identify two of your most frequent moods (or trances); a positive mood that makes you feel more empowered, and a negative one that tends to make you feel less empowered.

Just write down these two moods or mental states.

You might write:

  • Enthusiasm versus discouragement
  • Love versus jealousy
  • Confidence versus helplessness
  • Happiness versus loneliness

Just write down your two mental states.

ACTION POINT 2:

Now under each of these two items, list some of the things that can throw you straight into that mental state or trance.

For confidence, you might list praise from your boss and friends. Or it could be remembering past successes. Or thinking about positive results that you expect to come from performing well.

Just list the things that typically, in your experience, have the power to change you to that mental state.

And for the opposite trance — helplessness, for example — you might list things like criticism from boss and peers, or the time everybody laughed at you in eighth grade, or huge, looming images of failure and disgrace.

I don’t know what cues and stimuli have the power to change your mental state, but you know. You know them all too well because you’re going through them all the time. So whatever they are, write them down.

ACTION POINT 3:

Start using the cues for your positive trance more often. Use them consciously and deliberately to build a habit of going directly to a mental state that will help you live life more comfortably.

Likewise, anytime you recognize some of the negative stimuli, you can counter them with the positive thoughts and images you have listed. As you go forward, you’ll uncover additional stimuli to add to your list.

Now, if you’ll practice this at your leisure, when there’s no pressure, you’ll have the start of a new mental skill. You’ll be more consciously aware of your mental climate from moment to moment. Then, when something starts shifting you away from your desired state into a mood you don’t want, you’ll be ready. You’ll have mastered the power to take back control.

There’s an old military truism: “When the shooting starts, men don’t rise to the occasion, they default to their level of training.”

If you’ll put yourself through a kind of “basic training” for commanding your own mind, you’ll be ready the next time the pudding hits the fan.

And soon you’ll be wondering why you allowed yourself to live like a pinball for so long.

Your mind will no longer be stampeded blindly this way and that by random, outside influences. Instead, you’ll consciously run your own mind and select the trances and mental states that are most useful and comfortable for you.

All it takes is:

First, notice what’s happening,
Second, figure out what the triggers are, and
Third, practice using those triggers consciously.

And that’s it. Now, where’s that pen and paper?

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