How to Manage Your Moods Starting Now

Driving Your Own Emotions

Sure, we all have emotions. Some are happy type feelings and others are sad. We all know about that (only too well in most cases). But what about all those emotions. We enjoy the good ones and don’t enjoy the crappy ones, but what’re you gonna do? Sometimes you just can’t help feeling how you feel, right? Well, here’s a heads-up. We may have more control (and it might be simpler) than we’ve been thinking.

Abraham Hicks, in his 2004 book Ask and It Is Given described the spectrum of emotions at some length. He outlined a scale of emotions ranging from love, the most positive, to powerlessness, the most negative. This was not a new thought to me, but laying all the emotions out in a straight line where I could see how they interrelated, now that was a new idea.

Below you can see that emotional scale. It’s apparant that the scale is graded from “best” to “worst” and shows the little steps we need to go through if we want to change from where we are right now to where we’d like to be.

Abraham Hicks
The Emotional Guidance Scale

1. Joy/Appreciation/Empowerment/Freedom/Love
2. Passion
3. Enthusiasm/Eagerness/Happiness
4. Positive Expectation/Belief
5. Optimism
6. Hopefulness
7. Contentment
8. Boredom
9. Pessimism
10. Frustration/Irritation/Impatience
11. Overwhelm
12. Disappointment
13. Doubt
14. Worry
15. Blame
16. Discouragement
17. Anger
18. Revenge
19. Hatred/Rage
20. Jealousy
21. Insecurity/Guilt/Unworthiness
22. Fear/Grief/Depression/Despair/Powerlessness

Maybe sometime in the past you’ve found yourself down at the bottom of the emotional pit, sunk deep in powerlessness or grief or despair. When that happens, you know that you should be trying to feel happier. Yeah, we all know that … but … how the honk do we do that? How do we make that huge leap from despair all the way to joy? Short answer – we don’t, and there are two good reasons. First, steps that huge are virtually impossible, and second, we don’t even need to. There’s an easier (and much more logical) way to get ourselves back on the rails.

Bit by Bit

One of the core ideas I took away from the Abraham Hicks book was this: emotional baby steps are perfectly fine; in fact, that’s all we really need.

Let’s take that earlier example: say we’re deep in despair and feeling powerless to do anything about it. I hope you’ve never been there, but it’s likely that you have, and probably on multiple occasions. I know I have.

Here’s a quick story illustrating a realistic way up and out. A friend of mine once told me about this.

Jim was newly married, his wife was expecting and his income was barely covering their expenses. But the real problem was that Jim had never had to carry any responsibility. He was deep into overwhelm and sinking deeper with every passing day.

“My family is pretty closed-up, so I’ve never felt comfortable asking anybody for help – not anybody – and I was struggling alone.” Now, anytime we get depressed, it shows. The people around us know something’s wrong but not what it is.

“After a few weeks of floundering, I finally worked up the courage to ask my new wife to please help me get through this. And she laughed at me.”

“Aw there’s nothing wrong with you,” she told him.

Jim said he was crushed, and he sunk even deeper into black despair. His own family had never been sympathetic, so he didn’t want to talk to them and get pushed away yet again.

“I wallowed in the mud of that swamp for three or four days, and then something shifted.” One morning Jim woke up thinking, “Okay, if you won’t help me, then BG I’ll help myself. I don’t need you or your help. I’ll do it myself, I’ll show you.”

As soon as he got good and angry, he stopped being depressed. He didn’t feel powerless because now there was something he felt that he could do about his situation. And he did. Oh, it wasn’t a straightline rise out of that swamp, but his trend was upward.

“I stayed mad for a long time, but essentially my wife had been right. There wasn’t anything wrong with me, and eventually I realized there was even more I could do. Getting angry was a good step up from hopeless, but I didn’t want to stop and live there.

And the point of this story is that climbing up the scale of emotions is much easier if we take it one small step at a time. Jim might still be depressed to this day if he’d tried to jump from the bottom of the scale straight up to joy, gratitude or enthusiasm.

Another Point

If you ask a hundred people what it’d take for them to finally be happy, you’ll get a lot of similar answers:

  • If I could just win the lottery I’d be thrilled
  • Ditto a new romantic partner
  • Ditto a round-the-world cruise
  • Start my own business
  • Lose five pounds (or fifty)
  • Didn’t look like I look
  • And a hundred other things …

Notice anything about all those wishes? Right! They’re all external stuff. All outer things that we think would change how we feel inside.

But the real way – the only way – to change the way we feel is to change the way we feel. Simple as that.

We know all sorts of self-help techniques to help us manage our inner experience. But mostly we ignore them and wish for stuff. I figure you already know affirmations, meditations, visualizations, self hypnosis, EFT tapping, aroma therapy, acupressure, or possibly something else.

If you’ve tried any (or all) of these techniques and they “didn’t work,” it’s probably because you were using them on the wrong stuff, “swingin’ the wrong end of the axe handle,” as my Grandaddy used to say.

Look at it like this: as long as you haven’t sorted out your inner issues, the out-of-control moods, the habit of despair and self-pity, the refusal even to look at your inner state, then there’s no way on earth you’ll get consistent results with the outer things like money, romance, friendships and health.

But we’re often told that the cure for depression and bad moods is popping some variety of pill. That seems to be the cure of choice for healing professionals who may or may not have dealt with their own demons yet. Just keep that in mind.

Yes, yes, sometimes depressions and mood swings are caused by chemical imbalances in the brain. (But more often they’re not.) So why start by assuming the worst about yourself? Why not, instead, start with the non-side-effect approaches first?

Also keep in mind that for most of us, making ourselves feel better really “ain’t rocket surgery,” as a former president allegedly said. Just break it down into little steps, take those steps, and don’t quit just because it’s sometimes not easy.

So one small step up at a time – that’s how we can manage our moods starting right this very minute.

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