The Anatomy of a Bad Mood

December 05, 2012 by John Andrew Williams

Moody. In a funk. Down in the dumps. In the doldrums. The blues. Bad moods are unavoidable. Everyone gets gets in a bad mood sometimes. What makes a difference is how people respond.

Martin Seligman in Learned Optimism points to three beliefs about being in a bad mood that can have a long and negative influence. Those three beliefs are that the situation is permanent, personal, and pervasive. Next time you’re in a bad mood check it out.

See if you’ve fallen in one of the “Three P” traps.

  • Do you think the situation is permanent?
  • Or do you have a belief that the circumstances will change?
  • Do you believe it’s something personal about you?
  • Or that you can change your approach and preparation?
  • Do you believe that it’s pervasive?
  • Or something that has happened in isolation?

Your bad mood offers you the opportunity to see the beliefs and structure that you have in place.

When I get in a bad mood, I tend to negate all the good stuff in my life by exaggerating all the awesome stuff in the lives of others.

Permanent? Sure.

Personal? You bet.

Pervasive? Of course.

The way out is to recognize the pattern, then wait for the weather to change.

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