8 Tips to Navigate the Mood Elevator Through the Holidays
The Mood Elevator is a graphic that helps illustrate the human experience in our day to day lives. This concept acts as a human dashboard to help you have more awareness of your mood, can help you take action to spend more time at the top of the Mood Elevator, and help you do the least amount of damage when you’re down at the bottom.
During this upcoming holiday season, it can either be a time to spend a lot of time up the Mood Elevator, but it can also add some added stress, chaos, and frustration in our lives. I wrote this article to help you navigate the Mood Elevator during the next few months.
Here are 8 tips to help you better ride The Mood Elevator this holiday season:
- See if you can slow down just a bit this year and not make it so hectic even if you don’t get all those gifts purchased and everything done. The greatest gift you can give loved ones is your undistracted presence. The higher states of the Mood Elevator come naturally when we have a quieter mind while the lower levels are accompanied by a busy mind. Stop and take a deep breath periodically and say to yourself “Be Here Now.”
- Raise the spirits of loved ones in your life by showing them you value and appreciate them. Gifts are great but a sincere “what I appreciate about you” and plenty of thank you’s for being in my life make an even bigger difference. Appreciation is an express button on the Mood Elevator for those who receive it. It can also do the same for the giver.
- With everything going on during this time of the year, be sure to take care of yourself. Just as we are more likely to catch colds if we are run down physically, so too are we more likely to slide down the Mood Elevator when we are run down physically. Getting adequate sleep is best way to avoid that. Exercise is good for the body but it is also a natural mood booster even if it’s just quick walk during the day.
- Know that even in the season of joy, giving, and family it is normal to visit the lower floors of the Mood Elevator. If you find yourself momentarily in a down mood, don’t judge yourself- it’s what makes us human. Instead of giving power to that mood, recognize that it’s there and then let it pass like a cloud in the sky. Noticing you are in a “not so great mood” is a good first step to moving past it. But, while down there remember your thinking is unreliable so proceed with caution.
- Maintain perspective by counting your blessings. Life can get hectic during the holiday season and it’s easy to go to “irritated and bothered” on the Mood Elevator. During this season it is especially useful to take a few moments each day to reflect on what you can be grateful for. Most of the times we momentarily drop down the elevator it’s because we have lost perspective. We get focused on minor negatives and get out of touch with the blessings in our life and what the holiday season is really about.
- Make a list of things you do that raise your spirits. This list can be called your pattern interrupts, which are healthy tactics that can help you escape your spiraling negative thoughts. They can include exercise, calling a good friend, watching a funny YouTube video, or taking a walk. If you find yourself stuck in a low mood rut during the holidays, refer to this list and use it.
- Choose to be curious rather than judgmental. We all have family members or friends that we don’t necessarily agree with in terms of their viewpoints, opinions, or maybe their actions. If we decide to be judgmental of them, we’re not only potentially hurting our relationship with that person, but we’re also hurting ourselves by pushing ourselves down the Mood Elevator. So at the dinner table, when that particular family member says something you don’t agree with, try using curiosity instead. Ask yourself, “hmm I wonder why they see it that way?” You may end up learning something new and you’ll avoid sliding down the Mood Elevator.
- Find a way to help others. Ideally the holiday season is about giving not receiving. It is not about us but about those we love and those in need. Whether it is an extra donation to feed the homeless or contributing time or gifts to those less fortunate, this is the time of giving but in the giving we receive. We receive those higher mood state feelings like compassion for others and gratitude for what we have.
In my book The Mood Elevator, I provide a variety of tips and tools that will help you better understand your human dashboard as well as help you navigate the daily up and down ride of the Mood Elevator.