Managing your Mood

Accepting your situation

As a recent survivor of the pitfalls of depression, it is always important for me to mind my thoughts.  We are said to be mind dwellers, meaning that we internalize everything we feel and think, creating an alternate reality and seldom coming out for air.

As a business owner, I do not have the luxury of falling prey to the comforts of procrastination, well not anymore.  That said, it’s hard for anyone to start, let alone run their own independent gig.  Independent of funding, independent of training, independent of support systems (social and technical), most times it can be a tough pill to swallow, day in and day out.

As a creative, we are seldom satisfied and are our own worst critics.  Highly intelligent but ignorant enough to deny ourselves the freedom that comes with creativity. 

I know that the first paragraph of this post is probably going to throw a few of you off but truth be told, a lot more people need to come terms and accept their mental health situations before they can even begin to find their peace and that takes maturity.

Be aware of your mental state

The purpose of this post is to highlight the effects your mood will have on your productivity, output and your sheer motivation to turn on your laptop.  Even if it is nearing 5 years of age and each time you reach for that pea-shaped icon to boot up, you say a silent prayer that it doesn’t crash.

Minding your mood involves taking note of what turns you on and what ticks you off and being present in that realization.  I am often annoyed when I am not granted the time I need to do my creative work.  Or when I have amazingly creative ideas at 3 am but I dare not get out of bed since I have to be at my 9 to 5 in a few short hours looking fresh and ready to take on the day.

The way you feel will directly impact the quality of work you produce.  In essence, your feelings manifest through your creative work.

Tracking and Managing your Mood

I have created a free printable called the Mood Minder.  Many people feel different things on different days or when certain triggers occur.  We are quick to point fingers for our feelings but in this exercise, I would like to you take an introspective approach. 

·       Why do you feel a certain way about Mondays? 

·       Why does your colleague’s cologne fragrance annoy you? 

·       Why do you enjoy wine so much? (not a joke)

The Mood Minder is a tool I use to keep track of the things that I call triggers.  Things that excite me, that disappoints me, that scares me, that anger me.  I take note of these triggers and try to delve into why it has this effect on my mood and then try to see how I can learn from this.

An example, I have been working in my current job for approximately 9 years, at the same office, with the same boss and it’s been comfortable.  The only thing that gets me down is the daily 2-hour commute.  About a year ago, I got a Kindle e-reader as a gift and I thought that perhaps while stuck in standstill traffic I could read instead of sitting there getting angry but it wasn’t practical,  Then at the beginning of this year, I started listening to podcasts.  Motivational podcasts, creative podcasts, upskilling podcasts, spiritual podcasts and now I look forward to traffic.  I get so excited about what I am about to learn or hear next.  It’s so exhilarating.

The point is, once you’ve identified your negative trigger, you may not be able to change it right away but try to turn it on its head by making it work for you OR find out what it is that is getting to you and why and deal with the underlying reasons (this may require therapy or other forms of support) and once you have identified your positive trigger, DO MORE OF THAT! Or expose yourself to more of that. 

Knowledge is Power

There is nothing more liberating than knowledge. 

Once you understand how your mind works and why you react to circumstances the way that you do, you will start to taste the sweet balance of relief and control.

If you are able to carry this sheet in your journal and complete it throughout the day, that would be a plus because you would be able to affect your choices first hand, immediately.  You will also realize how fast you can move on from situations that no longer serve you. 

Seeing your discomforts on paper has a way of making them tangible.

Thanks for reading and comment below if you have any tips or resources for the tons of emerging business owners out there!