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Staying Conscious of your Mood and Mind

December 9, 2011
Staying “conscious” and being “present”  are the buzz words of self help and  psycho therapy  today. The Power of Now and The Secret are largely based on these concepts. Many forms of marriage and couples counseling (including Imago Therapy) are largely based on the principle of improving the relationship by staying conscious.
Staying conscious involves being aware of your own mood regularly enough so that you can be on top of any shifts that occur. Swings in mood can result from an external trigger such as an email from your boss or a curious glance from your partner. Swings can also occur from internal triggers such your body’s own (ultracadian ) hormonal rhythm. Shifts can also be triggered by your own internal dialogue.
Be aware since -even small irritations or stressor influence how we process information and therefore effecting automatically your thinking style. Think about how quickly at times  you can  go from an open attitude to a defensive one. When we feel stressed it effects how you perceive the world and  your own  existence . Most likely you will see things are more threatening and problematic until your emotions simmer.
As your emotions simmer,  your ability to see things with more flexibility with improve.
Why does your view change and things become more tolerable with psychological distance?
Emotion are communicated in the physical body through muscle, hormones and neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters (NT’s ) are responsible for creating thoughts-if you stopped producing NT’s you would stop thinking. So  mood shifts result in shifts in  thinking because your Neurotransmitters are firing off more intensely.
We may not necessarily believe completely different opinions but we are more likely to have shifts in views.
For example when someone we are close to makes a comment that feels  hurtful to you.
At the time the comment is made you have a choice between seeing it “as an innocent comment from a loved one who said something we would just  prefer not to hear ” or  as “an awful and intentionally hurtful” .
The  first way of thinking is allows us to preserve the underlying emotional connection in the relationships  while the second damages  the relationship and stores away emotional material about the event.  If you want this relationship to repair or stay healthy I suggest you to take on the first attitude as quickly and as much as possible.  
Recognizing that at the time of the infraction you are more likely to see it as more problematic and hurtful can help you can some mental flexibility and control.
What to do
1. Practice being conscious of your own mood daily- Check in and track your mood multiple times a day
2. Meditate- Not surprising meditation and yoga therapy helps you become more present with less effort as you go through your daily routine
3. Practice being  in Control: If your mood has sunken take accountability that you are likely to see the next few interactions in some extreme fashion so before you bark you might want to communicate with those around you what you are feeling. and then check in to make sure your view of the situation is accurate
4. Communicate: Be Smart –Ask  for things that are Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Reasonable and Time limited
5.Work on controlling or modifying your thinking mind. Ask yourself “how do I want to see what just happened? “
If you are in a relationship with someone you believe is  generally a good person or the people you work with have some decency you can attribute to them, then ask yourself “How do I want to want to view what just happened”.  If you want to continue to see these people as good then practice it. For example, “ I want to think that my husband is late because he cannot keep track of time “ vs seeing it as “my husband is late because he does not respect me”.
6  Breathe and take a break from thinking when you are worked up. Become conscious of your breathe and things will become more neutral in your mind.
7. Psychotherapy sessions using CBT, Yoga Therapy and EMDR can help you live more consciously.
For more information about scheduling an initial counseling or psychotherapy appointment at either our Midtown or Upper East Location in Manhattan.  NYC  contact us today. We offer a free phone consultation with Dr Albin
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