Getting Comfortable With Your Moods
Another important practice in becoming comfortable with your moods is the practice of nonjudgement. This concept is an important part of naming your feelings; when we gain a better understanding of our moods, doing so without assigning good or bad labels allows us to process them with objectivity and compassion. So often we punish ourselves for our feelings, which usually only worsens them. When we practice nonjudgement with ourselves, we are able to discern whether we are feeling helpful or unhelpful emotions without beating ourselves up about it. We are not “bad” for having “bad” emotions, we are simply a human being navigating complex human experiences. This is a more gracious path to change.
Once we have become good at identifying our emotions, we are then able to practice the concept of “sitting with our emotions.” This can be challenging at first, but with practice, it can be a powerful tool in our toolbox. For example, if you have identified that you are feeling anxious and have assigned neither a good or bad label to that feeling, sitting with that anxious feeling allows us to accept it, love ourselves through it, and carry on. Meditation can be a useful tool for this, but so can simply pausing, acknowledging the feeling, and going forward without trying to force an immediate change. (Something that we might have done through alcohol use in the past.) This builds our mental and emotional muscles over time, and the next time you sit with an emotion it will likely be a little bit easier.
Please note that if you feel that your mood has been significantly impacted for an extended amount of time, this may be something your doctor can help with. Contact your medical provider if you have any concerns. If you or someone you know has thoughts of self-harm, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.