Have you ever wondered why, at times, you wake up in the morning in a positive, upbeat mood and other days, you arise feeling lethargic and negative? Do you ever experience a wild roller coaster ride of oscillating positive and negative moods? This article demystifies why you experience many different mood states.
Practical neuroscience provides clarity on how your brain responds to continuous changes from conscious and unconscious thoughts, your physical environment and interactions with people. If you live in the “real world,” you likely experience a wider range of mood states than someone who lives a life of solitude and meditation. This is because your “mood elevator” operating system is influenced by constant, rapid-fire sensory inputs, changing demands, distractions and “craziness” from other people. The internet, movies, TV and other social media also have a profound effect on your moods. Therefore, everyone experiences his or her own mood states as well as the expressed mood states of others.
Every conscious and subconscious thought, memory and sensory input is capable of creating a “feeling” or distinct emotion. That’s why dreams, songs, images, certain people, different subjects, situations, places, particular words, memorable dates, tastes and scents activate and cause diverse emotional states. The smell of freshly baked cookies might bring forth a comforting or depressing feeling, depending on what happened during a memorable and emotionally charged event. The mood state phenomenon is a big component of human neurodiversity, which makes each of us unique.
The following “mood elevator” shows different levels or “floors,” where you may be living, depending on what’s going on in your “inside and outside world” at a given moment.
- Penthouse – The “penthouse” is the highest level of your brain and is called your neocortex (upper brain).
- Mood State: Being the best you can be and bringing out the best in others
- Characteristics: Clear thinking, motivated, focused, forgiving, serene, creative
- Above Ground Floors – These levels correspond to the positive side of your emotional center, called your limbic or mammalian emotional system (middle brain).
- Mood State: Positive and feeling good, positive impact on others and your environment
- Characteristics: Self esteem, respectful, safe and trusting, kind and caring, happy, cooperative
- Basement Floors – These levels correspond to the lower level and negative side of your “middle brain”
- Mood State: Negative and feeling bad, creating negative environments
- Characteristics: Anxious, confused, resentful, judgmental, defensive, depressed, aggressive
- Sub Basement. Your sub-basement is the lowest level of your brain and it deals with survival issues (“reptilian” brain).
- Mood State: Animal you
- Characteristics: Survival and self preservation
In conclusion, the human brain has three levels in which to learn, think, process and express itself. They are the neocortex (“penthouse”), limbic system (above and below ground emotional centers) and the reptilian brain (sub-basement). Moods can and do change with shifts in how and what you think about. If thoughts create moods, you can change your mood state by changing your thinking. Replace negative thoughts with their positive counterparts. Change your thinking, change your world.