Choosing Sunshine

I had a very happy day today. I’m not sure why. It could be my recent exercise program or a good night’s sleep. It could be a recent word of encouragement or an answer to prayer. I’m not sure, but I was actually giggling to myself on the elevator over some mundane thought.

What’s really strange is that I had a hard day yesterday. I was in a gloomy, anxious state of mind for most of the day. I started to think about moods and how they spread.

On a good day, I can start conversations with strangers. I don’t mind going out of my way to help people. I joke around; I’m playful. When I’m in a good mood, people around me seem to be in a good mood. It’s really a great place to be.

Why aren’t more people in that place? What makes the lady at the BMV so full of contempt? What makes a dentist argue with his assistant? What makes a mom raise her voice with her son over bedtime?

Is it more rare to feel happy or to feel upset? Or does that depend on the person? Is your mood within your control, or beyond it?

According psyweb.com, “mood is the way a person feels inside, the experience of emotion, sustained and predominant internal emotional experience.”

Yesterday, even though I had a rough morning, after an hour and a half with my Optimist club, I was smiling. What changed? I stopped dwelling on my problems and my feelings. I was focused on the people who were there, and making sure they felt comfortable. I was focused on the task of running the meeting.

Feelings come, unbidden. When something causes us to be angry or fearful, we have to deal with it, or decide it’s not worth getting upset over. We can change our feelings by changing what we think. We can change our feelings by focusing on something else, especially other people.

If I can think differently, I can change my feelings, and therefore change my mood. I can choose my mood. I can choose sunshine, even on a rainy, gloomy day like today.

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