A friend gave me a book last summer called, "The Human Operating System: An Owner's Manual" by the Senn Delany Company. It contained one of the most helpful and practical tools I have ever come across, and it has become a part of my daily reflection time.
This little tool called, "The Mood Elevator" is now taped in the cover of my journal. Here's a the key idea:
The moment-to-moment fluctuations in the quality of our thinking affect the way we feel, or our moods. When experiencing higher-quality thinking, we have feelings at the higher end of the elevator, such as gratitude, generosity, creativity, insight, appreciation, compassion and understanding. When we are experiencing lower-quality thinking, we have feelings like impatience, frustration, hostility, anxiety and judgment. Higher-quality thinking gives us greater "emotional intelligence." If we can learn to identify the quality of our thinking, we will begin to make better choices, exhibit more effective behaviors more often, and avoid less-than-effective behaviors.
We’re all human … we all ride up and down the Mood Elevator. We cannot always be at the top of our game, nor will we always be at the bottom. We may visit a level like "judgmental" or "frustrated," but its human to feel…sometimes we feel good and sometimes we don't. But if it’s just a feeling I can choose different thoughts to dwell on that will move me up a few levels.
Unfortunately, you've probably met people who seem to have permanently set up shop on these levels. Being aware can help us avoid being "trapped" at the bottom of the Mood Elevator. When we live according to our feelings. We will miss out on God-given opportunities. Doors will close for us that should have been opened.
Logging your mood state daily during a period of regular reflection can be extremely helpful in "seeing" why you feel the way you feel, and then chosing to move up to the next leve. When I log my mood, it helps me to get present to what is driving me. My practice is to log my mood, write a few sentences about why this might be so, then choose the mood I level where I want to be. Then during a time of prayer, I will ask God's help to specifically to move up .
Getting quiet in the presence of God, "counting your blessings," choosing gratitude, will actually improve the quality of your thinking and improve your relationships.
Let me know what you think!
Source: Senn, Larry. The Human Operating System: An Owner's Manual. Long Beach, CA: Senn Delaney Leadership Consulting, 2010