We all experience mood swings from time to time, but for those of us with emotion regulation issues, they can make us feel incredibly dysregulated. When we feel this way, there is often a tendency to want to resist (deny/ignore/fight) the change in mood, which is what NOT to do when having a mood swing. Many of us have found that responding in this way is ineffective.
However, a skill that can be very effective is mindfully applying opposite action, which is an option to work on shifting an unwanted mood or emotion. You're not denying, ignoring, or fighting the skill -- you are consciously noticing it, accepting it, and then working to shift it.
Here are the steps.
First, we accept that the emotion or mood is here for now:
This mood is uncomfortable, but it will pass -- all moods are transient. I will feel better soon.
Second, we ask impulse/behavior the unwanted mood prompts:
For example, for me, last night loneliness led to feelings of deep sadness. Sadness usually causes us to want to withdraw and wallow.
Determine the opposite action - something that will induce the opposite feeling:
My mood swing came on near midnight, so going out and being around others wasn't a real option, but I took to Twitter and connected there. I also began watching a movie that I believed would elicit positive feelings. I have about 20 minutes left of the film, but I believe I can recommend it at this point. If you're feeling down and need a boost in your faith in humanity, I recommend watching Craigslist Joe. It really did help improve my mood. I felt less sad after watching it.
You can watch the trailer here:
You can click here to watch the entire movie at Amazon.
What uncomfortable mood are you experiencing. If you go through the three steps above, what solutions do you come up with to help you shift effectively and mindfully?
Thanks for reading.
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How to Change Your Emotions [If You Want To] - Opposite Action