Pride, compassion, envy, melancholy What feeling invades you today? Moods are more subtle than emotions but can greatly affect us. We can repress them, hide them or reject them, but we will be rejecting our humanity. Being aware of them will help us to be in balance.
Moods, unlike primary emotions, are less intense, but more lasting and influential they may seem weak, discreet, easy to forget, but we underestimate their power and influence, capable of ruining our day.
Our life is colored by the little nuances of the soul. Moods such as melancholy or good humor influence us more than great emotions. They all teach us something, so it is important to accept and love them, because they are, ultimately, what makes us human.
DIFFERENCES BETWEEN EMOTIONS AND MOODS
Pride, compassion, envy, melancholy. We could define the states of mind as the mental contents – conscious or unconscious – in which states of the body, subtle emotions and automatic thoughts are mixed. The role they play and their influence on who we are and what we do is immense, yet we pay little attention to them. But we can approach them, as they offer us very valuable information; it is only necessary to stop: stop working, running, cursing the world.
Moods do not necessarily have a precise object like emotions, which does not imply that they are without cause, but that this is not so obvious. In general, emotions are a “response” to something that “comes” to us from outside; moods, on the other hand, can also reach us from within, be self-produced. Emotions radicalize and simplify our perception of events; moods complicate it, but make it more subtle.
Emotions are ‘social agitators” that modify our relationship with others and with the world; rather, moods are “internal agitators” that modify our relationship with ourselves and our vision of the world – which can lead us to change many things, but in a slower way. Emotions drive us towards external action, and moods, first of all, towards internal reflection.
Moods can persevere in the wake of strong emotions (the state in which we find ourselves after great joy or great disappointment), and they can also represent the terrain that facilitates them: late payment, which favors strokes of sadness and of melancholy; the resentment that waves of anger prepare; panic erupting against a background of anxiety. First the gray clouds come and then the storm breaks. But the essence of our mental meteorology is based more on moods: after all, we spend little time under the influence of anger and much more under the influence of our emotions. Irritations. Longer with nostalgia than with true despair. More time with concerns than with great crisis of anguish.
HOW TO KNOW WHAT STATE OF MIND INVADES US
Our moods are always there, like a background noise, but to perceive them it is necessary to stop and listen; as if we were walking through the forest and stopped to listen: we would then perceive the sound of the wind, the sound of the trees moving, the chirping of the birds.
Stopping to listen to the murmur within us is usually enough at first; if we want to go further, it will be necessary for us to learn to listen and better observe our moods, using, for example, meditation.
The meditation Zen precisely gives us a beautiful metaphor. We can observe our moods by staying close to them, like a walker who enters a waterfall and remains sheltered, between the rock and the water that falls with force, trembling a little, something wet too, but protected and in a privileged place.
One of the goals of meditation called “mindfulness” is precisely to stand aside for a moment and watch moods go by, break them down, understand them but without trying to stop their flow. Can anyone stop the water from a waterfall? Now that we know what a mood is, we can ask ourselves what distinguishes them from an emotion. The answer could be that the state of mind is a kind of evolved and civilized cousin of the emotions that have become more obsolete; they are, so to speak, subtle emotions.
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