A Christmas Story: How to move from a negative mood to a positive mood

As it’s the month of December and thereby the month of Christmas or as they say in the States where I lived for many years, the holidays, I thought it apt to relay a technique I use to change my mindset and the mindset of others when in a negative state to a more positive state.

Several years ago, my then 8 yr old daughter, came downstairs to the kitchen and was angry and ‘giving out’ about something.  I can’t actually recall what she was complaining about but she was definitely in a bad mood which was both visible from her non-verbal communication as well as her verbal communication.

The kitchen in the house I was renting at the time was large so it housed a large, comfy sofa as well as the regular kitchen units, cooker, white goods and table and chairs. I suggested she sit down on the comfy sofa for a few minutes and then I asked her to close her eyes.  She did close her eyes but was still giving out.  I then asked her to stop talking and listen and answer the questions I put to her.  She sort of settled but I could still see from her body language that she was still angry.  This is how I started our chat – ‘Shauna, tell me about what happened last Christmas morning when you woke up’.  She started to recall and relay her experience of waking up on Christmas morning after Santa had paid his annual visit.  She started off saying how she came into my bedroom with her 2 brothers to wake me up before heading downstairs.  She then stopped her story, opened her eyes and went back to giving out about whatever she was annoyed with.

I asked her to close her eyes again and tell me what happened next.  I continued with this line of questioning and direction to help her break down the experience step-by-step. So, she closed her eyes again and talked through her experience of waking me up to tell me it was Christmas morning and then she relayed how I got out of bed, put on my dressing gown and slippers and then we all made our way down the stairs to the front room.

She recalled that on the way down the stairs, she remembered talking about how she knew Santa had arrived the previous night and that hers and her brothers’ presents would be under the tree.  She continued relaying the full experience, with her eyes closed – she recalled how we all stopped for a moment at the sitting-room door and then we walked into the sitting-room to see all the presents laid out before her.  What was really interesting at this stage of her story telling was that she had become animated and upbeat both in her body language and her voice.  So much so that when she did open her eyes, she said to me ‘Mommy I can’t wait for next Christmas’ then bounced off the sofa and headed back up to her bedroom in a completely different mood to the one she was in earlier.

So, what happened here?  Do I possess magical parenting powers?  No, absolutely not but what I did do was help Shauna change the state of her mind from a negative one to a positive one.

So how does this technique work?

When you recall a positive situation in your life, you also call up and fire the positive neurons associated with that situation which therefore, will change your mood to a positive one. Incidentally, the same thing can happen when we ruminate negatively on a situation, the negative neurons will be called up and therefore you’ll be moved into a negative mood.

I suggest you give adapting your mindset a try – think about a wonderful situation you have experienced and break it down, step-by-step and ‘re-live’ it to get those positive neurons firing and help your mood become upbeat. As always, I’d love to hear your feedback.

Happy Christmas to you all and to my friends in the States, Happy Holidays – may you all have a peaceful, restful and joyous break.