1. We all get in a bad mood occasionally, but some people are always in a bad mood
2. Being in a bad mood doesn’t solve any problem, nor does it make anybody feel better
3. Cultivating self-awareness is the first step towards tranquillity
Everybody gets in a bad mood sometimes. It’s just inevitable.
But some people seem to be in a bad mood all the time.
You’ve probably seen those people before. Those who get annoyed at a crying child at a restaurant. Those who overtly frown at people with a stroller. Those who don’t even say hi to their colleagues in the morning. Those who yell at their subordinates in front of others when they made a mistake. The list goes on…
“Mood” is a state of mind or feeling reflected in our behaviour, facial expression or tone of voice.
Bad moods can be a useful tool when you have an urgent need to communicate some message to others. Expressing a bad mood (e.g. anger) has the power to convey a message instantly to other people without using words.
For example, when you ordered a black coffee, and the barista is about to pour milk into your coffee, you might shout “Hey!” to stop her from doing so.
Using “bad mood” is a good idea in situations like this when something that can’t be undone is about to happen, and you need to stop it as quickly as possible.
Other than that, being in a bad mood is unnecessary because we have a better way of communication — speaking.
Only babies are an exception to this rule. Since babies can’t speak properly, they need to use their moods to communicate whenever they’re hungry or need to be changed. Of course, it’s acceptable for babies to be in a bad mood because we know they can’t use words nor solve their problems by themselves.
The problem, however, is that many adults nowadays are still acting like a baby.
Even though they’re mature enough to speak and address the causes of their problems by themselves, they resort to bad moods, hoping things will somehow change.
They are constantly in a bad mood, not because they have an urgent need to communicate some message, but just for the sake of it.
Such “chronic bad mood” is a disease many people suffer from in the modern world. Those people are always grumpy even in situations where being in a bad mood never solve anything, nor does it make anybody feel better.
Will glaring at the crying child at the restaurant stop him from crying?
Will ranting/insulting others on Twitter make society a better place?
The answer is almost always “No.”, but we do it anyway.
Why did we become so grumpy all the time? Maybe because we’re exposed to other people’s bad moods 24/7 in real life and on the Internet. Such chronic exposure to negativity can consume you from within little by little. And before you know it, you’re one of those people.
It’s important to understand that being in a bad mood is only for babies. Adults don’t need it unless we’re in very specific situations.
“Chronic bad mood” is nothing but harm.
It doesn’t matter why you might be in a bad mood. It could be because you’re hungry or didn’t sleep well, but people will remember you as a grumpy person regardless.
Just realising this is a big step forward. It will help you become more self-aware of your mood and emotions.
A consciousness of wrongdoing is the first step to salvation. You have to catch yourself doing it before you can correct it. — Seneca
Being in a good mood all the time is almost impossible. But if we’re aware enough, we can catch ourselves getting in a bad mood. Then we can decide to go along or not.
However, it takes a lot of effort and discipline to notice changes in your mood and correct it. But just like how weight-lifting makes your muscle stronger, the more you practice self-awareness, the easier it gets to step back from your impulses.
So try to pay extra attention to changes in your emotions and mood as often as you can. If you catch yourself getting in a bad mood (i.e. getting angry or grumpy), take a deep breath and ask yourself “Is this the smartest response?” “Is me getting grumpy change or improve the situation?”.
This exercise will help you get closer to tranquillity.
“The nearer a man comes to a calm mind, the closer he is to strength.” — Marcus Aurelius