Every year one adult in four, along with one child in ten, will have a mental health issue. These conditions can profoundly affect literally millions of lives, affecting the capability of these individuals to make it through the day, to sustain relationships, and to maintain work.
The stigma attached to mental health causes a damaging, albeit ill-informed, attitude, making it more difficult for those affected to pursue help. According to UK estimates, only about one-fourth of those with mental health problems undergo ongoing treatment. By stark contrast, the vast majority of those affected with these problems are faced with a variety of issues, ranging from isolation to uncertainty on where to get help or information, to relying on the informal support of family, friends or colleagues.*
*Text credit: https://www.awarenessdays.com
Understanding Moods and Emotions
For positive well-being it is important to be aware of moods, thoughts, feelings and emotions and to be able to express them appropriately. We all experience a range of emotions and moods on an ongoing basis, and it is perfectly OK to do so. We may often think others are judging us for feeling a certain way, or feel guilty or bad about our own feelings, but we are all beautiful souls transitioning through life and our emotions are an expression of the essence of who we are in any given moment. To deny any part of ourselves, therefore, is missing a wonderful opportunity to learn. In human interaction, our emotions guide us to behave in certain ways and protect us from potential harm – to be wary or on guard with certain people, or trusting and open with others. This intuitive wisdom comes from within.
By learning to understand our emotions we become empowered. By recognizing physical symptoms that accompany certain feelings we learn to control our minds and actions. By thinking through our emotions we apply logic which sets us in the right direction for positive growth. The more intelligent we are about our emotions, the more self-aware we become.
How The Mood Cards can help
The Mood Cards enable deep and meaningful conversations within a structured framework. The cards are based on cognitive behavioural therapy, mindfulness and positive psychology. They provide a combination approach to positive mental health and well-being – an opportunity to identify with moods and emotions, and a chance to think things through with guided questions for self-exploration, followed by an affirmation for positive thinking. Furthermore, the colours on the cards reflect the colours of the chakras, allowing a connection with the area in the body where the emotion is felt, or where additional strength is needed.
Being mindfully self-aware, and then using cognition and logic to gain understanding, is an effective way to bring about healing and positive change. Sitting with your feelings in a mindful way allows you to fully experience the best and the worst of how you might feel. This process is transformational.
Affirmations, on the other hand, are powerful thoughts that can plant seeds of change. Our thoughts can become our realities – and we get to choose them.
There are huge benefits to understanding moods and emotions. In fact, people who understand their emotions are better equipped to manage relationships more skilfully, and cope more ably with life in general. Being more aware of yourself enables you to be more self-accepting, more sensitive to others and more empathic. Understanding yourself will lead to clearer thinking, more motivation and a healthy life balance.
Stress and Calm
Many people talk about the possibility of being calm, peaceful, at ease, without really believing they can ever achieve such a desirable state of mind. Life itself seems to have inbuilt characteristics that make this impossible. If it isn’t one thing troubling us, making us anxious or stressed, it’s another. Unease comes to be seen as a permanent aspect of our inner landscape – part of ourselves.
The basic principle behind this book is that the perception of stress as unavoidable is untrue: unease is not part of ourselves, it is a response we make and, like all responses, it falls within our powers of control. We can choose the way of calm.
At times, our circumstances may be more than usually challenging. We may be under pressure from juggling more than one role, or there may have been some shock that has stopped us in our tracks – perhaps redundancy, or a flood in the home, or the loss of someone dear.
Then again, we might feel continually troubled because we are in an unrewarding relationship or job, cannot pay our bills or have reasons buried deep in our past that foster a low opinion of our own worth. For either of these two kinds of difficulties – the acute and the chronic – there are strategies we can bring to bear to regain our inner peace.
This book concentrates on two areas of experience where we can effectively make changes for the better – our thoughts and our actions. A third area, our emotions, is less controllable. Attempting to suppress an emotion would be self-defeating in any case, causing a build-up of confusion and anxiety. A more productive approach is always to acknowledge the emotions you feel and then make choices independently of them. This is a technique that can be learned.
To reaffirm a key sentence above, we can choose the way of calm.
This choice will involve some kind of change, in either our circumstances or the way we respond to them, or both. Either type of change might fall anywhere on the spectrum, from easy to challenging. Change, whether self-initiated or imposed on us externally, can be seen as inherently stressful or as a journey of adventure: again we have a choice. Much will depend upon our attitude to risk and to the unknown future; and upon whether we can draw on our own strengths and on support, both practical and emotional, from other people.
Unease is often fuelled by dissatisfaction. An invaluable exercise is to consider whether any dissatisfaction we have with any dimension of our lives might be illusory. Dissatisfaction implies a view of how things ought to be, and we would do well to ask ourselves whether that view is founded on false assumptions. Often, if we know how to look, we can find happiness near at hand, in our existing situation, rather than in some distant place on which we set our sights. Related to this is the question of gratitude – what we take for granted, what we would truly appreciate if we stopped churning over our hopes and fears and started to really focus on what we have now.
Our values, and the degree by which we try to live by them, also play a major part in our journey towards peace. Two important elements here are our authenticity and our compassion – the way we relate to ourselves and the way we relate to others.
Meditation and other mind–body–spirit practices can be enormously helpful on the way of peace, and this book recommends that you build an appropriate discipline into your life. But the main emphasis in these pages is on the progress you can make by thinking about and acting on – in the light of universal truths – the triggers of unease and how you can learn
to circumvent them.
The Mood Cards
Understanding Deep Emotions
The Way of Calm