What If You Didn’t Need a Reason For Your Mood?

What If You Didn’t Need a Reason For Your Mood?

I was really caught up in a ton of thinking for parts of yesterday (and probably the day before, and the day before that, because I am a human with a human brain). 

I could almost see my own eyebrows, I was frowning that hard. I was feeling restless, edgy and frustrated with no ‘cause’. ⠀

Our brains need a reason for everything

Our brains love a cause. A reason. A source. If we can find out why we’re feeling the way we are, that means we can fix it. Right?

When we’re feeling the way I was feeling yesterday, we take inventory of our life to root out this cause to change it or do something. But this is the worst time to do that because OF COURSE we will find a problem. In fact, you may find – as I did – that everything was a problem!

I remembered with a jolt that I was due on my period (we’re all talking about periods openly now aren’t we? Good) and therefore a little moodiness and feeling ‘off’ was expected. ⠀

When I realised this, I instantly felt better. I’d found the reason! And better yet, it was just a ‘normal’ thing like PMS. No need to change my job, hair, friends, relationship, car, body or my fundamental beliefs and values after all, because they weren’t the reason I was in a funk. The reason was good ‘ol PMS. ⠀

I recalled conversations with friends and clients where they’d identified ‘the reason’ for being in a mood or feeling like shit. One attributed hers to the waning gibbous phase of the moon cycle (how funny is the word ‘gibbous’ ?), another knew a low mood was because of a simple old hangover and another blamed eating toast on feeling like crap. ⠀

Whatever the ‘reason’, we’d all felt a little better because we could match up our bad mood with a cause. This is somewhat satisfying because our brains love a finished story. It loves reasons for things. It loves all the loose ends tied up. 

Without reasons and causes, a brain freaks out

Because if there are unanswered questions, unsolved problems, unrealised issues… that means there’s uncertainty, and the thing our brains hate the most is uncertainty. ⠀

Uncertainty is the brain’s Kryptonite. All your brain wants to do is secure your survival and get your genes passed down to the next gen. To do that efficiently, it needs to know what’s happening. 

If you are in a low mood with no ‘reason’, the brain thinks (the brain doesn’t ‘think’, this is just an illustration) firstly that there must be a reason. Nothing can be a sweet mystery to the brain, no way. 

Second, if it cannot assign a reason that means it could be Any Fucking Thing Out There which means big danger. That’s too many possible threats to the brain. 

It needs the reason for your low mood so it can ‘accept it’ or solve it.

But what if you aren’t hungover, the moon isn’t waning, you haven’t eaten toast in weeks and you aren’t coming on your period? 

What if you can’t find the reason for your low mood?⠀

Well the reason is so simple and ordinary that we dismiss it in favour of complex cause-and-effect scenarios or elaborate diagnoses for various mood disorders

What if the reason you are in a low mood is just because you are a human being? What if that is it?

Warning: you may have a thought right now that says “this is utter bullshit”. I had the same thought when I was coming across this understanding of how humans work. It was way too simple – like, how could moods not mean anything? Particularly when we feel in a low mood A LOT

Look around at all of nature, at the whole world. Everything is a balance, everything is moving on a spectrum. Breathe in, breathe out. Sleep, wake. High tide, low tide. Winter, spring. Sunny, cloudy. Night, day.

Our moods go up and down and in and out and there’s no need to find the reason. It just IS.

Us humans made moods into a ‘thing’. Aren’t we silly?

Innocently, along the way, humanity has made having moods mean something. But it does not mean a thing about you or your life, despite the trillion dollar industries set up to make us think that a low mood means something is wrong and therefore needs to be fixed.

There’s nothing to fix. There’s nothing to do.

Just hang out, knowing that all this means is that you are alive and part of Team Earth.

It’s ok if this still feels like shit. We’ve spent our lives trying to fix a low mood so just sorta letting it be there and knowing it doesn’t mean anything takes a bit of practice. 

And you’ll have plenty of low moods to practice with my friend, I assure you. 

Oh, I nearly forgot the best bit

The more we can come to see that moods don’t have a cause, and therefore don’t need a solution, the less we care when we are in one, and we have a much nicer experience of life. 

Cool huh?

If you’re like “Huh? Just accept my moods? I can’t do that! I feel so bad in a low mood, I don’t want to live my life that way”, then give me a shout and let’s have a conversation.