In a Word: Mood.
Mood is one of those words that’s bandied about casually, its definition varies broadly. “The boss is in a bad mood,” coworkers confide. “I’m not in the mood,” a wife tells her husband.
The dictionary defines mood as “a state or quality of feeling at a particular time.” On a bad day, it’s “a state of sullenness, gloom, or bad temper.”
But what’s really interesting is what the word – which comes from Old English – originally meant…mind and spirit. Etymology is always revealing.
As our world changes, millions of people increasingly find themselves mood-challenged – or flat out in a bad mood, depressed, etc. From the economics stresses to the vertigo-inducing acceleration of modern life, we increasingly face physical and mental stressors, and this affects our mood: mind and spirit.
The ancient Greeks had their act together – they strived for mind/body/spirit wellness. Body is important. For example, diet and nutrition have a huge impact on mood. Today, millions of us focus primarily on body: for example, cosmetic surgery is a much bigger business than meditation instruction.
How much are we investing, say, in mind? How much are we monitoring our thoughts, where they come from (often childhood nasties), and their effect on our mood and behavior today? Meditation is a great way to increase this awareness.
Or what about spirit? For many, a rote weekly visit to church, temple, etc. is supposed to cover that. Ned Flanders. Again, the original meaning of the word spirit is equally revealing; it comes from Latin, and means breath.
This can be interpreted to mean anything from meditation – which centers around breath – to exercise or the outdoors. I once read that with every breath we take, we breathe at least molecule that every other human being on Earth has or will breathe; I don’t know whether this is true or not, but at least symbolically breathing – spiritus – connects us with all other living beings.
To enjoy a good mood – today and everyday – be mindful of the origin of mood. Take good care of your mind and spirit, and your mood will take good care of you. Get more tips in Feel Good, our upcoming video exploring natural remedies for depression.