What is Mood Dependence?
Being dependent on your mood means that you let your mood dictate your choices. Suffering from depression means you experience a lot of negative feelings such as sadness, fatigue, lethargy, no motivation and hopelessness. Take a moment to reflect on how often you make decisions based on how you feel at the time, or how you think you will feel later.
Do you ever notice yourself saying things like:
“I can’t go to the gym because I have no motivation”
“I won’t make plans because I’m not sure I’ll be up for it later”
“I’ll only go out to dinner if I feel like it”
“I can’t socialise with my family or friends when I feel this depressed”
“There is no point setting goals because I feel sad all of the time”
“I can’t go for a walk because I’m too tired”
These kinds of thoughts actually perpetuate depression, because it makes you think that you have to wait until you have more motivation or are feeling less depressed before you can do something. When you only focus on the negative feelings, or predict the negative feelings, you stop yourself from creating opportunities to experience something other than what you are currently feeling. One of the most effective ways of changing your depression is to participate in activities or pursue goals regardless of what mood you are in.
Imagine that one of your friends invited to you to do a fun run with them. A 5km walk/run that is happening in four weeks. Your initial response is “no way”, and you tell your friend that you couldn’t possibly walk that far, that you are always so tired and you wouldn’t enjoy it. The more you think about how you would feel if you had to do it, the less you want to go.
Imagine that your friend then says they will pay you $100,000 to do the walk with them. Would you do it then, even if your mood told you not to?
It may seem like a silly question, but it raises the idea that you can act independently from your mood if you choose to. Yet this is something we seem to forget when we feel depressed. We tell ourselves that we can’t do something because we are depressed. This thought becomes a belief, which then becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Over time, we lose sight of the fact that we are capable of doing something in spite of our mood.