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I have this theory about the many different layers of moods.

Sometimes people get confused about how they're feeling because it seems to change so often. Many different emotions are felt throughout a normal day - "When i woke up, i was depressed whereas last night I was just frustrated but then at lunch i was pretty content and yesterday i was happy." It's hard to figure out how you're *really* feeling when life distracts you.

I look at it like this: there are a lot of external stimuli that can affect a mood - getting a bad grade on a paper, talking with good friends, getting accepted into the college or job of your choice. Sometimes these things nudge your Overall Mood in a particular direction. Other times these things will just be interruptive in nature (you laugh at a good joke for a few minutes, and then you go back to being depressed). But either way, take away the stimuli - mentally sit down and allow yourself to Just Feel without any other variables - and that's what your overall mood is.

For me, the removal of external stimuli to determine my real mood is best done "alone"... not necessarily free of people, but just alone in my mind. If i'm walking by myself or watching tv or sitting on a couch drinking a beer with a bunch of friends, and I take a step back from the situation that I'm in, sometimes I smile, sometimes I sigh, sometimes I want to scream until I don't have a voice anymore.

The deepest layer, or the core of one's mood is the hardest to nudge. Its change velocity can vary greatly depending on how influential upper mood levels can be, but the closer you get to the surface level of mood, the faster the change velocity can happen until you reach the very surface where your mood can change from happy to sad in an instant. It's not like these surface moods aren't valid, but they're not as.... "stable" as the core mood, the way you truly feel all of the time.

I'm not explaining it as well as it sits in my head (surprise surprise), but a practical example of my current mood levels and how I deal with them came to mind today when i was playing pool and playing DDR.

I was a couple of minutes late to my pool class again today, so everyone was already on tables in pairs. If i was feeling more social, I could have gone up to any table and made it a three person thing, but I wasn't feeling that social, and I like having the opportunity to practice by myself, especially on the snooker table since the table is bigger and the pockets are smaller.

The teacher talks a lot about the mentality of pocketing balls - he says that once you have the proper technique down, shots become a matter of focus and mental energy. Reminds me a lot of drumming or parallel parking or, oh, say, life.

Anyway, when i first started shooting, i pocketed about 90% of my shots, which was surprising and somewhat satisfying. The teacher said i had pretty good technique, and that the few shots i missed were all mental focus errors. I remember my state of mind being in that same zone I like to be in when I'm doing marching percussion - intensity without tension. My focus was sharp, my mind was calm. It was very theraputic.

In any kind of music performance, my mentors always impressed upon me to not dwell on mistakes, to keep pushing forward. At some point in my pool playing, I started missing shots and losing focus. After about three or four missed balls in a row, my focus and confidence was shot, and I kept on missing for about five more shots, maybe more. And I think that it's a testament to my current state of mind that a) i lost my focus so fast, and b) that when it started getting worse, I *did* dwell on it. A part of me just wanted to hurl the cue across the room and scream.

Eventually i managed to reset my brain and my focus and start making shots again, but it wasn't the same as when i first started.

After the class was done, I played some ddr. I've decided to play ddr consistently after my pool class - either at 1100 or 1200, depending on the day. Partially for the exercise, but also because it's just addicting, and another form of therapy and meditation for me. Sight-read the arrows or know the arrows, put your feet down, go with the groove, keep your body and mind relaxed but alert.

And again, it's a testament to my state of mind that I decided not to challenge myself too much when i played today. I either chose tunes that I knew well already or I chose a difficulty I knew I could do - mostly 5 or 6 feet. I did try my handle on one seven foot song, but didn't do too well at... comprehending where the arrows were landing on the beat. I wish the upbeat arrows were a distinctly different color as opposed to being similar to the downbeat ones.

Anyway, I think I'm rambling. Somewhere in there, there's a point. I'm not sure what it is. I think it has to do with how playing pool, ddr, and being around people i like, my friends, my acquaintances helped a middle layer mood, helped me get through a day where my deepest mood is still depressed, dehabilitated. Not wanting to do my school work. But i have to. I have many teaching responsibilities tomorrow. which means i'll be up really late, which is my own damned fault because instead of doing it, i spent time writing this entry.

See? another example of losing focus - i have no idea what i'm writing about anymore. oh well. i'll just let myself be frustrated about it until it goes away.


( read spoken (1) — speak )
Oct. 6th, 2002 01:20 am (UTC)
( read spoken (1) — speak )


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