A Bad Mood

“You do not wake up one morning a bad person. It happens by a thousand tiny surrenders of self-respect to self-interest.” – Robert Brault

Have you ever been here: You are in a bad mood and can’t seem to shake it? It’s affecting everything that you do; work, singing, performing and your important relationships. It’s making you tired, and there is very little that has gone right so far with the day. And the worst part is that you are unknowingly spreading it around to others. It becomes an insidious cycle of anger, disappointment, resentment, you name it that you are trapped in and that others are catching, like a cold. And the worst part is that you have usually given your power away without realizing it to someone or something else and that is partially what’s bugging you.
How does one catch a “bad mood” you ask? In life we unconsciously imitate the expressions and demeanor of those around us, along with the moods behind them. We may be oblivious to the effect, but it still influences how we think and what we do. And our moods can fluctuate wildly during the day depending on many of life’s variables. Getting caught up in one of these “bad moods” you might notice that it is hard to concentrate or focus. Those negative thoughts can become obsessive and start spinning out of control when you do nothing but speculate on them over and over again. It seems that when you become overly anxious, angry, frustrated, disappointed about something that happened to you, your thinking becomes distorted.
Self-awareness is the first step to getting out of the rat cage. That means recognizing that you have given your power away to someone or something else. If you fail to be aware of how you are behaving because of your moods and perhaps those helping to fan that flame, you are more likely to do something often times “unfixable” and embarrassing like sending an over-the-top text, tweet, e-mail message or worse yet, start yelling at your partner, friend, etc. You will no doubt regret your actions and could even damage your career. Break the cycle by realizing you don’t have to believe your own thoughts at times like these. This allows you to take your power back and gain your equilibrium once again.
I’m sure you get it that moods have a biological component; they do affect your body. So have some simple strategies already in place to calm yourself down like meditating, taking a walk or exercising. This has a noticeable physical effect on brain activity and may correct the neural circuitry that caused a bad mood to emerge in the first place. Also know that if anger, anxiety or depression, continue for days or weeks, they may be symptoms of a chronic disorder and a signal for you to seek help.
I’ve had students that come to a lesson carrying with them all that negative energy they are feeling about their experiences of the day. I have found that it is impossible to get and keep their attention when this happens and therefore they are wasting their time, energy and money. So I would have them go outside in the hallway and stand quietly as they imagined all their days “baggage” fall off one after another like big, wet, sloppy coats lying in a pile on the ground all around them. When they felt they were finished with letting go, I had them imagine leaving all that baggage right there in one big messy wet pile. Then I tell them to physically take a step over the wet mound and come back in. They are always amazed and noticed the difference in their attitudes because they were now feeling awake, fresh and ready to work. Give it a try and let me know what you think.
Knowing whether your moods are harmful by bringing about a “victim” mentality over time or just part of life is very important. Daniel Goleman, a psychologist and author of ”Emotional Intelligence” and ”Social Intelligence, says ”the bad moods that really hurt are the ones where you obsess and cogitate about what it is that’s upset you so much.” So find a solid ritual that gets you out of your mind and back into your senses, you know, touch, taste, hearing, smelling, and feeling. Usually when you are in a bad mood, you have turned in on yourself and start that litany of harmful inner self talk that starts here and now and can take you all the way back to your childhood. None of it is all the truth and most times we like to embellish both the good and bad stories we have about ourselves. So break that cycle and take back your power by first recognizing that you gave it away. Then literally, even if you don’t feel like it, turn your frown upside down and lift those corners of your mouth way up and see if you don’t immediately feel better.
You know what I have to say, let me hear from you about what you have to say.
Ciao, Carol

Carol Kirkpatrick

For as long as she can remember, singing and performing have always been in Carol Kirkpatrick’s blood. From her beginnings in a small farming town in southeastern Arizona, through her early first-place triumph at the prestigious San Francisco Opera Auditions, and subsequent career on international stages, Ms. Kirkpatrick has thrilled audiences and critics alike. “A major voice, one worth the whole evening.” (The New York Times) Since retiring from the stage, she continues to be in demand as a voice teacher, clinician, and adjudicator of competitions including the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.  Combining her knowledge of performance, business, and interpersonal skills, she has written the second edition of her highly regarded book, Aria Ready: The Business of Singing, a step-by-step career guide for singers and teachers of singing.  Aria Ready has been used by universities, music conservatories and summer and apprentice programs throughout the world as a curriculum for teaching Ms. Kirkpatrick’s process of career development, making her “the” expert in this area.  She lives in Denver, Colorado.   YouTube.com/kirkpatrickariaready