Ben Alterman, Ph.D.
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Stress Management
Enhanced Performance
Moods, such as depressed lows and emotional swings, are experienced from time to time by most people. In fact, fluctuations of mood are not only normal, they are an important part of being human. As well as providing the colors and shading of our life, emotions can also provide insight, since they are a summation of the relationship between the world in which we live and our inner experience. When emotions are extreme and moods persist, however, they can disrupt our life, becoming clinical syndromes such as major depression, bipolar disorder, and so forth.

A number of factors impact our emotions and moods. Naturally, events in our lives play a critical role as well as our physiology and genetics. These are not, however, the sole determinants of how we feel. For instance, sometimes we may feel low when everything seems to be going great, or we may feel good, even when facing serious challenges. Of equal or greater importance is the inner context of our experience, our attitudes, the private conversations inside our own mind, the internal skills and resources we have available to meet life's challenges.

Since moods and emotions are produced by such a complexity of factors, they can be daunting to control. This very complexity of the human emotional system, however, makes it possible for influence (if not control) to be exercised from many different directions. The most common approach that people take, of course, is to effect the events in their lives. People may also alter the chemical constituents of their physiology with what they eat and drink, with drugs, medications, exercise, etc. Internal changes can make a very important difference in moods and emotional swings as well. Individualized training in self-regulatory skills and psychotherapeutic guidance can provide the resources needed to make those internal changes.
+ Last modified on November 25th, 2012.