If I’m not in the best of moods, so what? Just because I’m having an off day or bad week, then as long as I don’t tell anybody, keep that stuff to myself, then who cares? It’s not as if it makes any difference, right?
I wonder how many of you reading this have had that conversation with yourself before?
It may be time to have a different conversation. In 2014 James Fowler and Nicholas Christakis carried out research into the power of happiness and sadness and the impact it has on others. They found a number of things including;
- If you are with a person who is happy then you are 25% more likely to be happy.
- Happy people cluster together, sad people cluster together.
The problem with moods is that they are contagious. It’s been proven, that whatever your mood is, impacts those around you. You can pick people up or you can bring people down.
I remember travelling to a meeting with an executive team, when I received a phone call apologising that the meeting would have to be cancelled, as the CEO was now not attending. Obviously, I asked why, and the reply came, “It’s not going to be a good day here today.” “Oh, okay, how do you know?” I replied. “Oh, trust me Steve, EVERYONE knows!”
Research by Joseph Folkman found that 38% of leaders who identified with being disengaged, their entire team were also. The teams were so disengaged that they were constantly frustrated at work and 51% of them were actively looking for another job. When you first started reading this post you’d have be forgiven for thinking that your mood can’t impact others. Well think again.
Your mood will also start to show, literally. No matter how hard we try to hide it, we get irritable when we’re tired, we lose interest when we’re sad, we neglect stuff when we’re angry. Now you know, what you know, don’t be surprised when those around you are irritable, have low motivation and procrastinate because you are.
Of course, some of us don’t show our annoyance, but let’s agree that a frayed-at-the-edges person is much more likely to be irritable at least, than one who isn’t.
But let’s be realistic here. We can’t always be in the best of moods, life happens. There will always be challenges, news we don’t like, shocks and surprises. So, what can we do?
I always challenge people to be the best version of themselves in any given moment. That’s so important during those times when we’re off track, when we’re sad or angry. For me, how good you are on a bad day is as important as how good you are on your best one.
So how can we be the best version of ourselves on the bad days?
- Let people know. This isn’t about sharing your deepest, darkest secrets, it’s about setting expectations. Tell people that you aren’t at your best today and you’d appreciate their understanding, maybe even their support.
- Put things into perspective. Ask yourself if your emotions are getting away from you, making it feel much worse than it is. What’s the worst that could happen? Is it really likely? Even if it does, what can you do about it? Put your energy into thinking of solutions and outcomes rather than possibilities and probabilities.
- Change your scenery. Research has shown, that by changing your physiology or your surroundings, it has the fastest impact on your mood. Get out of the office and change your view to change your view.
- Speak to your Go-To person. Remember moods are infectious, seek out those people who get you, will empathise but help you reframe your thoughts.
- Write down what you love. Committing things to paper has a huge impact on us. Research by Gail Matthews in 2014 showed that people are 42% more likely to achieve the things they write down compared to those who talk about it. So, write down the things you look forward to, the things you love doing, the people you like to be around.
Voltaire once said, “The most important decision you make is to be in a good mood.” We could get into the whole freedom of choice thing here, but one step at a time. How about just recognising that your moods are infectious. You can’t help but share them. So, when you’re having a good day, get out there and spread the good. When you’re having a bad day, no hiding, no excuses, no blame, be the best version of yourself that you can be in that moment.
You can be good on a bad day. Remember that.