8 – What makes a mood?

Mood comes from the deepest part of the brain, from the engine room, that is the brain stem. This is the part of the brain that controls the basic functions of the body. Because moods are so deep in the clockwork, moods can be harder to appreciate than the more superficial thoughts and emotions.

After ten years of bipolar disorder and having realised that maybe this my own problem and accepting it, I began researching it. At the time, early 1990s, there was very little written about bipolar disorder, or manic depression as it was known then. I began to document my own experiences of how I was, each day I wrote about how I felt, what was going on for, how much I spent, did I crack too many jokes, did I fall asleep and how was I feeling. I did this for some years and I began to realise that how my day went depended on two things – How much energy I had and how good or bad I felt.

These questions reflect the activity of the two parts of the body’s major housekeeping system, that is the autonomic nervous system. The two parts are the parasympathetic nervous system, which looks after growth and recovery. This is represented by the rather large caterpillar munching his way through his five a day and the sympathetic nervous system which looks after energy levels and in particular the ‘fight and flight system of defence’. This I have represented by the boxers and the eagle threatening to carry them off in the picture above.

These two questions
i) How much energy do you have? and
ii) How good or bad do you feel?
form the basis of the MoodMap, where energy is charted on the vertical scale and wellbeing – how good or bad do you feel? is charted on the horizontal axis.

For further information and to learn more about MoodMapping, you can buy the book MoodMapping by Dr Liz Miller, on Amazon

and watch the YouTube video

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