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Actively shape your mood

“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.” - Thich Nhat Hanh

In Embodiment practice this is sometimes the approach - reverse engineering.

By understanding the physiology and particular expressions which represent states of being, we can modulate, influence and shape how we are. If I feel low, maybe a little tired or sad this mostly comes with a certain body or embodiment. My posture might be collapsed, my tone limp, my shoulders maybe slouched, my head potentially feeling heavy and lowered and the corners of my mouth drawn down. My movement might be slow and heavy and my breath shallow.

The aim here is not to judge this state as bad or avoid feeling uncomfortable feelings. But just in case that I decide to take some active role in changing my state I can. If I choose that I want to be different, I could draw on all the physiological indicators and adapt them.

How would I be in my body if I felt joyful, energetic and awake?

I could lift my gaze, bring my shoulders back a little and bring an upwards and maybe even outwards orientation into my posture and awareness. I can take a few deeper and stronger breaths imagining that I am bringing freshness into my body on an inhale and expelling stagnancy on the exhales. I could also move my whole body a bit, jumping, shaking or dancing to get all my fluids in motion and my heart pumping. I might even try to smile for no reason for a minute and see what it does.

At this moment I have not told myself to be happy or to stop being sad or anything alike. I have one tried on the “suit of joyfulness” (or whatever other state I want to try on).

Next time you notice yourself in a state you’d like to change, ask yourself what the body (or suit) of your desired state would be like, and then try it on for a moment. Yes, fake it for a moment. Don’t force it, but steep in it and see if how you feel also changes.

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