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Brainstorming
Brainstorming session

What is the key to elevating your mood?

What is the key to elevating your mood?

Image credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10521005

By Povilas S on Sep 21, 2020

Creative contributions

"System" as a curious word

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noonday_Demon

by Anja M on Oct 07, 2020

Povilas S 20 days ago
Wow, that's a whole extensive article on the topic, thanks a lot, I appreciate it:) Approaching this from a spiritual/philosophical perspective - yes, uncertainty seems to be at the core of "depressive episodes" not only for those with diagnosed mental illnesses but for everyone and it's probably right to state that in general, it's responsible for most if not all psychological suffering. It seems to me that this is what Buddhists mean by stating that ignorance is the cause of suffering - your knowledge (and I'm not talking about intellectual knowledge, although it might play a significant part also) is not deep or full enough and therefore you don't feel grounded and confident at the core of your being and this keeps resurfacing from your subconscious manifesting as emotional "pits". A way out of this seems to be by turning your interest to existential questions and seeking to know the truth by whatever means possible. Usually, those means turn to be various spiritual practices, but not necessarily. But there are different approaches, one of them, which I’m interested in is scientific-technological or something in between that and spiritual-psychological one. You may try to find objective reasons behind your negative emotions and this sometimes may be the best approach, but you might look at it the other way around too – that emotions themselves are the primary cause of how you perceive and in the end create your circumstances. And really when you feel good “bad things” happening to you don’t seem so (if at all) bad anymore and when you feel down even the most benign and peaceful circumstances may appear irritating. So your own emotional energy seems to be responsible for this. In this approach, the best way is to try to influence your emotions directly rather than digging for reasons and trying to influence your circumstances. When you are in a good emotional state you can also think more clearly and real reasons and effective methods to deal with things will more likely come to you then. So in this approach “the system” to directly and effectively influence your mood is a very helpful thing to develop. But I personally don’t have in mind a rational step-by-step system, I envision it as either technological or a self-help one, but in the latter case it would be to more develop your intuition and creativity and learn to adapt something suitable for each different situation rather than clinging to the same methods/habits, it should be something quite the opposite – trying to break out of those each time:)
Anja M 15 days ago
You are welcome. :) But I am curious, do you have something more specific in mind when it comes to scientific-technological for solving this problem?
Povilas S 13 days ago
Yes, I pretty much described it in the contribution "Mood oriented search engine". It's a kind of super personalization that also takes into account your "mood data" and finds an element (a song, a picture, a movie, or just a sentence for example, etc.) that's the best fit for improving it. We all have those moments when we feel down and suddenly something lifts our mood. You can then tell that this was the exact thing that helped you at that moment. But this usually happens by complete accident and it's not controlled in any way or controlled very minimally by your own decisions ("what should I listen to", etc.). Given that there are enormous amounts of such elements (even taking just songs for example for the sake of simplicity) it's quite right to state that there is an element for any person in any situation/state of mind to help them. It's just a question of designing an algorithm to find that element or in other words to match the mental-emotional state with the "uplifter". Imagine an AI assistant that knows you better than you know yourself, when and why your moods change (understanding this on a physiological and neurological level also), and what's the best way at any given moment to improve it.

The feelgood neurotransmitters Dopamine, Serotonin, Oxytocin and Endorphins

[1] Happy Brain Chemicals by Loretta Breuning https://youtu.be/ldPuBk7a9V4

by Darko Savic on Oct 08, 2020

Povilas S 20 days ago
There's a good article proposing a model to explain all emotions by different concentrations of 3 main monoamine neurotransmitters in the brain: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/51863789_A_new_three-dimensional_model_for_emotions_and_monoamine_neurotransmitters. Apart from dopamine and serotonin there's also nor-adrenaline. The model is simplified and many neurotransmitters (including a couple which you mentioned) are left out, but the arguments presented for those three being the main ones involved are quite convincing and the model is nicely visualized as a cube with each neurotransmitter concentration being its composing vector. Excitement is presented as an emotion felt when concentrations of all three are the highest, and really - excitement seems to be life-driving emotion.
Darko Savic 20 days ago
Was it this? https://i0.wp.com/www.anxietyhack.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/DOPAMINE.png
Povilas S 19 days ago
Yes, that's it. It's either derived from the same article or the theory developed since.. Do you have some background info to read about it? Where it was originally taken from? I can't find anything on that anxiety page..

Mood oriented search engine

by Povilas S on Sep 21, 2020

Bad mood as a comprehension booster

by Juran K. on Sep 21, 2020

Povilas S a month ago
I think that the argument of most valuable art being created out of suffering is a meme-like myth or at least a misconception. There are countless examples of positive songs, paintings, movies, etc., that have been created out of good emotions and that are of great value both subjectively and objectively (if we can talk about objectivity in valuing art at all). I agree that negative experiences might be necessary to bring a certain depth to life or catharsis and revelation that comes after them, but that catharsis and revelation is already a positive emotion and beautiful things are then born out of it. So it's the transformation of negativity into positivity that brings the merits rather than negativity itself. Or it might be a wish to bring a change to negativity, like making the world a better place, etc. The important question here I think is if it's possible to maintain happiness more constantly without experiencing negativity or are the two inseparable from one another like yin and yang? It's also not quite true that positive mood is experienced mostly in safe-non challenging environments. That's more comfort and security, but it's just the passive aspects of positive mood. Safe non-challenging environments might just be very boring and give a lazy feel. People engage in extreme sports and all kinds of intentionally challenging experiences to get a boost of hormones. In fact if life is not at all challenging it's not a very fulfilling life. It's hard to believe that negative mood could increase motivation and performance, would be interesting to see the actual publications. There's an inverse proportion between the two - dopamine regulates motivation, when its levels drop, we feel bad, when we feel good - we are up for many things. Once again, this might be because of the contrast of things, like "the weather is bad, I'm going to take the opportunity to study", so this is already a shift in mood and motivation, but if you're in an ongoing down mood and would sit down to study, the results wouldn't be very good.
Juran K. 24 days ago
Maybe my thought was misunderstood and I apologize. I wanted to introduce the usefulness of a bad mood. Of course, there are plenty of masterpieces that have been created out of good emotions, but we both agree that the negative experiences are "the downs" we sometimes need. There is no catharsis without negative feelings. Considering the other argument on safe non-challenging environments, I could use your strategy now. Maybe people engage in extreme sports and challenging experiences to change their safe and non-dangerous routine life to something riskier, just so they could have "the comeback" you mentioned - mood boost. Referring to your "ying-yang question", I believe the nature functions in the circular form here, too, but there is still plenty of unanswered questions.
Povilas S 23 days ago
In a nutshell - there is no catharsis without negative feelings, but you don't need catharsis when you feel good anyway. Catharsis is a kind of remedy transforming negative feelings into positive, emotional healing process, so it might be considered a mood lifter on its own. About the other thing - there's a difference when people engage in challenging activities out of free will and when they can't or don't know how to get out of negative emotions. In the latter case, some form of remedy or technique would be very useful. Emotions induced by challenging activities are usually not negative, they are more exciting unless you are pushed into that against your own will. When creating this session I had in mind more low energy emotions like lingering sadness, self-pity, laziness, depression, apathy, etc., rather than stress. A bit of stress sometimes might be useful to get out of those, so it might serve as a mood-lifting key. We cycle through shorter or longer periods of those low-energy emotions almost every day and I don't see how they serve us in any beneficial way. At least this doesn't serve me and I would like to eliminate that, but it's a rather slow process of self-development. I know it might sound unnatural to always feel good, but I'm not talking about not being able to experience anything else, like sadness or grief, I'm more talking about that how you feel would be your own choice.

Do we need to really 'elevate' the mood?

by Subash Chapagain on Sep 21, 2020

It's quite a personal experience for everyone.

by Jamila Ahmed on Sep 22, 2020

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