Your mood impacts your thoughts and behaviors. This can have a snowball effect.  

You may have an awful experience in the morning on your way to work, this puts you in a foul mood. By the time you get to work this mood spills into how you think about a request for help or how you interact with others.

As social animals, humans are also impacted by the mood of the people around us. You may say you can “catch” someone’s nasty mood by being in close proximity with them, just like you can catch a cold. Luckily, the opposite is also true. Your cheerful or positive mood can impact your thoughts and behaviors and can be contagious to your team.  

So how do you make sure your mood is positive rather than negative? The first rule is to become more self-aware. Check in with yourself frequently during the day to see how are feeling. Are your muscles tense? Have you been feeling irritable or on edge? Have you been holding yourself back from snapping at a teammate? Have you been grumbling to yourself about a deadline?

It can be very helpful to keep a journal where you jot these things down. This will help you notice patterns you may not have been aware of before. Maybe you are drinking too much caffeine which is impacting your mood in the morning. Maybe you are more tired when you were up too late the night before. Maybe interacting with a certain person always puts you on edge because they find fault with everything. Maybe you feel emotionally exhausted after a large group presentation because you don’t feel confident in public speaking.  

Once you identify the triggers or contributing factors to a negative mood, you can start working on solutions. Some solutions may be as simple as getting more sleep, eating healthier, cutting back on caffeine or alcohol, exercising or taking breaks when you feel yourself getting stressed. Maybe it will help increase your confidence and subsequently your mood if you got training or guidance in a certain area where you always felt inadequate. Maybe your current work assignments do not engage your strengths or passion, so you need to let key people know what your strengths and passions are or find ways to work it into your existing project.

Other times you will have to be a bit more strategic; if you have a co-worker, for example, that is always negative, go into your meeting prepared to be extra positive and to let their comments role of your back. It’s like putting armor on when you go into war, come prepared!

Realize you can absolutely impact your environment with a positive attitude. You are an influencer! Even if you don’t feel it, make the choice to engage in a positive manner. I’m not suggesting you be fake or inauthentic, that would not be very helpful. Find something you can really say to contribute, that is positive, or solution focused. People will realize that you tend to be the positive voice and you may get a better pick of projects to be involved in. You will also attract other positive voices. Be intentional about surrounding yourself with positive people as well so it is not on you alone to be the influencer.  

If you notice you are having a bad mood, as we all do from time-to-time, check yourself. Keep that e-mail in draft until you have had a chance to step away for a break and reread considering tone and implications before sending. If you are stepping into a video conference or in-person meeting, remember the human brain will pick-up on body language even if you have a smile plastered on your face. Take a few minutes to get your mind in a positive place before you enter the meeting.