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Checking your inner weather

The weather outside changes, it benefits us to recognise that our mood is just the same

Today I walked to work in a fine drizzle. Such different weather from the past week or so where we have got used to clear blue skies and sunshine. It reminded me of how our mood can change from day to day or even from hour to hour.

One day we might be sunny and cheerful, another day cold and detached whilst another our mind is continually turning something over and over like something being blown around in the wind.

I first came across the idea of considering our state of mind as changeable as weather when I began learning mindfulness. Thinking about our mental state in this way really resonated with me.

We all know and accept that the weather outside changes. We understand that there are periods of sunshine, days of rain, cold snaps and thunder storms. And although it is out of our control, we can influence its impact on us (carry an umbrella, wear sunscreen, stay indoors).

Our moods are just the same. They descend and we can not instantly change them, no matter how much we wish they might be different. In fact trying to think our way out of certain moods seems to lock us in for longer, often supercharging them.

I had to learn very quickly to look further and understand that I am not capable of controlling the weather, to exercise the art of patience and to respect the fury of nature (Paulo Coelho)

It is useful therefore to view our different mental states like inner weather systems, temporary conditions that will pass.

Since coming across this idea, I am practicing noticing and accepting my inner weather. I turn my attention inwards, observe and name my state of mind - sunny, cloudy, hazy, windy (see list below) and carry on with my day.

I compare it to checking the time on my watch; I glance inwards and check my weather.

The trick to this is accepting how things are and not getting attached to wanting things to be different. Letting things be can be hard when my mood is low. I don't like it so often want to find the reason for it, believing if I knew why it was here I could get rid of it and not be in that state.

But I am getting better at allowing things to be as they are, understanding that you can not push or rush states of mind and trusting that in time they will pass through.

Sometimes my inner weather doesn't change for days but just when I think it is going to be like this forever the mood lifts without warning. Just like when rays of sunshine break through a cloud.

Terms I use to describe my inner weather

Cloudy - low mood

Clear - still mind

Cold - detached

Hazy - a little distracted

Overcast - gloomy, down

Sunny - positive mood

Windy - chattering mind

Stormy - moody, short tempered

What do you think about this idea does it resonate with you too?

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