Alter Your Mood with This Quick Brain Hack
We’ve all spent time on YouTube—maybe watching adorable puppy or kitten videos, funny blooper videos, or other mindless entertainment. The fact is that most of us turn to YouTube for the mood-altering benefits it offers.
These kinds of videos are escapism, and they can be an understandable go-to when situations at work get stressful or you experience failures—even to avoid a project that seems intimidating. Simply put, zoning out to pleasant videos is one way to soothe a bad mood into a happier one. I’ll share how to alter your mood even more powerfully, and wherever you need it.
Stress and emotions from tough days can be a significant influencer, especially for a leader. Leadership starts from within, so your mental and emotional state, attitude, unconscious biases, and your beliefs about yourself and others influence your leadership tremendously.
It’s also important to remember that people can pick up on your actual feelings and attitudes, regardless of the pep talk you try to give. Before you know it, your bad day has spread to the rest of your team.
Our brains have what is called “negativity bias”, which causes us to pay more attention to threats than to opportunities and to feel the negative far more strongly than the positive. When you’re deep in the negativity bias, you may even see negatives where they don’t exist. While the negativity bias is very helpful from a survival standpoint, it really gets in our way at work and home.
This is why it’s extremely important to understand how to influence your own internal landscape (or prime yourself) to be as effective as possible. This allows you to energize your employees and others you need to influence. There are a variety of ways to prime yourself, all of which help you reach your best emotional state as a leader. From that state, you can also positively prime those you need to lead.
This is where we come back to YouTube. When you notice your negativity bias kicking in, here is one simple tool you can use:
Create a “MeTube” playlist in your mind. This is a playlist full of videos of your past successes and of great life moments, even mental videos of someone else’s success that inspire you.
The easiest way to do this is to reflect back on your past achievements. Think of a time where you not only achieved your goals, but also had a team that was enthusiastic and engaged. Think about the mindset that you had at the time, the attitude you had towards the people you worked with, and the behaviors you exhibited towards them. Notice what parts of that memory are the most gratifying to think about; the most uplifting, and maybe even the most exciting. Take those best moments and coalesce them into a short MeTube video that you can play at any time.
Notice how you feel after playing back that MeTube video. Most people say that they feel more energized and more confident. Replaying the MeTube video also primes you to bring up the strengths that you used in the past, and to be more confident to take on new tasks.
Research in neuroscience and Positive Psychology have shown that using this kind of priming can help you both enjoy your days and be more effective. Studies also show that if done regularly, positive priming can even improve your health!
Take some time to start your MeTube playlist today. You’ll be amazed at the difference it makes.
After you do, I invite you to share your experience with me. I love to hear stories of people using those tools. Speaking of tools, I have quite a few more positive priming tools under my belt. If you want more ideas, simply email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’d be happy to share. It’s one of my favorite topics to speak about!