What’s Your Mood?
“I often felt blue when my children were younger and my husband and I were beginning our careers. Hormones could have also played a role in my emotional roller-coaster rides. I thought then too that a kick to our household finances and help from a maid service would fix my mood.
Fortunately, I have never had to be hospitalized for the “down” feeling, but I sympathize with those who have. There is no shame in admitting the problem or seeking help. Nowadays, when I fall into a negative mood, I galvanize myself into action and go into a housecleaning or cooking spree. Sometimes, I take a long walk or catch lunch with friends.”
Excerpt from My Checkered Life: A Marriage Memoir, Chapter 18, Night of Crisis
Mood Rings, Remember These?
Simply put, mood rings indicate the body’s reaction to one’s physical or emotional state. The gem stones in these rings have been touted to reflect various emotional states, over which the wearer could supposedly rejoice or despair.
In 1975, New York inventors Maris Ambats and Josh Reynolds produced the first mood ring. These rings changed color in response to temperature, potentially reflecting the body temperature change associated with the wearer’s emotions. The rings were an instant sensation, despite the high price tag. A silver-colored (plated, not sterling silver) ring retailed for $45, although a gold ring was available for $250.
Whether or not the rings were accurate, people were enchanted by the colors produced by the thermochromic liquid crystals. The composition of mood rings has changed since the 1970s, but mood rings (and necklaces and bracelets) are still made today.
This chart summarizes the colors with corresponding moods
Exhaustion: Another Bugaboo
I say sometimes, “I’m exhausted!” meaning I’m tired, or worn out.
Later, my husband might make a gentle correction in semantics which I notice (maybe on another day), “Well, I’m not totally exhausted, but I am tired.”
One Fix: Take a nap!
Other Ways to Cope
Guest essayist Andrew McCarthy touts the benefits of walking in his op-ed piece, “Whatever the Problem, It’s Probably Solved by Walking (The New York Times, March 25, 2023)
Walking is the worst-kept secret I know. Its rewards hide under every step.
Perhaps because we take walking so much for granted, many of us often ignore its ample gifts. In truth, I doubt I would walk often or very far if its sole [!] benefit was physical, despite the abundant proof of its value in that regard. There’s something else at play in walking that interests me more. And with the arrival of spring, attention must be paid.
McCarthy goes on to quote Hippocrates, Kierkegaard, Wordsworth. Others, like Bill Bryson, and J. K. Rowling, walk to summon creativity. Writer friend Laurie Buchanan often shares photos on Facebook under her title “Walking my Muse.”
Youngest grandson taking a casual walk
How ‘bout coping with some humor?
Other Ways to Cope
Yep, walking usually helps. And humor often does the trick. But. . .
Doing for others is also a helpful tonic. Sending a greeting card or chatting with a friend takes the focus off myself. However, sometimes it is healthy to “ride” the mood and let myself feel sad for a while and not anesthetize myself with drugs. Some researchers have speculated that one reason for the current opioid epidemic is that those addicted do not wish to feel pain of any kind, either physical or psychic.
Feelings of depression, for me, often rise like a wave. I think of it as an emotion to work through, not to deny or dismiss. One way to cope: Take moments to breathe deeply as you watch for the wave to peak, notice the wave subsiding gradually and eventually come to an end. Allow, perhaps, for a neutral feeling, which may evolve over time into a small spark of positivity.
Except for clinical depression, the “down” feeling is usually a temporal condition, temporary. For me, belief in the Resurrection, both spiritual and physical, can provide eternal hope.
Excerpt from My Checkered Life: A Marriage Memoir, Chapter 18, Night of Crisis
Meditation, a guide to begin my day
Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved. ~ Psalm 55:22 King James Version
When anxiety was great within me,
Your consolation brought me joy. ~ Psalm 94:19 New International Version
He will keep in perfect peace all those who trust in him, whose thoughts turn often to the Lord! ~ Isaiah 26:3 The Living Bible
But those who listen to me will live in safety.
They will be at ease and have no fear of being harmed.” ~ Proverbs 1:33 International Reader’s Version
Have you ever had a mood ring?
Any other tips for coping with stress, exhaustion, or other emotional unease?
Good morning, Marian!
My sister and I had mood rings. I’m pretty sure we got them from my mom’s store. I have no idea what happened to those rings. 🙂
Such a cute photo of you on the tricycle!
Ditto Merril’s comment. But re: what helps mood–doing for others always feels good. Right? I’m looking forward to volunteering at church tomorrow afternoon from 12-3 so the church administrative assistant can have a few days off this week. She has two little ones, ages 9 months and 3. I always enjoy interacting with the 9 month old when I stop by the church office on other days. Thanks for the day lifter here!
Melodie, I’m glad you found a day-lifter here.
You know what it’s like to work away from home with little ones. No doubt you are a day-lifter AND mood-lifter for that administrative-assistant Mom because you know what it’s like to work away from home with little ones. I’m sure the benefits run both ways.
Merril, I wish I could visit your mom’s store. I wonder if it’s still doing business, perhaps under at different name.
Thanks, again! 😀
That made me smile, Marian. My mom had several different stores in various locations, so her store no longer exists. My sister told us on Sunday that she met a woman who knew my mom’s store and had bought jewelry there!
How nice when connections appear out of the blue like that. . . and years later! 😀
I agree! 💙
Marian, I remember the mood rings!
Thank you for the Scriptures and the great advice! Just looking out of my window at the trees is a great mood lifter for me. I live near an abundance of trees. So I usually see a ton of birds flying about.
Good for you, L. Marie–finding a balm for your soul with bird-watching and scripture scanning. 😀
Every so often I just take a nap. 35 minutes later, life is brighter.
My observation too, Cliff! 😀
I LOVED my mood ring. I wonder whatever happened to it? I probably wore it out. You’re giving me an idea for my granddaughter’s birthday in July (she’ll turn 15 – NO WAY). Anyway, she loves jewelry. I’m going to look for a mood ring bracelet. Fun stuff.
I remember soon after I finished grad school I went into a deep funk. Who the heck was I and what the heck was I doing with my life. I wrote to my dad (before cell phones – of course) and he wrote back that my aunt was a brilliant, before-her-time woman (widowed, twice, single mom, had a high-end job where women were often not allowed) and she went into deep bouts of being “down.” It’s genetic, he said. Well, I didn’t like that answer. I use walking, yoga, meditation, and writing to bring myself up when I get down. Oh, and baking. And blogging. And kissing and hugging my guy, and texting with a grandkid, and …. hmmm, no time to get “Moody.” 🙂 <3
P.S. I think your new memoir is brilliant – so honest and 'real,' from the down times to the highs.
Pam, you have oodles of outlets for your creativity, and recognizing mood funks comes with it, I guess. I’ve noticed after a BIG push (like writing a book) there’s an inverse reaction, sort of like hitting a brick wall. A friend at church with a huge accounting business said she had a similar feeling after April 15, “What’s next?”
I resist the idea of “It’s genetic” too. Maybe knowing to expect mood “corrections” (!) every so often is a big part of coping. Thanks! 😀
Yes to all above. And yes to the “big let down” after publishing a book. I’ve felt it with everyone. All the adrenaline we use to create has to be released. That’s when sitting on the rocking chair on the front porch with ice cream becomes useful. 🙂
Mood rings look cute. I never had one.
I think we can all relate to these different moods. I’ve often told myself I shouldn’t feel sad, depressed, annoyed, … while being on this grand adventure, loving the life I live, but truth is that even our lifestyle brings a lot of stress and challenges. I’m surprised at how stressed I can be on a normal weekday! This usually happens when there’s a deadline at play, or I bite off more than I can chew, or I find the day goes way too fast, which is often. 🙂
You and I have a similar personality type. Feeling off-balance is part of the equation, I guess. Knowing you are living the life you envisioned counts for something, I would think, even though it even comes with huge challenges. Always good to hear your point of view, Liesbet! 😀
Good morning Marian,
I’m far enough along in your book to recognize the quotes.
And….I didn’t get a beautiful tricycle like that so I’m going for a walk!!
Oh, the bane of birth order, which neither of us can change.
: – /
Thanks for being my ideal reader, letting me know your progress, Jean. We’ll have to have a “chat” soon. 😀
I am not prone to depression, Marian. I usually find the best cure is to deal as quickly as possible with whatever is causing me stress. Unfortunately, sometimes there is only so much one can do!
I find myself in that situation right now and it’s extremely frustrating! Reciting songs and prayers from childhood, watching the birds enjoy springtime from my window, going out for a bit with my sister, are ways I can cope to replenish my spirit when I feel overwhelmed
I’m glad you are cheered by the presence of a sister, other relatives and friends. Know that many are interceding for you before the throne of Grace. ((( )))
Marian, reading this, Neil Diamond’s ‘Song Sung Blue’ springs to mind: “You and me are subject to the blues now and then”. For me it comes in waves and I find that dancing and reading always help to put me back together again. Lovely blog entry. Thank you.
Oh, Fatima, it’s been SO long that I’ve heard that song. In fact, I’m listening to Neil Diamond sing as I type: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ighSddnnaPE
You are smart to stamp out the blues in your mind by letting your body release the negative. Thanks so much! 😀
What a lovely fabric of strength and hope you have woven with this post, Marian. I remember mood rings, but I didn’t own one. I have been graced to survive several bouts of clinical depression, with the help of doctors, friends, and family. In case any of your readers are currently struggling with depression, I include a link to a post where I described one experience. https://shirleyshowalter.com/a-story-of-hope-for-those-who-struggle-with-depression/ I enjoyed the cartoons and the quotes from your great new book. When you can laugh again, you know that you are coming out the other side.
Oh, Shirley. Thank you for sharing the link. You published this post in 2010, almost three years before I discovered your blog and began blogging myself. I cherish this line: “your depression will be a teacher whose humbling lesson you need before you can hear a greater call to a fuller life.” And what a full life you are having, embracing both the bitter and the sweet.
I’m not sure that the depression surrounding the “Night of Crisis” I describe in my second memoir qualifies as clinical depression, but I can sympathize with those who feel hopeless. Times when we simply put one foot in front of the other teach us that even small steps can get us where we want (or need) to go. 😀
I remember mood rings! I never put much stock in them myself. I tend to be anxious much of the time (always have been). I’m trying to do better with positive self-talk.
Liz, I get the impression that creatives tend to be more in touch with their feelings, positive and negative, than other folks. Maybe that’s why we sometimes suffer from anxiety and even self-doubt. Thanks for your honest reply here! 😀
Thanks for your tips of getting through, and the funnies Marian. I was never a depressed person or had any issues until I lost my husband. Now I deal with high anxiety, so I can definitely sympathize. <3
I know you can sympathize. The isolation of COVID + the overwhelming loss of your sweet “Puppy” during that time has been a double whammy. No amount of sympathy or expressions of love can replace him, but your writing and responding does give you a safe place to vent. ((( )))
Thanks for that Marian. Quite frankly. it’s my writing that keeps me going. <3
Yes, that for sure, and the connection to friends that writing makes possible. Huge Hugs! ((( )))
I could have written this post, Marian. Walking and humor consistently put me in a better frame of mind along with being around my friends and community service efforts. When we feel better about ourselves, we’re more productive.
You know what they say about great minds–ha!
Yes, isolation kills one’s spirit; involvement nourishes it. And as you have discovered, friends in blog-land provide bunches of nourishment. Thanks, Pete!
I had a mood ring. Loved it! I agree that a good walk serves so many valuable purposes. I often take mine just before lunch when I start to get hungry. I get exercise and eat less. Win-win.
Arlene, walking before meals is the best advice I’ve heard all week/month/year. Yesterday and today I felt ravenous before lunch and probably ate too much. Thanks for the tip! 😀
On second thought, walking may make me hungrier! 😀
Yes, I did have a mood ring as a teenager Marian, but it was definitely a cheap version of what you reference. It was fun at face value though. I did just finish your book and read “Night of Crisis” with concern, but I so, so appreciated your honesty. I have not really dealt with depression, but I’m learning in recent years that my father did and I have a whole new awareness of it. I’m glad you have so many strategies for facing it when it comes along. ♥
Here is my chance to thank you publicly for your fine review of My Checkered Life. Writers always appreciate when readers connect to our stories with insight like yours! I believe it’s part of the human condition at times to feel as though we can’t go on. It’s then that we need some coping strategies. I’m glad you can relate and empathize, Melanie. 😀
Aww, thanks Marian. ♥ And speaking of insight, that is a fascinating comment about the human condition and coping strategies. Thanks for always sharing your wisdom. 🙂
I laughed out loud over the cartoon about freezing then throwing out leftovers. I did just that this morning. I agree that walking solves a multitude of problems and conditions. I had a mood ring, of course. I don’t know that I ever thought that it understood me though. The colors it showed seemed random, as if it was a scam. 🙄
The mood ring craze seemed a little scam-my to me too. Sort of like having a pet rock, a crazy “thing” too once upon a time. Remember that?
P.S. I need to throw up some fridge food too; unfortunately, it’s not frozen. :-/
I remember mood rings but I didn’t own one. Your tips on how to turn a frown upside down are all good. Walking certainly is a good one as is laughter. Keep laughing my friend!
I believe I’ll feel more like laughing after I get some rest–ha! Thanks, Darlene. 😀
Hi Marian, I am fortunate as I rarely feel down and don’t suffer from depression. I do get an overwhelming feeling of exhaustion when I am in a hospital. Michael was admitted from Wed to Fri and I really felt tired by the time he was discharged.
Your sweet and gentle spirit comes out in your art and in your writing.
I am so sorry to hear about Michael. When you are with him in the hospital it’s understandable that you would feel both a physical and emotional drain. I hope he is doing better now. ((( )))
Some great ways to cope and deal with feeling blue, Marian. Walking and playing the piano are often my go-to options. But sometimes I can pull myself out of it by doing a lot of housework! Thanks for sharing your cartoons – I always enjoy a good New Yorker cartoon. And you look adorable on your tricycle!