A 42 year old client; a successful professional in corporate marketing, described “success” as “money and power”. A 16 old female patient defined it as “a Mercedez”. I define “success” as “being in a good mood”.
There are many, many variables that determine mood. For some it is “power and money”. For many it’s having enough money. For others it is the image of driving the “right” car. Issues like exercise and nutrition have a profound impact on mood. Quality relationships are important to many; as is intimacy; both emotional and physical. The ability to access fun, pleasure, and joy will go along way in creating a good mood. “Performance” dynamics in career, educational, and social systems will determine mood issues. For a select group, accessing creative energy is an important mood determinant. I could go on and on, but I want to make a few crucial points!
One dynamic that is sure to inhibit a good mood is social anxiety!
“Why?”, you might ask. Because social and performance anxiety keep a person from being in motion; from going after proactively what will create happiness in life; relationships, money, power, skill enhancement! If a person is not able to be proactive there is a tendency to feel not in control; this can suck the life out of a good mood!
I have worked with countless clients who are very successful in terms of money and image, but whose moods have been terribly compromised by public speaking anxiety, fear of being noticeably nervous, and obsessive perfectionism pathology.
Many people who suffer from these conditions believe that their condition is not resolvable, or that going for “help” is only for the mentally ill.
Selective mutism is a very insidious problem characterized by the child (although it affects people of all ages) not talking in select venues or to select people. Often mis-diagnosed as a speech disorder it is a very specific form of social anxiety that can be thought of as “ an addiction to the avoidance of speaking ”. Selective mutism baffles most professionals and has brought many a school system to its knees. Talk about bad moods!! This problem is extreme social phobia clearly present at an early age. It’s a good bet to cause more social anxiety, over-dependence on caregivers, poor, self –esteem and depression as it develops. Use common sense. What do you think a child is really thinking and feeling when they are not able to talk!!! Don’t be confused by the disconnected look you may see on the face of the child. They are learning an illusion or delusion that the world will learn to adjust to them. WOW!!!!! This problem is very resolvable when parents take productive action.
When an individual invests in avoidance because of anxiety it’s extremely difficult to achieve and sustain a good mood. Often people with social and performance anxiety mistake pleasure for the absence of pain (of anxiety).
The fear of being noticeably nervous; especially fear of blushing and sweating can wreak havoc on one’s mood; the obsessive worry, the phobic avoidance, the depression can be overwhelming and exhausting. It can cause “burnout” and depression. In fact people can be so desperate that they consider an operation to sever their nerves. There are quite a few physicians who are willing to do this for you.