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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Mood Appraisals, Part I

This is part 1 in a series of explorations into the various moods we feel. Each time, I will highlight either a high, low, or mid-tone. Over time, readers may wish to contrast the various entries for their respective advantages and disadvantages.

When you're feeling content, you may tend to have a sense of closure. However, closure can also be followed up by unfulfillment, which then requires further subsequent closure, leading to the dastardly vicious contentment cycle. For this reason, you should try to avoid contentment whenever possible.

Contentment can be an agonizingly nondescript sensation, though it works fine when you're not concentrating or paying attention. It won't require a lot of thought, so it's a serviceable mood in those situations where you're too tired for cheerful or giddy. An old adage goes that ignorance is bliss, but a more accurate statement would be to say that ignorance is contentment. Bliss will be discussed in a future segment, but sufficeth to say here that contentment is much different than bliss. When you're content, you're settling for the current state of affairs and not necessarily thrilled about them.

People erroneously think that the alternative to being content is to be a malcontent, though the two are not necessarily mirror images. Malcontentment is negatively aggressive, while contentment is only passively positive, putting it closer to neutrality than malcontentment.

Examples of being content would be how you feel when no catastrophes have happened recently, or the in-between feeling the day after a dentist appointment but having nothing to do, the typical non-euphoric malaise of 2:00 p.m., no news being good news, avoiding the radar, or being licked by a dog.

People who are generally content: Julia Roberts, Judge Ito, Bill Murray, Larry King, Buck Henry, John Kruk, Gordon Jump, Father Mulcahy, Larry Bird, the audience at a Jewel concert, Ford Escort drivers, podiatrists, badminton fans, people wearing slippers.

Animals that are generally content: Koalas, goldfish, daddy long legs, cows, seals, dead snakes, most marsupials, Kermit the Frog, pigs and ducks.

Other things that are content: Elevator music, operating manuals, mashed potatoes, bologna, sandals, fettucini, bowling, pork rinds, the color gray, middle class incomes, wax paper, the letter H, Sweden, ruts, habits, margarine, the status quo, conventionalism, and lint.

If you notice yourself getting content, here are a few things you can try:
• Do a pushup. This may help you raise awareness of your circumstances.
• Say to yourself, "I am more than just content. I am extra-content." Anything 'extra' is a motivating tool.
• Eat a peach. The pectin may awaken the endorphins within you, and contentment is the enemy of endorphins.
• Stay away from other content people. Contentment can spread through osmosis.
• Watch a new TV show called "Shut the Stupid Thing Off."
• Do something different with your daily routine. Have breakfast in the evening. Get dressed before you take a shower. Drive another route to work. Let a child pick out your clothes.

Next installment: Verklempt

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

When I laughed out loud: "people wearing slippers".

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