Archives for posts with tag: mood

Today’s old-fashioned word you don’t hear too much of these days – and with good reason – is wallowing. It literally means to roll about the place, like an elephant in a mud bath, and has roots in the Indo-European proto-language, but it’s more commonly used in the metaphorical sense of indulging in an emotion.

Although it can be either kind of emotion, the good one or the bad one, I only ever hear people using the bad one, as in wallowing in self-pity, or in nostalgia, which I also consider to be an unhealthy pastime, as you can’t get back what’s gone.

I try and avoid wallowing whenever I can, and try to stay upbeat and positive. Sometimes, however, you have a bad day where you’re stuck and you can’t see your way out of it. I don’t have them often but when I do I always think of those people for whom depression and anxiety are constant companions. After all, it’s really hard to escape from your own mind, and if you try to do it using alcohol or recreational drugs then you’re simply putting off the part you eventually have to get through.

My occasional bouts of wallowing often stem from uncertainty as to future outcomes, but manifest themselves in unhelpful comparisons with the situations of other people whose grass appears greener than mine. The best way out of it I think, as the experts say, is to talk it out, bring your nearest and dearest close to you and talk to them, over the phone if you can’t do it in person.

There’s a low in wallowing, literally, but springing from it is a win too.

In 1990’s Scotland there was a great series of TV adverts designed to reinforce our recall of the Tennent’s lager brand by judicious use of words ending in their big red capital T. Younger readers may also be familiar with the summer festival T in the Park, which does exactly the same thing.

Anyway, these ads featured the pouring of half of a glass of Tennent’s in front of someone, who either laughed with joy or cried with sadness, depending on whether they were an glass-half-full optimisT or a glass-half-empty pessimisT.

These days we’re under increasing pressure – perhaps it’s our gradual Americanisation – to be incorrigibly upbeat and optimistic about everything. Our positive outlook alone will affect the outcome. It’s the positive spin we put on life and especially in marketing. This is true in parts. I’ve always described myself as a realist, occupying the halfway house, a hope-for-the-best-plan-for-the-worst space in between the two characteristics.

The other day I was chatting to my son who can sometimes be sweepingly downbeat in that glum teenagerish way. I told him he was sounding like a pessimist. ‘I’m not a pessimist Dad,’ he countered, ‘I’m a non-delusional realist.’

Which opens up a whole new can of worms. Is that the same thing as a pessimist, or is it a qualification of a realist, or is it suggesting there are many shades on the pessimist-optimist spectrum, or many grades to the axis?

I know, thinking too much…