People under chronic stress often try to cope by feeling down, hopeless, or sad. It is a way of communicating to the world that “I’m not doing so well” or a subtle plea for help.
Negative mood can be both a consequence of chronic unresolved stress and a behavioral way of influencing those around us. Because of the complicated nature of these feelings, professional help may be needed. This is particularly true if you experience prolonged periods of depression, sadness, or hopelessness.
It is normal to feel negative occasionally. There is often a cleansing affect to occasional “down” times. Certainly for most people, life with but a few ups and downs could be quite boring.
However, frequent negative moods are a sign that stress is beginning to have a detrimental effect on you. You may be experiencing personal burnout. Chronic negative mood can affect your health, productivity, and relationships and is a clear stress warning sign that you need to make some changes.
Negative mood is usually the result of irrational thinking about people or events. This could mean focusing on the negative and not seeing the positive in your life and work. You may see situations as problems rather than as challenges.
Another example of irrational thinking is overgeneralization. When you overgeneralize, you go from one simple problem to all problems.
Negative mood is often magnified when you focus on your feelings rather than the cause of the problem or its solution. In fact, the more you focus on trying to change how badly you feel, the more difficult it is to change those feelings.
Depression and negative moods are closely linked but are not necessarily the same. If you think you are chronically depressed and not just experiencing the normal adjustments in everyday living, then you should seek professional help.