What is Mood?



Last Update: 12/Jun/2023

Mood is part of our emotional rhythm; it is a mix of emotions and feelings. Mood is an affective state, and a key component of our psychological wellbeing (Warr, 1990). It is a semi-persistent mix of mental and physical reactions brought about by both our emotions and feelings. Mood can persist for hours, days or a few weeks (Totterdell & Niven, 2012).

Mood is powerful

Mood affects how we think and behave. It has a direct impact on how we react to things, how we interact with others, and how we carry out our daily tasks (Brief & Weiss, 2002). Mood influences our expectancies and our behavioural outcomes (Mayer, Gayle, Meehan, & Haarman, 1990), and positive mood is an important predictor of wellbeing, productivity and longevity (Ried, et al 2011). In daily interactions with others, we attempt to interpret the moods of others, anticipate each other’s emotional response, and seek to modify those emotional responses. To do so accurately and effectively, we must rely on our own knowledge about mood. As such, it is integral that we are aware of, understand, and accept all moods, and harness the power of what mood can offer.

What influences Mood?

Mood is not a fixed state, it is fluid, and fluctuates over time. Mood usually has a trigger, such as an event, an experience, or the environment.

Physical activity has immediate effects on mood, for example, feeling more relaxed, less stressed, more focused, and more able to cope. Regular physical activity can also improve mental health (e.g., reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression). Conversely, adults with increased levels of sedentary behaviour may display worsened mood (Stanczykiewicz et al., 2019). Prolonged screen time is linked to decreases in happiness, self-worth and resilience, and increases in anxiety, depression, and feelings of loneliness. Lack of sleep can increase negative moods (e.g., anger, frustration, irritability, sadness) and can decrease positive moods. Lack of sleep can also raise the risk of, and even contribute to, developing some mood disorders (e.g., anxiety and depression). Weather can have a dramatic impact on mood. Sunshine and warmer temperatures have the potential to make people feel happier and more positive, while colder temperatures, cloudy weather and persistent rain may lead to negative mood (Denissen et al., 2008). The light around us also has a direct impact on mood. Correct lighting improves mood, whereas poor lighting may make people feel more tired, anxious and agitated (Dong & Mansfiled, 2021).