How checking the clock affects your mood

By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.

Why do mood swigs happen

In many of my previous articles i talked about mood swings that happen throughout the day. I explained how remembering an unsolved problem can instantly change your mood even if the clue that reminded you of the problem was unconscious.

In other words, you don't have to consciously remember your problem in order for your mood to swing but just coming across a clue that your subconscious mind understands is enough to change your mood no matter how subtle it was. (see also Understanding the unconscious symbols)

But today i am going to talk about a totally different factor that also affects your mood which is the passage of time!

Ever felt good at 3 then by 3:37 you felt unhappy?
Ever experienced a mood swing that happened for almost no reason?
Ever felt good then your mood changed in minutes?

To know why those strange mood changes happen you have to understand how the passage of time affects your mood.

How checking the clock affects your mood

In a previous article How time affects your mood i explained how monitoring your life progress against your age can seriously impact your overall happiness levels.

Today i am also talking about the way time affects your mood but instead of focusing on long term changes i will talk about the very fast changes that happen throughout the day as a result of checking the clock.

Imagine you had lots of work to do and by 2:30 you weren't so late. 7 minutes later when it becomes 2:37 there is a big possibility that you will feel irritated if you didn't believe you are on time.

When we see a "37" we unconsciously think that this hour is about to end even though we still have 23 minutes. This feeling usually doesn't happen at 2:35 because your subconscious mind would still think that you have half an hour left.

Here is another popular example. If you had a boring task to do the next day then most probably you won't think about it much before its dark. But as soon as sunlight starts to disappear your subconscious mind will believe that the day is ending and you will start to worry about that task.

Of course you might worry in the morning but worrying will become more intense when its about to get dark.

Mood swings & Thinking about the near future

Just as noticed your mood changes according to the time if you are the kind of person who checks the clock often.

In my article The connection between impatience and worrying i explained how checking the clock more often can ruin your mood.

The more you check the time you still have to finish your tasks the more likely your mood is going to the change.

So what's the solution? Don't procrastinate or delay important work so that when you check the clock your mood doesn't swing. Also make sure you only check the clock when needed and not every 5 minutes!

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