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Playing the Alert Card. Monday October 7, 2013

Here's the fourth in the series of excellent blogs by Lex covering the adjectives on the 20 Moodscope cards. Please don't forget we'd love you to add any ideas, tips, insights or advice you may have that you'd like to share with other Moodscope members that might be of help. Please add them to the comments at the end of this post. Many thanks. Caroline.

Today, it's the turn of the "Alert" card, which Moodscope defines as, 'being quick to notice and act.' This is an 'animal' trait to me, reminding me fondly of the dogs and cats I've known. Beloved pets often appear to be resting contentedly, but their ear movements give them away - they always score a 3 on this card because they are ever quick to notice and then leap into activity... especially if there is food or attention available.

Being alert is dominantly an external phenomenon – it's an awareness of the opportunities and threats in our environment. As such here is a fascinating exercise you can do. Take the index fingers of both hands and wiggle them in front of your eyes. Keep staring straight ahead while you move your arms apart horizontally and so test the width of your vision. You are testing your visual awareness of movement not sharp focus. Now do a similar exercise but take one hand up above your head and the other down towards your waist vertically. What you should notice is that you can see more in one dimension. (No spoilers here – you'll have to try it for yourself.)

Now that you have an idea of the scope of your visual awareness, put your hands by your side and just look straight ahead. Without moving your eyes, check out the height, depth and breadth of your visual awareness. What can you see now that you hadn't been consciously aware of before? Keeping that vision, switch to your peripheral awareness of sound. What can you hear now that you hadn't been consciously aware of before? Where is the sound coming from? You can, of course, continue through the 5 senses but seeing and hearing are often enough to pull you back into the 'now' sufficiently to sharpen the level of your alertness.

If I do this rapidly (and privately) in company, I'll usually pick up on some cue that someone is giving off – perhaps a tell-tale cluster of body gestures or an interesting tone. The second part is then to act on what I've noticed – this is being alert! And, taking my cue from the wise cats and dogs, this is a great activity to do when eating socially. You'll hone in on someone who would positively purr at the special attention you can then pay them.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment on our Blogspot:

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Anonymous Mon, Oct 7th 2013 @ 9:04am

Just a note of caution here - alertness is great and of course it's better to be in touch with the world outside and "in the now" as opposed to being completely wrapped up in ourselves, but for me, if I am scoring 3's for alertness too many days in a row it's a sign that I'm going into overdrive and becoming a bit hyper alert. I know then that I need to rein myself in again and put the brakes on a bit.

Julia Mon, Oct 7th 2013 @ 10:00am

Yes I agree. I associate a high score on the alert card with being edgy and not calm or relaxed. I notice calm people do not react immediately to demands or questions like I do when I'm on edge and alert.
I did your exercises Lex. Not heard of these before.

Anonymous Mon, Oct 7th 2013 @ 11:55am

I use the old fashioned "deep breath and count to ten" method if I hear something "testy". I'm sure one of the Mr Men used it. Anyone know which one it was?

The Entertrainer Mon, Oct 7th 2013 @ 5:15pm

Thanks for having a go, Julia. It comes from an exercise I use to teach Speed Reading of all things! (Well, at least the first part does.) Because the brain filters out so much of what is going on all around us, it can be helpful to use a physical exercise, such as the one I practice, to act as a catalyst to take my awareness both outwards and my consciousness into the now.

It's been fascinating to have people's comments on the cards so far. There can be such a huge difference between "Author's Intended Meaning" and each Moodscoper's interpretation. According to the cards' colour coding, "Alert" is intended as a positive card (along with attentive/strong/enthusiastic/excited/active/proud/determined/interested/inspired). However, on each occasion we've heard that many of these positive cards have an alternative side. My suggestion is that consistency is a key. The way in which each Moodscoper interprets each card should be the way they stay reading that card, otherwise the trend data will be less helpful for them over time.

For myself, I've changed my approach to some of the cards (for example, Proud - which I saw as negative) once I realised the author's intention to see this as a positive. Now I am consistently making sure I perceive the red cards as positives that move my mood forward.

Julia Mon, Oct 7th 2013 @ 6:46pm

Yes I agree with you Lex. Consistency is the key with the cards.Since the descriptions appeared. I have thought more carefully before I score and my average score is slightly lower but I am still consistent with my interpretation of the cards. However now you mention that the red cards should be seen as positive, I may have to alter how I score again. I may score higher! I shall have to see my state of alertness as positive even if I feel its negative. I am just about to do them now so will view all the red cards as positive; it will be interesting to see if my score changes. I may let you know! I found your exercise really interesting and am going to tell other people. It's great to learn these new things! Thank you.

Anonymous Mon, Oct 7th 2013 @ 11:32pm

I agree that for me high alertness tends to be associated with high scores on cards such as nervous or scared. If I'm relaxed I don't need to be very alert. That might be a personal thing as I have a person in my life who is chaotic and threatening. If I am scoring high on alertness it often means that this person is being difficult so I don't associate it with positive emotions. The flip side of this is that those testing times allow me to justify high scores on cards such as strong and determined. So I guess it all evens up in the end :-)

Tim Clayton Tue, Oct 8th 2013 @ 12:24pm

Yes, I like this piece on "alert". I'll be using it for my driving instruction ...

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