Mood is the way we are as expressed by our bodies. It is the conscious or unconscious content of who we are being, what kind of presence we radiate as we go through the world. If we are gloomy in our bodies, this pales the spaces we pass through with a gloomy shadow. If we are radiating an enthusiastic, playful, or hopeful mood this can bouy the spirits of others nearby.
In this way our bodies express the sum of our being in any moment. Sometimes we are aware of the mood we embody and how it may affect others, at other times, perhaps more often, we are not.
In Aikido we practice adopting a martial spirit, which is a mood of confidence, focused awareness, relaxation, compassion, and ferocity. Students often start out inhabiting a meek and cautious mood, one expressed in their bodies by rigidity, tension, and reliance on strength to get out of trouble. Good Senseis customize their teaching for individuals to help them gradually embody a mood of martial spirit over time and training.
For a martial arts teacher, intervening with a student about mood is very common. There are lots of different moods and attitudes in the dojo: enthusiasm and openness, focused ferocity, arrogance, fear, ruthlessness, compassion, to name a few. The teacher must know and be able to deal with all of these effectively for the good of the dojo community. Students do not only attend a school to learn martial arts techniques, they are also learning, from the teacher and from their own discovery, how to be better more effective people.
Intervening about mood among peers or in off-the-mat situations is much more complex and difficult, even if the aim of the intervention is sincerely to help someone learn. Sometimes friends will accept advice to "get off it" or to shift out of a resentful mood, but often enough they will decline the advice and burrow even deeper into whatever mood we are counseling them to abandon.
In work situations, where we are contracting to spend time and energy, ad hoc interventions on mood are even more complicated, difficult, and likely to backfire. In the dojo students give implicit permission to the Sensei to intervene with "the whole person," from physical abilities to personality traits, to attitudes and mood. But at work no such permission is routinely offered to managers or peers. In the workplace mood is not readily negotiable, only quanta of work done per time unit is fair game. A good part of the reason for this off-limits approach to dealing directly with peoples' mood at work is that there are no easy methods for intevening in a way that preserves dignity, nor are managers trained in any systematic techniques for conducting such interventions that lead reliably to effective resuts.
These concerns are important to anyone interested in trying to apply Aikido principles in spoken communication to manage conflict and complex problem-solving conversation in the workplace. If we are going to design methods for training people to apply Aikido principles to off-the-mat and work-related breakdowns, it seems obvious that we will need to address the whole person, and this will include dealing with mood along with every other component in the process of speaking and listening.