Volume 1 Module 4 Online - Mood, Emotion and Developing Your Strengths

Goals of this Module

  • Recognise there is a difference between moods and emotions
  • Understand that there are seven universally recognised emotions
  • Share strategies for managing our moods and emotions

Q: In pairs discuss the following question

- What is the difference between an emotion and a mood?

One large study asked people to describe the differences and the results are shown below[1]:

Emotion Mood

Related to the heart

Person is aware of the cause

Hard to control


About something


Starts and goes away quickly

Related to the mind

Person may not be aware of the cause


Long lasting

Not about anything in particular


Starts and goes away slowly

Q: Read the following two scenarios and after each, write down the first emotion that enters your mind.

Scenario 4

You have arrived on the vessel, dropped off your bags in your cabin and gone immediately to undertake your handover.

Sometime later you return to your cabin.  You open one of your cases and a very large snake rears up at you.


Write down the first emotion that enters your mind:

Scenario 5

There have been lots of unexplained equipment breakdowns.

The Captain calls the crew together and announces that the Chief Engineer has discovered that a crew member has been guilty of deliberate sabotage and has been disciplined and told he would be sent home next port.


Write down the first emotion that enters your mind:


The seven universal emotions

There are seven universal emotions felt by everyone irrespective of their culture or ethnicity.

There are other emotions, for example shame, guilt, frustration, relief, gratitude and trust. Trust is of course essential onboard.  But the seven universal emotions are common to everyone.

Emotions prepare us to deal with important events without having to think about them.  Emotional responses are usually automatic.  We don’t choose to feel them, they just happen1.

Moods can be harder to spot and to understand.

Q: In pairs, discuss what sort of mood are you in now? Why do you think you are in that mood?


Q: Look at the following model2 which shows eight descriptions of moods

Some of these moods are more pleasant for the person in that mood but may have a different effect on others.

Q: Read the following scenario and make a note on the next page of how this makes you feel.

Scenario 7

You are exhausted, having had to do an extended watch, due to illness. 

You are approaching port and the pilot has come onto the bridge.  They are very lively, making jokes and trying to make other members of the bridge team laugh. 

They tell you that their daughter has just had a baby and they are thrilled to be a grand-parent.

Managing Moods

- How does scenario 7 make you feel?

What you are thinking to yourself and what do you actually say or do may be different.  You may manage your mood to match the situation.

- In general, what strategies do people use to manage their moods?

Healthy Strategies Unhealthy Strategies







Your Strengths

We spend a lot of time focusing on what we are not very good at, for example, ‘I can’t draw’, or ‘I am useless at sports’.  Most of us don’t spend much time thinking about what we are good at.  We take it for granted.

Q: Write down one thing you are good at (a strength) which other people here may not know about.  
It could be anything at all, from being good at playing darts, or remembering to send birthday cards, to speaking three languages or playing a musical instrument. You all have strengths, or you would not be on this vessel!

Q: Write down your top three strengths.  
Work with a partner to think how you could boost your strengths. The questions below the table to help you come up with some ideas.

Strength How can I boost this strength





Example questions that can help you think of some ideas:

  • What opportunities are out there for me to develop this strength?
  • How could I use this strength more onboard and at home?
  • What is behind this strength and how could I turn it into an opportunity?
  • What ideas have I been putting off? What could I enjoy?
  • Where could I use this strength to make a difference in my life, job and relationships?
  • Where could I really shine by just being myself?

Summary of volume 1, module 4

Q: Take a moment to write down what you will remember from this session and what you want to do as a result.

In this session we have looked at emotions

We noted that people of all cultures recognise seven universal emotions.  We looked at the signs that someone has a high level of emotional fitness.

We considered the difference between an emotion and a mood and how moods can affect other people.

We have also looked at our individual strengths and how we might boost them. 

References for this module include the following sources:

1iBeedie C, Terry P, & lane, A (2005) Distrinctions between emotion and mood, Cognition and Emotion , 19, p847-878
2Paul Ekman, Paul Ekman.com
3(Desmet et al. 2012)