Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Is a bad mood bad for your behind?


Everyone's guilty of doing it sometimes. (unfortunately I lived the last year of my life like this) Yes, you know...emotional eating. Some of us eat when we're upset, others when we are happy, and still others when any strong emotion comes along.

But can bad moods put us in a larger behind?

Steve Johnson says this about weight gain and bad moods:

Our moods are highly affected by stress and it can be tough trying to control and maintain our moods and our weight. Being overweight and in a bad mood limits the energy we need to keep us focused on staying healthy and living a productive and happy life.

Steve, you are preaching to the choir!

So for those days when the baby cried all night, or you haven't seen the sun because it's snowed so much in days, or you had a fight with your husband, child, or boss (and in my case if a good friend cops out on helping you move)....or anything else mood hampering, here are several tips to get you out of the rut:

1. Recall something or someone who makes you happy and daydream about it or him/her.

Maybe it is about someone you love or a special trip or place you have been or want to go. I love sitting by the ocean listening to music. Once several years ago my daughter and I spent several evenings at an outdoor cafe in Santorini watching the sun set over the water. The cafe owners provided wonderful classical music on their music system. It is a place I often return to in my daydreams.

2. Find something or someone you are grateful for and express your gratitude to yourself, to your journal and/or to the person or others.

What is it that makes a day special? Is it seeing a beautiful bird in your backyard, watching the sunset over the ocean, skiing down a mountain or getting a clean bill of health from your doctor? Look around a bit. Write about it in your journal or just remember it.

3. Focus on what you have been ignoring. When was the last time you read a great novel, sat by a fire in the fireplace or had the oil in your car changed? Find something you have been meaning to do and do it!

4. Stay in the present. Appreciate the mundane by focusing on the activities you do without thinking like eating, bathing, walking. Take notice of how good the water feels in the shower, how soft or hard the ground feels on your feet as you walk or just silently eat your meal and really taste it.

5. Get some exercise - go for a walk, ride your bike, jog etc.

I had a coach who used one of those big exercise balls to change her mood. Bouncing on the ball made her giggle and forget whatever it was that was bothering her.

6. Take a break and have a cup of tea. Sit quietly for 15 minutes. Keep your mind blank.

Often the silence is enough to change my mood. Sitting quietly keeping my mind off everything brings me back. I particularly like doing this and having a cup of hot tea in the winter.

7. Pick a piece of uplifting music and listen to it. Show tunes make me smile! How about you? What kind of music makes you happy?

8. Find your own special place to gather strength. Popular possibilities are sitting by the ocean/river/pond, visiting a mountain range, sitting or standing by a lovely garden.

In the summer the best place for me to change my mood is by the ocean. I love to watch the waves come in and out. Planting my garden also gives me a boost. I've been told that looking up at mountains does the same for some people. Create a space in your home or office that gives you strength.

9. Watch a young child play. See how engaged they are in the moment and in what they are doing. Join them . I recently hosted a dinner party for 6 adults and 2 children. The 17 month old loved the jar of bubble liquid that I had bought to entertain him. He giggled with delight as I blew bubbles for him. As he laughed and chased the bubbles I couldn't help smile at his enthusiasm, happiness, and general contentment for the way things are.

10. Sing your favorite song with or without the radio or stereo on. Crowing worked for Mary Martin!

So here's to being happier and healthier.

May you slay the bad mood blues so that your behind doesn't pay your dues!

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