Tag Archives: Mood

The Food-Mood Link

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Citation: Newswise Life Wire

Peter Pan

Peter Pan

Remember Peter Pan? He sprinkled some of Tinkerbell’s Fairy Dust on Wendy, John and Michael Darling and as soon as they managed to think happy thoughts, poof, they became light as a feather and were able to take flight!

Well, I can’t promise that you’ll grow wings and take to the skies, but according to a new report published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology called “Better Moods for Better Eating: How Mood Influences Food Choice,” you can start yourself on the path to becoming as light as a feather. https://cornell.box.com/MoodsAndFoods

Our moods absolutely impact the way we eat. The study indicates that not only do our moods have something to say about the type of foods we choose to eat, but also how much we consume.

Professor Brian Wansink, from Cornell University’s Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management and co-author of the paper claims the study proves that people turn to food to feel good. This means we eat to keep ourselves happy and also to make ourselves feel happy. So, here’s the logic. If we are already feeling happy, we are more likely to eat make more healthful choices when it comes to food.

Mindfullness3

Just a quick plug for my previous blogs about mindfulness and eating: For those of us who deal with weight loss issues and struggle to maintain a healthy weight, we now know exactly what it is that works against us if we don’t practice becoming more mindful about what we eat. We want to feel happy and we believe that in some way, eating will help us attain that goal. We can intercept the cycle of reaching for foods that may not be the ‘smarter’ choice, through mindfulness.

Associate Professor Meryl P. Gardner, Wansink’s partner and co-author from the University of Delaware’s Lerner College department of Marketing, believes “when we think about the future, it’s almost as if we are physically taking a step back, enabling us to see our more fundamental values – like health and nutrition. We can use that to make wiser choices rather than letting our moods dictate our behavior.”

Yep! That sounds like mindfulness to me.

Healthy Eating

Healthy Eating

So, here’s what we now have more reason to know…Being mindful about how we are feeling, checking in under our own hood, and thinking ahead a bit can really help us eat healthier and manage our weight better. The happier we can feel before its time to eat, the more likely we are to choose well and reap the benefits of feeling and looking better.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Judy is a licensed clinical social worker and has worked extensively as a counselor with children, adolescents, couples and families. Judy’s professional experience in the mental health field along with her love of writing, provide insight into real-life experiences and relationships. Her fresh voice and down-to-earth approach to living a happier, more meaningful life are easy to understand and just as easy to start implementing right away for positive results!

Introducing another mental health advocate

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my lifeIt is wonderful to see quality posts coming from our guest bloggers daily. I must especially thank Niko, June, Judith and Rudy for updates on all things psychology related. Also thanks to all our readers, sharing their views, reblogging and spreading knowledge even further. I am grateful and happy because you make me so.

As this would not be enough, I have the pleasure of introducing yet another guest blogger: Jasper. Thank you so much for wanting to contribute and share your personal story and knowledge about depression. He has told me how he want to help others by writing this, and that deserves an applause!

Downboyblog is where I share my journey with depression; the ups and downs of the fight for my life, plus what helped and what didn’t. If you are dealing with depression or just feeling down, or if you know someone who is, please read on and participate. 

Depression is devastating. Writing about it, takes courage and is one of the most important ways to prevent stigma from making it even worse

Some of his posts:

 

Welcome the world of DOWNBOY

Chasing your tail: A snapshot of RUNNING AWAY INTO A WALL

The Difference A Smile Can Make

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A smile makes people seem so much more confident, beautiful and approachable. Why doesn’t everyone smile then? Just because you don’t feel it doesn’t mean you can’t do it. Studies have shown that smiling changes your mood. You may be feeling negative and think a smile will only come when your thoughts are positive, but it actually works the other way round too. Put a smile on your dial and your thoughts will change.

Now since I’ve written this post, it clearly means I’m aware of the power and payoff of the smile. I’m not used to the idea of behaviour changing the mind, but I know it’s true. I’ve not only read about it but I’ve experienced it for myself, not only when I smile, but when others smile. Some people can look downright scary when they’re not smiling and you just want to duck under a table when they walk past. But when they smile, their whole face lights up with warmth and it makes you want to be around them so you can bask in the glow of their smile. Because you can just tell by their smile, that at this moment, they are full of something you want – the beauty, joy, and peace in their own skin the smile reveals. And in those moments when I smile like they do, I feel like I have the same beauty, joy, and peace in my own skin too.

Sometimes I look at people who seem so unhappy all the time. I can sense their lack of confidence and their thoughts that people are judging them. I picture a smile on their face and I can just see people flocking to them because they’ve got something they want. People don’t tend to gravitate towards unhappy people; but all the unhappy person wants is for people to accept them and to connect with them. But that’s never going to happen if they have a negative outlook with an unapproachable frown on their face all the time—the frown that says, “I want you to like me but if I let you see me, I fear you won’t like me so I’m going to keep you away.” Then they wonder why no-one comes near them.

I want to tell them: Smile.

When you smile, people think you have something to offer and they won’t care what you look like, or what job you have or what past you’ve had. All these things you think people notice and will judge you by, won’t even be given a second thought, because they don’t matter. It’s only when you make them a big deal and draw attention to these things that others will see them as the barrier you put up. You may think it’s these things that stop people from connecting with you, but it’s actually your perspective about them and the resulting demeanour you have that makes you seem unapproachable. If they aren’t an issue for you, then they don’t become (or never were issues in the first place) for other people. But if you’re already expecting people not to like you before you meet them, you can make it hard to give people the chance to like you because you’ve already shut them out.

You got to give people more credit. See all those thoughts you have are reflected in the way you present yourself. Give people the chance to see you. Give them a chance to like you. No matter who you are, people are more likely to give you a chance if you give them a chance. And sometimes all a person needs to know they’ve been given a chance is a smile.

So you don’t have to have it all together, you don’t have to look the way everyone else does and you don’t have to be like everyone else for people to accept you. If you smile, people won’t care and they’ll want to know you. Because you know what I realized: A smile isn’t really about the person smiling, it’s about the people who receives the smile. As much as a smile can be for our own good and our own mood, a smile always gives something to others. There is a selflessness in smiling.

Sometimes we don’t smile, because we can’t be bothered. Because we’re too caught up in our own world and don’t feel we have anything to offer. But we all have something to offer, whether we feel like it or not. Believe it, and smile because it’s one gift we can all give to each other.

And just because I love TED Talks, here’s a video about how behaviour can change our thoughts.

I am not bipolar, I have it.

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I am not Bipolar.  I have Bipolar.  It is not me, and I live with it, but I do not allow it to have me.

I know, this is all quibbling with language, but when we use language to think, to define ourselves and who we are, our words and their meanings become vital.  All to often, people are classified, or classify themselves as “Bipolar”, as if it were a nationality, culture, heritage or something that defines who we are.

I refuse.

Cancer patients don’t call themselves,”Cancerous”, although Cancer decides much of what they do and how they live.  They have Cancer.  Some lie down and allow their lives to go the way they go.  Some fight tooth and nail.  Some ignore it completely, living with it to the end.  There may be an exception somewhere to this, but I haven’t met anyone who said,”I am cancerous.”  They have it.

So, that’s my attitude.  It’s not for everyone, and if you are a “Bipolar” and embrace it, then good for you.  It’s not for me.

How do I fight?

First of all, I take the position that, despite the way my decision making abilities are tied to my emotion and energy and the way that they don’t always make any rational sense, I am the decision maker here.  If I choose to start behaving in a way that is a danger to myself or someone else, I made that choice.  I own it.  It may have been a poor choice, and may have been helped along by having Bipolar, but I made the decision to do X.  No one made me do it but me.

This position has it’s good and bad points.  It allows me to claim control over something, when internally it’s as if I’m mostly an observer.  Society appears to be all in favor of me lying down and claiming,”But, I’m bipolar, and I am out of control.”  I don’t want that.  I am 36 years old.  I’m a father, and if one of my kids says,”I was out of control”, as a parent, I still punish them for acting badly.  I have more control than a 4 or 8 or 12 year old, even if that control extends only to,”This is getting too hard, I need help.”  It allows me to live and be productive and helpful and a positive influence on my friends and family.  It makes me “happy”.

Secondly, I pay attention.  I pay a LOT of attention to what is going on with me internally.  For example:  Right now, I am a tad stressed, but not bad.  I’m on an “upswing” towards a potential hypo or hyper manic phase, but I won’t know how far it will go until I get there, but I know it bears careful attention to my sleeping patterns and closer scrutiny of decision making.  My chest has that odd “excitement/panic/fear/happiness” tingle to it.  My muscles are “sparkly” as I describe it, that sensation of when the adrenalin is about to drop into your system before a competitive race or something.  My thoughts are quick, but not racing, yet.  This all means that my patience is less, my temper is shorter, and I should probably not make any major decisions on my own and without reflection right now.

I know what I need to do, and the decision is mine as to whether to do the things that will allow me to continue to live and be a “good” influence on those around me or not.

Third, I try to focus my energy on things that are intangible , if I have an excess.  If I am manic and not sleeping, I will try to make myself consider philosophical thoughts, and if possible, engage someone in discussion.  Maybe I’ll pay attention to a social issue, and research it until I feel that I can come to a reasonable conclusion.  Maybe I’ll work on some creative writing.  I know that, me being me, I should try to avoid people that might take advantage of my heightened energy and such until it calms down.

I know what you may be thinking,”That’s not what so many other people say/think/write”.  Nope.  It’s not.  This is what works for me and how I think.

Should Bipolar be fought against or embraced?  I think that’s a decision each of us has to make on our own.  To me, embracing bipolar means “riding the roller coaster”, or more accurately, trying to form my life to where the roller coaster takes me.  If it were just me that I was responsible for, this might be a reasonable choice for me, but other people are effected by everything I say and do.  I choose to accept this responsibility to those people I love and care about and try to set aside my own feelings as I can.

Sometimes, it gets to be too much, and I have to tell everyone that I must take a break.  They can react how they like, but sometimes I have to tell the rest of the world that, for a little while, they can all go hang, or they will be without my influence.  This is a complication to the way I deal with life that the average “boss” will not accept or understand, and that’s ok.  I live within the means that I am able to create for myself or have access to.

I am an individual.  I am not Bipolar, I have it.  It does not define me, that is something I choose.  I do not fit into the “bipolar” category.  I don’t think that anyone really does.  Sometimes I am up so high that the world seems distant and beside the point.  Sometimes I’m so low that the world is monster threatening to destroy me.  It is not those times where I can do this stuff on my own.

So, I work on it.  I think through things, to the point that I research and plan things to the point of it being ridiculous at times.  My thought process is slow and complex, as I sort through information and determine the importance of it in order to come to a decision.  The way I do things internally doesn’t work out very well if I choose to follow an unplanned impulse.  I don’t do well in oral conversation, not having time to think about what I’m trying to say or having an easy way to rewind what has been said and make sure that my own impressions are accurate.  It allows me to live, though, and I’m used to it now.

There have been times I was in a hospital because, well, that’s where the rollercoaster had taken me.  I rode the rollercoaster into a dark, seemingly unending depression, or a manic phase dotted with delusions and hallucinations, or worse, into some bizarre mix of hyperactivity and depression, or a complete lack of energy and a nice dose of racing thoughts and grand ideas that, while grand, were impossible.

It has not been an easy road.  I did not get to this point at the flip of a switch or by taking a magic pill.  I have been fighting for 20 years since my first episode.  Therapy, meds of various kinds, and lots and lots of internal work and thought and reflection.

I know that it only takes a small slip to wind up back in a hospital, so I am careful.  If I see that I am on the way “up” or “down” or otherwise entering a realm where my decisions may not be the greatest, I try to act ahead of time, talking to people who will help me to make good decisions and good choices that allow me to continue.  If the help I get in “public” is not enough, then I may seek something more intensive, but I avoid that option if possible.

I am not bipolar.  I have it.  It does not define me.  I do that.  This is my mantra.  Every day that I wake up and lead a relatively normal appearing existence is a success.  Every day that I wake up and simply live, exist, function enough to get things done that make others’ lives easier is a success.  The only failure, for me, is to board the rollercoaster and raise my hands and let life happen to me.

Will it work for you?  That’s up to you.  Do I think anyone else should or should not choose to fight and live as I do?  No.  That’s up to you and your life and situation.  This is mine though.

It’s my life.  Because I am not bipolar.  I am me.  I am an individual.  I can not be defined as bipolar any more than I can define you as bipolar.  Who you are is your choice.  It may be the only choice you get to make, so make the choice that will make you happy and that will allow you to live as well as possible.

But, I define myself, and I am not bipolar.  I have it.