January 3rd, 2009 11:30 AM by Lehel Szucs
"I've got a great life!" (Why am I not happy?)
By Dr. Annette Colby, RD
My husband is rarely affected by mood swings. It's the most incredible thing to behold! He is honestly the most balanced, joyful, and happiest person I have ever met. Sure, he can get upset, angry, or disillusioned just like the rest of us, but overall his mood is light-filled and loving. I absolutely adore his abundant laugher and overflowing joy.
As for me, I love life! But... I feel everything -- even those feelings that don't originate from me. Overall, that's a good thing. It provides a deep and rich awareness, understanding, and empathy of life, other people, and myself. However, sometimes those feelings are intense, and sometimes they get stuck inside. A lifetime of living with this heightened sense of emotional awareness has allowed me to become an expert in how to move those more difficult emotions up and out.
If you often feel moody or down in the dumps, perhaps that is just part of the way you are built. Instead of tolerating your moods, maybe it's time you also became an expert in personal mood management. If you are having trouble feeling happy, try these tips. When you find something that works, add it to your emotional well-being toolbox. Then next time you want to move from sad to glad, open your toolbox, dig around, and put one or more of your tools into action.
1. Go ahead -- worry. Allow yourself 15 minutes of worry time. Get out your journal and write it all down. Your journal can be an incredible tool to validate the importance of what you feel. Express your emotions, feel your feelings, and let it all out. Write out the big sloppy, messy misery that you are experiencing. Communicate your concerns. Then once it's all out, set aside your journal and move on to an activity that will bring some positive energy into your life.
2. Walk it off.Research shows that walking is great way to de-stress. Not only does a walk get your energy flowing, it also helps you breathe more deeply. Breathing can disrupt the internal stress-building loop where stressful feelings lead to negative thoughts that lead to stressful energy. Breathing interrupts the common tendency that we have to ruminate or become absorbed with our thoughts and feelings when we are upset. Breathing opens up your body, helps emotions flow, and helps us come back to our own inner core of peace.
3. Rub it in.Enjoying a 20-minute massage once or twice a week has been shown to lower stress and anxiety. Plus, massage is a great way to connect with your body in a positive, loving way. Human touch in the form of massage can allow you to relax, unwind, reduce your stress hormones, and increase brain relaxation. It certainly can't hurt, and it can make you feel better.
4. Laugh it up.If you can't cry, then try laughing. It can be just as effective as tears to move out some of those dark, heavy, moody energies. Laughter also increases the release of endorphins -- brain chemicals that give you a sense of emotional well-being. Rent a funny movie, call up your comical friend, or check out the comedy channel on television or your satellite radio. A giraffe walks into a bar. The bartender says, "Do you want a long neck?" The giraffe says, "Do I have a choice?" Didn't think that one was funny? Try this one: Three guys walk into a bar. The third one ducks.
5. Create the official "50 things I love" list. Sit down and create a list of 50 things you love. Maybe your list includes a favorite movie, making up silly songs, an onion bagel, and gardening. When you are feeling down, you can look at all the things you love about life. Then actively engage yourself in one or two of the items on your list, even if you think you won't enjoy yourself. Find an item that makes you laugh, boosts your self-esteem, or revitalizes your mood. You might be faking it at first, but as you take an intentional action to nurture yourself, your brain will respond by releasing feel good hormones.
6. Food and mood.What you eat can affect your mood. If you haven't eaten in a few hours, or you've only eaten a sugary cereal or doughnut for breakfast, your blood sugar could be plummeting. Low blood sugar equals a low mood. Instead of reaching for a quick fix candy bar, reach for a meal that's loaded with protein that can increase alertness and energy, and complex carbohydrates that can provide a level blood sugar balance. High protein foods include fish, poultry, meat, and eggs. If you can't eat those, try legumes, cheese, milk, yogurt, or tofu. Healthy complex carbohydrate foods include whole grain breads and cereals, whole grain pasta or rice, oatmeal, fruits, and vegetables.
7. Drink Up the H2O!Drink water, water, and more water! One of the first signs of dehydration is a mood swing. Drinking more water could be the easiest way to lighten your mood, sharpen your thoughts, and feel better quickly. In part, that's because your brain needs water to function at its highest capacity. Rehydrating allows the natural brain chemicals to do their job.
8. Clean your house, clear your mood. A clean house, or closet, or desk can lift your spirits. Being surrounded by clutter can cause you to feel overwhelmed, stuck, and stressed. It can kill your energy and leave you feeling down and unmotivated. Get a feel for where you would get the most bang for your buck. Cleaning the toilet might not do much to increase your enthusiasm, but putting away your laundry and then clearing out your closet might just be what the doctor ordered. Once your clutter clearing is complete, sit back, breathe, and enjoy all the new energy that is available to you.
Learning to lift you mood can seem impossible at times, but there are ways to help yourself feel better. Experiment with the tips above and discover what lifts the funk out of you. Spending some time figuring out how to release a sad mood will pay off big time to give you a more fun and fulfilling life. About the Author:
If you're not living the life of your dreams, or getting the results you want, it's probably your beliefs holding you back. Inspirational author and personal growth expert Dr. Annette Colby, RD can help. Whether you are trying to take the pain out of life, turn difficult emotions into joy, release stress, end emotional eating, or move beyond depression, you can achieve success. Annette breaks it down step-by-step so anyone can achieve the life they are wanting to live, no matter how tough life was before. To access hundreds of content filled articles and sign up for an inspirational Loving Miracles newsletter, visit http://www.annettecolby.com