Get a Grip on Your Moods

According to psychologist Randy Larsen, most of us spend about three days out of ten trying to shake a bad mood. “Mood swings are normal” he says.

Changing moods are reflected in our internal chemistry; let’s say you won’t be getting an expected raise this year: your brain starts pumping more of the stimulants dopamine and norepinephrine. Result: you’re weird, as your body gears up for “fight” or “flight”.

That doesn’t mean you should retaliate or run, however. “We need to have emotions” says Larsen. “But we don’t need them to control us.”

A bad mood can even be hazardous. While scientists know that chronically angry and hostile people may be more likely to develop heart diseases.

Do mastering your mood can be a life-or-death matter, here is the latest advice from the experts:

Pinpoint the problem: When you are fuming or fearful the first step you should take is to discover why. During dinner with his wife my friend realized what was bothering him: he was worried about personal changes at his most important account. “I’d been told I wouldn’t be affected, but obviously I didn’t believe that,” he says. I was concerned about being away at the wrong time.” Airing his fears was a relief, he says. “Putting to words things didn’t seem so bad.”

After pinpointing the problem he was able to try to solve it. “I started to do research into what the new management was looking for,” he says. Not only did my friend’s anxiety disappear; but he also picked up some new business along the way.

Respect your rhythms: “Most of us see our moods as caused by the things that happen to us, but they turn out to be very much related to natural biological processes,” says Robert E. Thayer, professor of psychology at California State University. The food we eat, out health and level of activity, even the time of day can play a role.

In one study Thayer found that problems seem more upsetting to people late at night. Our energy levels are usually high at the first third of the day, followed by a drop-off in late afternoon. “A stressor that may not bother you another time,” says Thayer, can seem pretty potent when energy is low.”

Thayer tracked down the moods and body temperatures more than 125 subjects for several days. He concluded that people feel happiest when body temperature is elevated, which corresponds to peak energy times.

Get enough sleep: According to Dr. Ronald E. Dahl of University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, sub-optimal amount of sleep can play havoc with our emotions. “If something frustrating happens, we have more trouble controlling our upset, just as children do when they are tired.”

In largest studies of its kind, Dr. Thomas Wehr, research psychiatrist at The National Institute of Mental Health in the U.S put 15 volunteers in the dark for 14 hours every night for a month. After a tremendous sleep rebound—the first night subjects averaged almost 11 hours—their sleep times gradually settled down to an average of 8 ¼ hours.

Throughout Wehr’s experiment, subjects rated their moods twice a day. All reported a significant improvement the more sleep debt they’d discharged.

So if you want to have a good health, besides a balanced diet, you need to alter your sleeping habits, reschedule your activities, take more time to relax, keep your mind free and stretch up your legs and if you feel sleepy just don’t hesitate to voyeur the new journey of sweet-dreams.

Get in touch with nature: Contact with nature is thought by many experts to contribute to optimal moods.

If getting outside isn’t possible, simply spending time near a window where you can see some grass and trees can help. In a 2001 study, psychologist Stephen Kaplan and his wife Rachel, co-authors of “The Experience of Nature” found that workers whose offices fronted a natural sitting were most enthusiastic about their jobs, had fewer symptoms of ill health, and felt less pressured than those whose offices over-looked a parking lot.

If you don’t get much chance to go out everyday and enjoy the smoothing and calming touch of lush green grass then don’t worry, just grow some plants in your garden or some small and empty place in your balcony and spend some of your time there, then see the results!

Get moving: In study of 18 men and women, psychologist Robert Thayer found that a ten-minute brisk walk boosts energy and reduces tension immediately, and effects that last at-least an hour. Prolonged physical activity may also help.

Besides, try to keep yourself cool and calm because during tension there is a thermal effect where body temperature rises, the way it would if you took a hot bath.

Eat wisely: “Mood swings are often fueled up by neurotransmitters in the brain that are turned on and off by the foods we eat —or don’t eat,” says dietitian Elizabeth Somer, author of “Food and mood.”

To make sure poor eating habits aren’t making you cranky, Somer suggests you eat regularly, starting with a balanced breakfast; limit your intake of caffeine and sugar (the immediate lift you get may be followed by irritability); and drink at-least 6-8 glasses of water per day (dehydration can cause fatigue).

There is growing evidence that carbohydrates can make us feel better. According to Massachusetts Institute of Technology nutritional biochemist Judith Wurtman, carbohydrates work by increasing brain levels of serotonin, thought to act as a natural sedative.

The snacks we eat should contain as little protein as possible, though, since it can interfere with the production of serotonin.

Cultivate a positive outlook: Some people equate negative moods and thoughts with being realistic, but everything around us is essentially neutral; we impose the values, either positive or negative. The question is which distortion do you wish to chose?

The quickest fix of all may be simply to take things lightly and smile bad moods away!!

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