Friday, April 19, 2013

Put a Spring in Your Step--and in Your Mood

Are energy and mood related? It turns out your body and mind are the true experts in answering this question.

Think about the days when you feel most tired:  How does your mood feel? What about vice versa? We are both physical and mental creatures and for that reason, when energy is low we will most likely feel it throughout the body and the mind.

With the hustle and bustle of today's lifestyle, it can be easy to forget the relationship between energy and mood when we're busy or feeling overwhelmed with life's responsibilities. Sometimes when our mood feels low, we may overcompensate by expending more energy to keep up with expectations. Other times, when energy feels drained, we may show ourselves and the world around us a perky attitude so it's not as noticeable.

When the body and mind knock on the door and say, "Hey! I feel pretty tuckered out," it may be time to try a creative approach to health and lifestyle habits. Many times when this happens, it's because a pattern or rut has set in. It could be that stress at work and at home has made physical activity seem impossible. Maybe pressures on your schedule have crowded out healthy eating habits.

Even more simply, maybe the time you allot yourself for relaxation and enjoyment has gotten narrower and narrower. Whatever the case may be, when your mood is low your body is probably trying to tell you something about your overall energy level as well. After all, the neurotransmitters (chemical messengers) in the brain are fueled by energy just as the rest of the body is. When energy is low, these neurotransmitters don't get the boost they need to keep your mood balanced.

What can you do? Aim to put a spring in your step and energy, thereby making it easier for your mood to lift naturally. Recognize whether your diet is making you feel more sluggish. If you're the kind of person who is energized by exercise but who is also low on time, try out weights, hiking, biking, or another form of movement once or twice a week. Call it movement instead of exercise, and you never know--it may feel easier to do. If all else fails to stick, turn on the radio and shake it out to your favorite music.

Along those lines, recognize when your physiology is asking for some rest and set out some time to relax and be with yourself. Been a long time since you enjoyed a meal and had enough time to chew it fully? Then mingle your relaxation time with your eating time.

Also ask yourself whether there are any lingering emotions or thoughts that may be dragging down your overall energy. Many times, energy and mood are like the chicken and the egg--it can be hard to tell which one started dipping first. No big on both of them!

As we move toward May and the flowers star to bloom, allow yourself to bloom too. Put a spring in your step, and your energy and mood will thank you for it.

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