Spry or Dry?
How Your Mood Influences Your Health & Fitness
Hello there, my friend! I hope you are treating life well. My post today is a little different than my usual posts. As you may well know, I am an observer. I like to observe people and, especially, their behavior. I have always been fascinated by how different attitudes, perspectives, and persuasions yield different “life” results. So, in this post, I wish to share both my observations over 15 years as a personal trainer as well scientific evidence regarding how mood affects fitness success. Ultimately, I hope this post helps change your “dry” mood into a “spry” mood!
In a nutshell, happy people seem to thrive on life and often seem more successful. Their positive energy is contagious, and they often inspire others to action. They have their bad days, just like every other human being, but they seem to take it in stride and can keep stress in context. They have a jovialness about them that is infectious and pleasant. They are, by and large, happy, and they have a sense of humor that is capable of lifting–not only their own spirits–but those around them as well.
Science tells us that people who are happy experience the following physiological benefits:
Enhanced nervous system (mediated by growth factors)
Increased immunity and less chance of getting sick in the first place
Calmed mind and body (less clutter and negative storylines running through your mind)
Lowered blood pressure
Increased ability to heal from sickness and physical ailments
Increased ability to concentrate
Increased ability to problem solve rationally
This is just the tip of the ice berg. Scientists from the University of California concluded laughter relaxes muscles, eases general body tension by reducing levels of stress hormones, eases blood pressure, and increases oxygen uptake in the blood! No wonder happy people keep staying happy and moody people keep staying moody–it is literally in their blood!
As much as I don’t want to, let’s contrast the positive with the negative. I have observed that those who are chronically moody and irritated have a hard time staying healthy and fit. They ALWAYS seem to have an excuse as to why they are pissed off and why they can’t do anything about it. In other words, they are victims. I don’t want to stand in judgment because I have stood in negative places myself, too. My objective is to give you my observations backed with science, so that you can consciously make a change in your life if you happen to be on the negative end of the mood spectrum.
Being in a chronically sour mood makes it really hard to be healthy and fit. Here is what happens in your body:
Elevated blood pressure
Negative outlook on life
Mental pressure and stress
Impaired ability to heal physically and emotionally
Surge in cytokines, which are immune molecules that start the inflammation process
Increase in cortisol and other stress hormones that literally disintegrate brain neurons
Inability to see stressors in context; in other words, you will make a mountain out of a mole-hill
Increased risk for stroke, cancer, and heart attack
True to form, just about all of the “Negative Nellies” that I have coached in the past have struggled with one or more of the conditions on aforementioned list. In contrast, my happy clients have enjoyed the benefits of good health and fulfillment. So is this just a genetic thing that you are born with? Not at all. Ample research shows us that we have a large say in whether we are happy or sad. The following are my suggestions based on science and life experience:
Tips to boost your mood:
Remember you have one divine attribute that most other mammal do not possesses: self-awareness. The first step in changing your mood is becoming aware of your chronic negativity. It is only through conscious self-awareness that you can take the next step.
Remember, too, that you have the ability to spontaneously create optimism in your life. This starts in your mind. Remember that your mind cannot tell the difference between an imagined experience and a real one (at least from a subconscious stand point). When you default to your “normal” negative ways, begin to imagine the opposite. For example, if you think, “my life sucks,” replace it with something like, “I am so grateful that I have complete control over my life and I can take it ANYWHERE I want to!” You truly are CREATING optimism in your mind by consciously imagining it.
One of the last things you want to do when you are down or moody is exercise. Ironically, this is exactly what you should do. The science is irrefutable that it boosts your mood.
This is the most unused and underappreciated practices in the world. By simply being grateful for all of the blessings in your life, your mood will change and your desire for self-care will increase. If this is hard for you at first, please stick with it. There is plenty to be grateful for.
Well, there you have it, my friends! I hope you start your quest today to become spry and alive in your pursuits of health and wellness. Life is good!