Moody Monday: How to beat a bad mood, part 1

Crappy moods. They happen to the best of us. Sometimes it’s because we are fixated on something, and that something is bad. This is called variously: brooding, ruminating, or stewing. In my family, we call this being a “worrier” and what it means is that you have the unfortunate habit of ceaselessly reflecting on painful experiences and fears about the future. Or mostly just petty annoyances. Now, full disclosure. I am a worrier and I come from a long line of worriers. My father was a worrier, his father was worrier before him, and probably the chain of worry goes back to the dawn of time and is somehow encoded in my DNA.There is nothing good about brooding, ruminating or worrying. According to people who should know, brooding actually stressful, paralyzing, addictive and fosters other negative behavior like drinking too much and eating disorders. Nothing good comes of it.

So how not to brood?  I guess if you are aware that you are doing it you can just force yourself to think about something else. But for me that’s like saying, “Don’t think about elephants.” which just makes it impossible to think about anything but elephants.

Recently, the NYT published a study that showed taking a pleasant walk in nature actually stops brooding. By this they mean it actually changes what is going on in your brain when you brood. I decided to try this out the last time I was particularly annoyed. I’m looking at you, American Airlines.  You, and your crazy carrier fees on BA.

Results, well, as a way to alleviate acute brooding, I would give the nature walk two stars out of five. It’s probably something that might be a good idea to do habitually to make your disposition sunnier — not as a way to alleviate acute annoyances. And, it’s not that I don’t love nature–nothing relaxes me like camping. And people who like camping as much as I do are a pretty small club.

But anyway a good playlist for walking. I think it’s upbeat, and quirky and interesting and has plenty of slightly weird stuff that should distract the average person from their internal monologue and help beat a bad mood.

Pin It
Share on Tumblr

Eclectic Intervals – A Workout Playlist

Welcome to Workout Wednesday at the Owl Muse!

Around here, January is the month for setting goals and changing habits. For a lot of us who sit around all day, that means moving more. “Move it or lose” it as they say, and I think that pertains to mental health as much as physical functioning. I have zero credentials as a fitness expert, but I have tried numerous different approaches over the years, and I will share with you the routines that I have found to be most effective for me. YMMV, but I have nothing to gain from selling you on a particular approach, so I’m unbiased in that regard.

My basic insight about exercise is just this: doing something is better than doing nothing. If you like cardio, do cardio. If you like lifting weights, lift weights. If you like biking, bike. I also added a couple of workouts inspired by a boot camp (Thanks, Matt!) I used to go to–plyometrics and circuit training–because (i think) they are fun and relatively easy to do at home with minimal equipment.

And, after all,  this is a music blog — so I have developed workouts that are guided by awesome playlists. This one is a real mix — old songs and new — different genres and styles. I have also found that good music really motivates me to work out and not give up after 3 minutes like I would with a workout video. Sometimes just watching Jillian Michaels on the TV is enough work, right?

The first mixtape is a 45 minute workout with a set of two and three minute songs, perfect for cardio. One thing I will say about cardio is that I have found that doing intervals (also called HIIT which sounds more painful than it is) is more helpful than doing steady state cardio. The idea is to go full-on for two minutes, recover for three. Rinse. Repeat. This will work for any type of cardio. Do whatever exercise works for your fitness level and suits your fancy: sprint/run, jog/walk, climb stairs, jump rope, use any sort of cardio machine. The only thing is to go hard, then go easy (lower your heart rate but don’t stop moving!). If it’s too easy, you can switch it up — go hard for three minutes and recover for two. I use a heart rate monitor and keep my pulse between 110 and 135.

OWL MUSE CARDIO INTERVALS < listen to this mix on spotify

1. Blue Jeans (RAC mix)/Lana Del Ray/RAC – warm up

2. Motor Away/Guided by Voices – go fast

3. Huddle Formation/The Go! Team – recover

4. Poppy Day/Brighter – go fast

5. Coma Complacency/Japandroids – recover

6. Something I Learned Today/Husker Du – go fast

7. In Our Angelhood/Cocteau Twins – recover

8. Deep Sea Diving Suit/The Magnetic Fields – go fast

9. Gotta Get Away/The Black Keys – recover

10. Song 2/Blur – go fast

11. Argonauts/The Little Ones – cool down

12. Afternoon/Youth Lagoon – stretch

13. Every Other Freckle/Alt-J  – stretch

BTW, I am just music fan who works out, not a medical or exercise professional, so use common sense and check with your doctor if you don’t normally workout. Also, don’t run outside in the dark or when it’s slippery. And watch for cars!

Share on Tumblr