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

Rock n Roll Lifting – A Workout Playlist

My favorite playlist for weight training is on Spotify. People seem to agree that rock (or metal)  is the way go for weight training. I think the idea is that intense music supports the intense effort and concentration needed to repeatedly lift and lower heavy things.

The weight lifting mix  starts off with “Divine Hammer” by the Breeders, then “Lola” by The Kinks, Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” “Lust for Life” by Iggy Pop, The White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army,” David Bowie’s “Breaking Glass,” “Sixteen Saltines” by Jack White. The New York Dolls’ “Personality Crisis” adds just a little punk to the mix, and “Foggy Notion” by The Velvet Underground finishes up the set. This list is 35 minutes long which is about right for me.

If you are a guy who works out, you probably have at least considered lifting weights. If you’re a girl, probably not so much. A lot of women avoid weight training and prefer cardio, for any number of bad reasons. Weight training will make your body more compact even at the same weight.

There are definitely people who really focus on weight training as the core of their fitness plan. I have tried this and I was not a fan, but I do try to get a “big muscle breakdown” session in at least once or twice a week and balance that out with cardio intervals, spinning, plyo and circuits. By circuits, I mean a alternating between cardio and body weight exercises. I like mixing it up because it’s fun and functional–that is I am stronger, more agile and slimmer.

My super simple weight training routine is as follows:

1. Squats – 3 sets x 6 reps, with a 3 minute rest between sets.

2. Bench Press – 3 sets x 3 reps, more 3 minute rests in between.

3. Deadlifts – 3 sets x 5 reps, with 3 minute rests in between.

…and you’re done!

Form is important, as is lifting heavy. I keep a little notebook to make sure I’m adding just a teensy-weensy little bit of extra weight each time.

 

 

 

 

Pin It
Share on Tumblr