Health & Wellness Articles

Improve Your Mood Without Food

Beat Stress, Boredom, and More with These Tips

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Lonely Hearts
Loneliness can also prompt eating to symbolically fill the void you feel inside. Instead of filling up on empty calories, work on building stronger social networks. Volunteering is a good way to meet new people, as is enrolling in an evening class to learn a new skill. Making friends as an adult can be difficult since it requires a concerted effort to make a real change. If people aren’t coming to you, you will have to go to them. Don’t sit around waiting for the phone to ring—people are busy and might not realize that you need their attention unless you approach them first. You might learn that they are just as lonely as you are but were afraid to reach out to anyone.

So Angry You Could Eat a Whole Cake
Were you taught that it’s not nice to express anger? Many people are conditioned to bury negative emotions like anger instead of dealing with issues openly. So instead of working through their anger constructively, they eat their way out of their emotions.

What works for relieving stress—exercise, deep breathing, meditation—can also help relieve anger. While this gets rid of some angry energy and can help you calm down, it’s important that you deal with the initial cause of your anger. Talk to the person who may have upset you, or write about the issue in a private journal to clarify your feelings without hurting others—you can keep the words to yourself or show them to the other person.

A Good Cry
Many people are uncomfortable with sadness and some automatically think it’s a sign of weakness. It’s okay to feel blue some days and it’s natural to have emotional ups and downs. It helps to be able to pinpoint what prompted the emotion in the first place. If a bad argument with a friend leaves you feeling blue, for example, you can work on patching things up instead of eating to console yourself. But don’t forget the power of a good cry! Crying can help reduce stress and really help you feel better. Plus it’s much healthier than eating a bag of cookies!

If you feel sad or weepy but don’t know why, try journaling for a week to see if the reason is revealed to you. Persistent sad, hopeless feelings that last for two weeks or more can be signs of depression that you should discuss with your health care provider.

One Thought at a Time
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About The Author

Leanne Beattie Leanne Beattie
A freelance writer, marketing consultant and life coach, Leanne often writes about health and nutrition. See all of Leanne's articles.

Member Comments

  • This is my first comment, so please bear with me. I think that the problem with dogs in the neighborhood sounds like a law enforcement/anima
    l control problem that needs to be addressed in town hall. In the meantime, however, there are exercises you can do at home without of equipment. My wife loves "Wii Fit Plus". Light exercise, simple, and interactive. Worked well for us until a power outage zapped our Wii. - 3/20/2013 3:08:00 AM
  • lots of good ideas. Some do not apply to me but I find relief in deep water Aqua three times a week, and following the steps and journalling. Hey, lot less calories in a journal entry than a bag of chips LOL try it! - 3/18/2013 3:01:57 PM
  • I agree with what the article has to say. However, it skips the part about when you have finally stopped crying, and you know going for a walk would be a great plan......but putting on the shoes and sweaters and coats just seems like so much work. Stress and sadness are a nasty combination and I really could use a boost! Maybe Spark can give me the boost I need. - 3/18/2013 2:38:18 PM
  • Great article!! It's the truth too. I can vouch for that. I chose the exercise path and over 1 year later I'm still not smoking : ) and a healthy,fit and happy Sparker!!
    So whatever it is thats "gottcha" save your money on those patches,gum,class
    es etc. and show up here instead!! It's Sparkpeople.com folks. Your one stop BFF finder. Your "NEW ME" is free and just a click away.
    Have a great week everyone. - 3/18/2013 12:13:38 PM
  • This was one of the better self help articles that I have read lately. There are truly innovative ideas and helpful ideas that I can implement today that will help me out of a rut.

    Thanks bunches for this - 3/18/2013 9:48:25 AM
  • What if you lie to yourself? Pretend your okay when you really need nelp! When visiting with your anynlist(sp) you pretend everything is okay and he passes you on. . . . . . . . . . . . I need for spring to get here soon so I can get outdoiors! This must be why people from our locale go south for winter. - 3/3/2013 6:57:25 AM
  • Good article, we so often take things out on food and it ultimately hits our waistline. - 2/12/2013 3:47:32 AM
  • WANT2LOOKHOT
    I'm 56 yrs. old & I've tried learning how to skate at least on 3 different occasions without any luck. I love dancing but my husband is a homebody & hates dancing. Going out walking in my neighborhood is out of the question. Too many loose dogs. In fact my husband almost got bit by one today while mowing the lawn. He called the cops to report it. Said he's tired of trying to go for a spin on his motorcycle & having to fight off a bunch of dogs chasing after him every time. I live in a small town in deep south Tx. that has no sidewalks or even a walking trail. What do I do for exercise? I'll get up around 4:20 & try to make it to the elementary school track by 4:45. Walk/jog for about an hr or more & try to leve before 6 a.m. when the school busses start arriving. It's a hassle though cuz sometimes the school locks the gate to the entrance! - 2/10/2013 9:36:38 PM
  • MARTY32M
    Sometimes I get bored, or angry, or whatever, and the only way out is to stop thinking by doing something that doesn't involve thinking, that doesn't even allow thinking. Usually that's munching food. But one time I picked up a pair of 5 pound dumbbells and did some random moves with them. That had the same effect. I should do that more often. - 2/10/2013 11:45:45 AM
  • ALDEBARANIAN
    Playing drums is an excellent stress reliever. You get to hit things, make a loud noise, and you can play along with your favorite music if you want to. And there are people who get together to play in some areas. Either hand drums, or a kit. - 8/15/2012 6:22:52 PM
  • As great as it would be to leave my desk and take a 10 minute walk, or a vigorous workout, that's just not feasible. I eat emotionally at work when I'm too busy to think, and just grab something. If I had the time and luxury to go walking when I felt overwhelmed, I think I'd be quite skinny by now! - 8/15/2012 12:23:50 PM
  • Excellent article! Turning to food should be the last resort! - 8/15/2012 11:25:22 AM
  • "...your mind can only think one thought at a time..." ???

    My mind DOES think about more than one thing at a time. - 7/14/2012 6:43:01 PM
  • All the tips are absolutely excellent, and they all work. My personal favorite is the "smile when you don't feel like it". Try it. You will instantly feel better. It's weird. It's wonderful.

    Spark On! - 7/14/2012 11:52:44 AM
  • I just posted a blog entry:

    [http://www.spark
    people.com/my
    page_public_j
    ournal_summar
    y.asp?id=J%2EMARCHESANI]

    The entry sums up how I've been implementing many of these suggestions through my practice of yoga. The one significant difference is that yoga links not just body and mind, but body, mind, and spirit in supporting the development of healthier behaviors. - 7/14/2012 11:01:22 AM

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