There’s a form of self-sabotage that makes all efforts at happiness (like energy work, self help, spirituality) only half as powerful as they could be, and it is (ta-daaa!):
Eating unhealthy &
Being a couch potato
The „great discovery“ I have made in the past few years (obvious as it might be to others) is that the fuel (food and drink) I put into my body and how much and well I move it are decisive factors to whether I feel content and happy or stressed and depressed – so much so that I keep wondering whether my so-called personality isn’t at least 50% determined by nutritional and sports habits.
I can’t force you or my clients to eat healthy and work out, but I really think it would make a big and positive difference with regards to happiness and health. Unfortunately, you have to be disciplined enough to actually do it to feel the results. I arrived at that point by trying and failing so often that I got frustrated and finally pulled it through. But you can also JUST DO IT. :)
Fun experiments with mental health and food
In my case, the inner turmoil I spent many years of my life in led me to try all kinds of ways to help myself get out of this black hole and feel better. Apart from energy healing, I experimented with nutrition and sports and their effects on my emotional health.
If you, too, have a natural (?) tendency to feel miserable, you might find the results of my nutritional and athletic experiments over the last few years useful. Here they are:
Eating only fruits, vegetables and nuts + no sports: I felt much healthier, I stopped getting colds all the time. I was also always hungry and never felt satisfied, even though I ate all the time. It’s very impractical to have to eat all the time if you want to have a life.
Eating only fruits, vegetables and nuts + strength training 4 to 5 times a week: Forget it. When trying this, I felt physically and mentally weak, couldn’t motivate myself to train and was further demotivated my my decreasing strength. However, it might be possible to eat like this and do endurance sports, I haven’t tried.
Eating whatever I wanted, including pizza, pasta, sweets, alcohol, etc. etc., and none of it in moderation + no sports OR running up to three times a week: Emotionally, I felt moody, irritable and depressed, sad, hopeless, angry.
Physically, I was weak, more overweight than now (I still am slightly overweight), I started sweating even after walking up a flight of stairs, and I had cravings all the time, even when I wasn’t hungry. I needed lots of sleep but still woke up feeling tired and heavy. I only felt good after running, but not so good most of the time.
Paleo + strength training (gymnastics) five times a week: If you don’t know Paleo, google it, but look for a introductory site or you’ll be more confused than you were before. In short, Paleo means eating meat, fish, vegetables, nuts, some fruit. You don’t eat junk food, anything containing grains (processed and unprocessed), sugar, most dairy.
Paleo and gymnastics (not that I’m good at it!) is what works for me. It’s not the only thing I need to be happy, but it’s a damn good start. Without those two things, my happiness is built on sand. They make me feel energized, I get up easily most mornings, I keep seeing improvements with my workout, and look better. Hardly any cravings, and no post-meal depression (which I get after eating a pizza, unfortunately…) Also, after switching to Paleo I found that my mind became clearer and more focussed, as if a veil had been lifted off it.
But.. what about pizza, pasta, cheese (yummmmmmy), tiramisu, tarts, cakes, cookies, pudding, bread (!), falafel, and all the other wonderful things in the world’s cuisines that I still want to try?
I know! The thought of never eating pizza again is a mix of horrible and ridiculous to me, so I don’t even try. I want to enjoy my life after all, and good food is part of it!
However, I know I have to pay the price for eating all the above foods, and through trial and error I have noticed that
But I don’t feel bad after eating junk food!
Good! I have no idea if everyone gets mood swings depending on what they eat. If I didn’t, I’d eat pizza and custard tarts and drink port wine every day! You have probably wasted your time reading this article.
I also don’t feel weaker or less fit when I eat whatever I want!
Cool! But, two things: 1) How old are you? In my early twenties, I could put junk food and alcohol in my body and it still did what I wanted it to do. Just wait and see! *evil grin* 2) It’s easy to assume that what you eat and drink doesn’t affect you if you don’t actually do strength training and see how weak and pathetic you really are. :) (And I don’t mean this in a mean way. I’m also weak and pathetic, just not as much as before…)
That said, Paleo plus sports certainly isn’t the right thing for everyone and certainly not a cure-all, but there are obviously better and worse options for keeping yourself sane and healthy, and I’d like to know yours! Have you experimented with nutrition and sports and their effects on your psyche and body? Tell me and the others your results in the comments! :)
Photo credit: “Tiramisu, instead of birthday cake” by Adventures of Pam & Frank, CC license CC BY 2.0 No changes were made to the photo.