Negative mindset, curb dat ish. Don’t be comfortable being miserable. We create our own misery. I struggled forever getting into a pouty baby mood at the snap of a finger and just dwelling there. Sometimes refusing to even try to find my way out.
The year was 2015. I hadn’t curbed Irritabledenz (my hungry alter ego) yet. Misery was always nearby. I used to think it was inevitable, no way of preventing my massive mood swings. One minute I was happy, the next minute I was a sourpuss. It was not until I realized how much it was affecting my relationship that made me have to figure out how to find a solution for it. This was not limited to being hungry, often it was control related. A change in plans, a question, traffic and a plethora of other “irritants” would easily ruffle my feathers.
This habit was not an easy one to curb and I definitely wouldn’t say I no longer have spouts of being a brat. I will give myself credit and say that I am by and large a much more positive person than I was in the past. The goal is not perfect or bust, it is to work towards being better than you were yesterday. Since we know life operates in waves, this means there will be days that you knock this out the park and others where you hit a pop fly.
I knew I needed to change. I wanted to change. I was determined to change this habit which led me on a path searching for answers. Why was I fine with wearing grey like a rain cloud? Why would I have hunger like I was a bear fresh out of hibernation?
This journey led me all over the place, from physiology to spirituality, to psychology. It left no stone unturned. There were many suggestions that I came across to help change this habit, from cultivating happiness to giving back, to therapy, to meditation and many others. I didn’t try every solution, however, I did try a lot of them. Some worked, others did not. Generally, I like small doses, the biggest bang for your buck solutions. I do not want to spend 100 hours doing something that can take 5, give me the 5-hour solution. Everything starts from the root, if you choose to clip the branches instead of just tearing the thing from the ground, time is going to be wasted. I went in search of the roots, what was the root cause.
HIIT TRAINING COMES AT A HIGH BIOLOGICAL COST
I knew Irritabledenz needed to be the first thing to go. That grouchy MF was a tyrant, and he needed to go extinct with his brethren. Why does one often have the physiological response of wanting to jump onto a cow's back and take a bite? Low blood sugar could be the culprit. Out of whack hormones possibly. What was causing these huge fluctuations in my perceived blood sugar levels? High-intensity interval training. Yeah, that’s right, HIIT. Everyone's favorite. It had to go. I was overextending myself habitually working up an appetite like no other. Then eating a ton of carbs or restricting my carbs like crazy, both led to the same outcome. Me crashing and wanting to tear heads. It was even worse if I did not immediately eat after “working out”. This was an easy fix. Stop going balls to the wall every time it was time to train. Actually follow a strength program. The results I was looking for still came but at a much lower biological cost. This, however, was only part of the solution.
“YOUR HUNGER IS NOT AN EMERGENCY”
I heard Lauren Perrault talk about this next solution on Sarah Polacco's Purposeful Strength Podcast. Cutting HIIT from my weekly/daily training went a long way in keeping Irritabledenz at bay. However, he laid dormant waiting for the right opportunity to rear his ugly head again. For this, I needed a solution for any time he tried to show up, how I could keep him away. During the Purposeful Strength Podcast, Lauren said she says this, your hunger is not an emergency, anytime she feels herself getting irritable. This simple mantra was a complete perspective changer for me. That mantra was packed with informative data for myself. I knew I was going to eat again in the future, why was I acting like if I did not eat right then and there I was going to starve. Why did I act as if everything else in the world needed to stop in order for me to eat? I realized quickly at that moment how much of a schmuck I had been. This was a significant piece of the puzzle.
JOT DOWN YOUR DAILY PEAK
Fixing my issues around eating was only part of the solution to fixing my mood swings. I knew at the time that I really had nothing to be pouty about. I had lived a relatively privileged life, pretty much trauma-free, which meant that I was creating my own misery out of thin air. My best magic trick. I can’t remember where I found the solution to this problem if it was Oprah, Tony Robbins or someone else with great advice. However, the solution was extremely simple, yet ultra effective. Since I would easily spiral into negativity and put myself in a crap mood and feel like I had a “bad” day, this solution was great for me. The solution was to write down the peak of the day at the end of the day. This forced you to have to recall your day and find some positives. You would do this every day for a month. Then you could go back and read the past 30 days which obviously would all be positive notes. You wouldn’t even remember any of the negatives, just the positives. This practice helped me understand how minuscule the negative situations were. They were not worth being upset over or wasting any time thinking about.
The last piece to the puzzle that has had an equally large impact and continues to have an impact is guided meditation through the Headspace app. The level of awareness this has created, I am unable to fully put into words. Being able to see myself clearly in each moment, knowing when I am slipping into a funk is something I used to be unaware of before. I did not know any of the signs, I could not spot them out, which meant I could not prevent the pouts from happening. Meditation has helped me become far more in tune with my emotions, with my body, with my breath. This has all benefited the control of my mood. It helps me understand that I have the power to change whatever mood I am in. If I sit in it, I’ll stay in it, if I work to get out of it then I will head in the right direction.
Changing your mindset is work. It has to be work. The saying you have to do what you’ve never done if you want to get what you’ve never gotten is factual. You have to actively seek change out and have a plan of action. Hope is not going to get you there, yet belief and action will. If you constantly find yourself spiraling down a negative hole, watch your language, watch the language of those around you, if you are a Negative Ned or are around a Negative Ned, steer the conversation into positivity or choose to not engage. Negative mindset usually leads to negative health since physical and mental health are interconnected. Be better than you were yesterday, don’t be a Negative Ned/Nancy.