Real Food Rehab

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I liked this post from the Happiness Project blog so I thought I would pass it along!

5 happiness boosters that actually do more harm than good.

Everyone has a few tricks for beating the blues – things you do when you’re feeling down to try to boost your mood. I've found out from long experience, however, that several of the most popular strategies don’t actually work very well in the long term. Beware if you're tempted to try any of the following:


1. Comforting yourself with a “treat.” Often, the things we choose as “treats” aren’t good for us. (That's why they're treats! We usually restrain ourselves!) The pleasure lasts a minute, but then feelings of guilt, loss of control, and other negative consequences just deepen the lousiness of the day. So when you find yourself thinking, “I’ll feel better after I have a few more beers…a pint of ice cream…a cigarette…a new pair of jeans,” ask yourself – will it REALLY make you feel better? It might make you feel worse. In particular, beware of…


2. Letting yourself off the hook. When I'm feeling down, I feel tempted to let myself off the hook, to think, “I’ll allow myself to skip the gym today, I need a break.” In fact, sticking to a resolution does more to boost my sense of self-esteem and self-control. (Plus, exercise itself boosts my happiness.) So NOT letting yourself off
the hook might do more to boost your happiness. At the end of a bad day, you can say, "Well, at least I went to the gym/finished that horrible report/took my dog to the dog park."


3. Retreating to your sofa. Studies show that extroverts and introverts alike get a mood boost from connecting with other people. Although it can be tempting to isolate yourself when you’re feeling blue, you’re better off making plans with friends or family.


4. Expressing your negative emotions. Many people believe in the “catharsis hypothesis” and think that expressing anger by yelling, throwing things, punching pillows, slamming doors, cursing, etc. is healthy-minded and relieves their feelings. Not so. Studies show that aggressively expressing anger only aggravates it; as Plutarch observed, “Anger, while in its beginning, often can be ended by silence, or neglect.” I’ve certainly found this to be true; once I start yelling, I can whip myself into a fury. There are situations, of course, when my anger is a sign of a real problem that needs attention; I find that making sure that I express myself calmly means that I feel less riled up -- and, added bonus, that approach also elicits a better response from others.


5. Staying in your pajamas all day. One of the most helpful things I’ve learned in my happiness research is that although we think that we act because of the way we feel, in fact, we often feel because of the way we act. As improbable as this sounds, it really works. Sometimes it can be fun to hang out in your sweats all day, but if you’re feeling lethargic, powerless, or directionless, not getting dressed may make you feel worse. Put on your clothes so you feel prepared for whatever the day might offer. While you’re at it, make your bed.


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Comment by KO on July 30, 2010 at 9:50am
So true!! Thanks!!
Comment by Jacqueline Rooths on July 29, 2010 at 8:04pm
Thank you - as an intovert, I will retreat to regroup after being with people, but I also used to retreat because I was just so sad.
Comment by Vegan♥for♥Life on July 29, 2010 at 5:30pm

Comment by Denise Coleman Lyng on July 29, 2010 at 12:57pm
Really like this! ;-)
Comment by Sherri Quinlan on July 29, 2010 at 11:24am
Great info, very useful and eye-opening.
Comment by Lucille Marie Quick on July 29, 2010 at 11:11am
Thanks so much for the boosters Stephanie!
Comment by Penni on July 29, 2010 at 10:57am
This is really awesome! It's def one that I'll print out for the save file!
Comment by Susan : ) on July 29, 2010 at 10:08am
Excellent, Stephanie! : )
Glad to see you are bloggin' again!
Have missed you!

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