I went climbing this morning with my friend, it was fun and I think I’m getting stronger. After the last time we went a couple of weeks ago my forearms felt like they were no longer a part of my body. I couldn’t even operate taps properly and I was walking around like a flippin’ T-Rex with what were basically unusable arms for a couple of days! But I can happily report that my arms are in full working order after today’s session and that means progress :)
I’m making a conscious effort to choose exercise that’s fun and enjoyable because I know how beneficial and necessary it is for my mental health (obviously my physical health too). I hate going to the gym, I get so bored there. I was a member of a gym once and used to go on my lunch break from work and would time it so that I could watch Murder She Wrote on the big TV screens while I was on the treadmill, because if I had to be in a gym then I was going to have to watch Jessica Fletcher solve some crimes at the same time.
There’s actually research to back that up - not that a drama series from the 1980’s starring Angela Lansbury will help you form the habit of exercising of course, but pairing it with something positive or fun will.
Pairing anything with something positive or fun is always a good rule to live by. It’s a great wellbeing tool, to infuse what energises you, promotes and encourages self-love, connection and compassion, as well as things that bring you joy into as many parts of your life as possible.
The trick is being clear on what these things are for you specifically because there are plenty of strategies and practices we know we should do and that are good for us but in reality may be unappealing, we find them boring or at the very least getting motivated to start them in the first place proves difficult. All of which makes it likely that we won’t do them or be consistent with them which just gives us more fuel to judge ourselves with.
I want to share with you a great way to find out what will work best for you specifically so that when you’re wanting to shift from a negative mood to a more positive one you’ll know what strategies to use.
It’s called Mood Meter and it’s an app that you can set reminders on to capture your mood at different intervals throughout the day. The mood meter is a square that’s divided into four quadrants, the top right represents high energy positive emotion, the bottom right represents low energy positive emotion, the bottom left represents low energy negative emotion and the top left represents high energy negative emotion.
The square is filled with little dots that when you run your finger over display an emotion. You choose your emotion and then input why you feel this way. The app then asks you if you’d like to stay in that state or shift to another i.e out of negative and into positive. If you say yes it will then show you quotes and give you strategies to try.
The cool thing is that the more you use it and input your reasons for feeling good, these reasons then become strategies for you to use to shift out of a negative mood and you know that they’ll work because they are specific to you. For example, you may not find that meditating is enjoyable for you but doing a puzzle or going for a bike ride is.
If you want to take it further like I did you can check out the reports section. This is where all of your responses get stored, you can also check out what your positive strategies were and look for themes and patterns in them.
I discovered that I’m in my most positive moods when I’m doing something productive or when I’m connecting with someone. How cool is that? Now I know that those two strategies will help to pull me out of a funk if/when I find myself in one. Which is exactly what happened a few weeks ago.
I had decided to take the afternoon off because I was physically and mentally exhausted. I ended up on the sofa in front of Netflix and after a while I started to feel bored and in a negative mood. I remembered that my positive strategies were productivity and connection, but the problem was that I was too tired to socialise with anyone or do anything productive.
Then I thought about what being productive meant and realised that it didn’t have to mean anything work related or doing anything that would expend a lot of energy. It could be something more creative, something that didn’t have a deadline or a specific outcome. Just something to do because of the process of doing it, to make something for no reason or expectation…so I decided to start knitting. It’s something I can do that takes up next to no energy, utilises my productivity strategy and keeps me feeling more positive.
Find things that work for you, try the Mood Meter app because they may be things you didn’t consciously know about. Infuse them into your life and pair them up with things you’ve been procrastinating over. They’re great energising and motivating tools and do wonders for getting you out of a funk.