Once I was travelling by bus. After travelling for 20 minutes, the person sitting next to me got up and went down the bus as his stop has arrived. Since I was returning from my work and was feeling exhausted, I did not want anyone else to occupy that place and share the seat with me. I know this was not good manners, but my tiredness succeeded over my ethics, and I tried to adjust myself comfortably in that entire seat.
Within no time, a heavy mass, as if an iron boulder, landed with a big thud on the seat. I felt captured and could not move. A look at the right made me realize that the heavy mass was none other than a burly aunt, who was ecstatic to have got a seat, as it escaped her the fatigue of carrying the burdensome weight of her own body. The sweat on her face acted like, she ran a hundred miles to get that seat. Though half of my body was crushed under her heavy arm and shoulder, I replied with courtesy as my courtesy was still alive.
The entire way through the bus and after returning home, I was not able to overcome from the sight that I witnessed on the bus. It was not about that she choked my seat, but I was arrested in the thought that, with such a bulky body, how she would be able to do her daily routine tasks and what the hell will be the difficulties that she might be facing around, because of her body mass. Later I came to know that she was the aunt who was residing just behind my neighbour’s house. Since, now, I know her, I was eager to get more about her lifestyle. By doing so, I came to know, that she was not an aunt, but a lady of just 22 years, who was suffering from long term obesity. Since I was a psychology student, so her way of life created enough zeal inside me, and I decided that I am going to know everything about her health condition. There were many factors which can lead to obesity, but what shocked me was, in her case, it was none other than her irregular food and mood habits.
After doing a bit of research over the net, I came to know the effects of food on mood, and vice-versa. Now, the question arises ‘how food affects the mood’? The food choices can affect mood; and, on the flip side, the mood can affect the food decisions. Let us start with the former one. Indulging in unhealthy food habits can trigger the normal state of mind to an uncomforting zone. The food, which is the building block to fuel the body, is very crucial towards the state of mind. Sweets and sugary foods are a way easier and comfortable for people to reach. Unfortunately, that type of nutrition is not so great for long term mood support. Unhealthy food habits not only contribute towards mood swings but also can make a person fall prey for a specific bad habit forever. So, it’s better to remember ‘Keep your friends close, your enemies closer & junk food as far away as possible’.
Moving towards the latter one, if an individual is experiencing signs of anxiety and depression, such as bad mood, lack of motivation and dipping energy levels, then they may find it challenging to find healthy food habits. In such a situation, the person will move to convenience cooking method and may end up in eating unhealthy and junk foods. When motivation and energy are lacking, one may find foods such as takeaways, chips, soft drink and lollies appealing. Unfortunately, a diet focused on these types of foods is more likely to exacerbate symptoms of depression and anxiety.
There is an age-old saying that “A sound mind resides in a sound body”. So, it is sure that the actions of the body have a lot to do with a good mind. How this body will achieve its goal of being sound. Well, there are various parameters over which the characters of a sound body with a sound mind are defined; one of the most important is having a good food habit and having a relaxed mind. What does this ‘good food habit’ mean? Various people have different perceptions about good food habits, the generalised concept can be the one where one is having a healthy diet, which does not need hard work; the only thing that it demands is healthy foods on hand and a little bit of pro-active approach towards your food schedule. Then, what implies with ‘relaxed mind’? Obviously, in today’s era of advanced technological advanced and cut-throat competition to be at the top of everyone, it’s impossible to have a completely relaxed state of mind with negligible tensions. Then how to chase that, so-called, relaxed mind? What we can do is, entail within ourselves, a kind of therapy in the form of habit, which can reduce the effect of these daily tasks and don’t allow our mental health to compromise with our lifestyle.
Hence, from the story of that ‘burly aunt,’ we can get some insight into how to coddle ourselves in a way to enjoy a healthy equation between food and mood.
- Let us start with exercise. A regular exercise is a sure shot way to cope with depression, anxiety and stress. Now, don’t make unrealistic goals. Start with small and easy exercises. Recall those PT classes of school life. If we had continued them even after school and studies, we would have a better physique. Well, it’s never late to begin something new. Start today, take small steps, but yes, remember to continue them. For a long term achievement, consistency is the key factor.
- Next tip can be, don’t consider the idea of being healthy as a destination where you want to reach; because once you reach the destination, you will be bored. Instead, enjoy moving towards a healthy lifestyle as a wonderful journey. Don’t cut pizzas, pastries, burgers, chocolates and confectionaries completely. Instead have a balanced diet. Moreover, it’s important to have some cheat meals, so that your tummy still believes that it is a part of the human body, not a robot, which responds rigidly to pre-programmed algorithms. Therefore, enjoy your food but be honest towards the calorie intake.
The universe has gifted us with a combination of mind and body, an instrument of expression and identity, to showcase our talents and communicate with the outer world. So promise yourself to have good sync between your mind and body by balancing the equations between mood and food.