Go from Funk to Fabulous in Five Minutes or Less.
These 3 F’s are all you need…
The 3 F’s of fabulous are food, fashion and fitness. They each positively or negatively contribute to your mood.
If you live on fast food, junk food, processed food, whatever you can throw together quickly and eat on the go, your food mood is probably in the dumps though it may be difficult for you to make the connection between food and gloom because you feel quite happy just to not being hungry and better yet if you ate something sweet or fatty. They’re called comfort foods for a reason. In very small quantities, they may be fairly harmless. If they’re your regularly diet, your body and brain will not run efficiently, let alone at peak performance. In an article for Harvard Health Blog, Eva Selhub MD talks about several ways what you eat impacts your brain and mood. What you eat provides the fuel your brain needs to do its job 24/7. Lower grade fuel, like processed and refined food products, such as refined sugar, actually damages your brain because your body can’t get rid of it and they promote inflammation. “Multiple studies have found a correlation between a diet high in refined sugars and impaired brain function- and even a worsening of symptoms of mood disorders, such as depression”, she states. And while correlation does not show causation, it does indicate a relationship where people with depression also have more refined sugar in their diets. Which came first?
That said, the impact of inflammation caused by poor diet on your gut is not a correlation. Inflammation in your gut impacts not only how your body digests food but your mood since 95% of serotonin is produced in your gastrointestinal tract, according to Dr. Selhub. And serotonin, we know, is the happy chemical your brain needs to elevate your mood. Many anxiety and depression drugs influence the availability of serotonin in your brain. What if you could do this with food? No side effects. Dr. Selhub encourages everyone to try it for themselves. Trade in your “western” diet for a tradition diet like those in Mediterranean and Japanese cultures that include lots of fruits, vegetables, unprocessed grains, fish and shellfish, no refined or processed foods and very little dairy. You should feel a difference within three weeks.
What you wear also contributes to your mood. What you wear not only tells others something about how you feel about yourself, it tells you how you feel about yourself. You may feel fantastic in your yoga pants because they remind you of the power you feel during a workout or of the body you’ve worked hard to get. You feel powerful in a suit because it documents the success you have achieved or a stylish dress because you are feeling sexy and beautiful. It’s not what you wear so much as the feelings your clothes invoke. Look in the mirror. How do you feel about what you see? Are you hiding in oversized clothing because you don’t have the body you really want? Are you wearing dull colors, so no one will notice you because you’re not as confident as you’d like to be? Have you let yourself go because life got in the way? In her book Mind What You Wear: The Psychology of Fashion, Professor Karen J. Pine of the University of Hertfordshire says, “when we put on a piece of clothing, we cannot help but adopt some of the characteristics associated with it even if we are unaware of it”.
You don’t have to wear designer duds, bright colors, mixed prints or spend tons of money. The fabulous that comes from fashion is about dressing intentionally, in clothing that fits you properly, and letting your style show. You can dress for comfort and style at the same time. If your mood is in the crapper, get out of your t-shirt and sweats or baggy, faded, garb and into something that tells the world who you want to be, even before you get there. Attitude is everything. Dressing for who you are on your best days or who you plan to become can have a positive impact not only on your mood but on what you accomplish that day.
Fitness is the third F of fabulous. Fitness impacts, health, happiness and confidence. Finding a workout that fits in your schedule and resonates with you will make you more likely to stick with it. It’s ok to start slow and work your way up to harder regimens. But make sure what you’re doing is challenging whether you’re a beginner, a pro or somewhere in between. Working out several times a week helps boost your happy by releasing endorphins, dopamine and serotonin which are the happy chemicals in your brain. Finishing a workout not only does wonders for your waist and well-being, it also boosts your confidence and reminds you that you can finish what you start and that you’re more powerful than you remembered. And while it may take weeks or months to notice a change in your figure, there’s no such wait with mood. In an article by Kirsten Weir in the American Psychological Association’s publication, Monitor on Psychology, she states,” the exercise mood boost, on the other hand, offers near-instant gratification. Therapists would do well to encourage their patients to tune into their mental state after exercise, Otto says — especially when they’re feeling down.” She goes on to quote Boston University psychology professor Michael Otto, PhD, ‘usually within five minutes of moderate exercise, you get a mood-enhancement effect’. Antidepressants and anxiety drugs don’t work that quickly. And exercise has no negative side effects.
As with everything I suggest, I’ve personally experimented with the various scenarios. I’ve had times where I eat healthy and times where I don’t. I definitely feel much better mentally, emotionally and physically without sugar and processed foods. With clothing, I choose what I wear for the impact I want to make that day. Most of the time I’m in workout clothes but if I feel down I will put on jeans and a dressier shirt with some jewelry. And of course, a great bag and shoes- my favorite parts of my wardrobe. Though there isn’t research to support it, I choose colors of clothing based on my mood or the mood I want to have. In terms of fitness, exercise has been my number one weapon in my life-long battle against anxiety and depression. When I exercise, I feel more powerful, confident, calm and happier and when I skip it for even a couple weeks, I feel less so.
This feel good trifecta’s impact on mood is well supported by research, but the best part is that you can try all of it for yourself and without spending a lot of money.
If you want to ditch your funk for some fantastic- the 3 F’s of fabulous will do the trick- even if you do nothing else. Immediate boost. Long-term benefits. Go you!