Imagine you’re in a funk, going through a slump, having a lazy day.
And for the life of you you can’t be bothered to do anything.
Ultra-endurance Athlete and author of “Finding Ultra” Rich Roll highlights that the common default mental position is to let a slump pass and just wait until you feel better.
But what Rich advocates is to take action in spite of how you feel.
So how do you shift how you feel about a scenario?
1.Take action in contrast to that feeling.
Be cognisant of the temporary nature of your current emotional state and realise that it is merely a ‘feeling’.
It is merely a feeling that can be easily reverse-engineered into something else.
Mood follows action. By taking action in contrast to that feeling is how you shift how you feel about a scenario.
And your brain will rise to the occasion.
2. Show up, especially when you’re uninspired
Even when you’re not feeling productive and can’t be bothered to do any work or if you’re feeling unmotivated to go to the gym for a workout – just go.
Just show up.
As Woody Allen once famously put it:
“Eighty percent of success is showing up.”
Just by showing up, you’re putting yourself into a productive, motivated mood.
Because even if you go to the gym while uninspired, the context of the gym itself will inspire motivation in you.
This ties in with pre-game rituals, like putting on your gym clothes before going to the gym just to summon that motivation to go.
A prime example of this is Scott Adams, author of the Dilbert cartoon-strip, who puts on his gym clothes before leaving his house, getting inside his car, and driving off to the gym for his workout.
It gets him in the zone. I talk about these concepts in an earlier post.
3. Improve your posture, change your breathing
By improving your posture, you can actually breathe better.
Simply because your lungs are no longer pressing onto your diaphragm once you straighten up.
Why is it important to breathe better?
Strongman and Youtuber Elliot Hulse puts it this way:
“Breathing is the stimulation, both energetically and physically, of the intelligence in your unconscious, in your body, in your viscera.”
Elliot says that when you posture yourself like someone who feels good about themselves, you drive specific stimulation into the nervous system, and the nervous system immediately relays this to the brain.
It is an immediate feedback loop between body and mind.
In fact, Harvard researcher Amy Cuddy has shown that if you strike a V-pose, you can increase your testosterone levels by 20% and decreases your stress hormone levels just in 2 minutes.
Posture and depression
If you’re feeling a bit down, your body will follow and start slouching.
Feeling down or depressed isn’t just a mental thing, it’s physical as well.
In other words, depression has an embodied element to it.
This is also why if you’re having a crappy day, you should find some reason to smile.
It actually does make you happier.
There is a lot of science behind this cartoon.
People who experience depression also exhibit characteristic postures and movement that are an integral feature of their depression experience.
Examples of embodied components of depression include reduced walking speed, smaller amplitude of vertical movements of the upper body, and hunched postures that elicit feelings of depression.
As professor of Psychology Graham Davey, P.h.D puts it:
“These embodiments are not just reflections of inner feelings, they comprise an integral part of the depression experience because attempts to directly modify these postural features of depression also relieve the experience of depression.”
This is why exercise is good to combat depression, not only because it chemically alters your brain but also because it eliminates poor postures that contribute to the embodied depression experience.
We are however we act
What we do influences what we think.
“[W]e are designed to become in reality however we act. We fake it until it becomes real. Our core personality doesn’t change, but we quickly adopt the mannerisms and skills associated with our new status and position.”
-Scott Adams, How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big
A mood is just a mood, forever fluid and changing.
Take charge by acting in spite of how you feel and you will make great strides to changing your mood.
P.S. Thanks for reading and feel free to subscribe to my email list.