Last night, I was telling my friend Heather that I’d had one of those weeks where the littlest things ticked me off.
- On Wednesday I spent way too much of my time writing a long vitriolic email (the subject could have been addressed in just a few sentences) about something that happened eight months ago.
- On the way to meet a friend for dinner a driver in the car next to me flicked a cigarette out of his car window and it hit my car. I have always abhorred littering, but my reaction was way bigger than the act deserved. I got furious… started saying in my head, “What an ass. How could be do such a thing? Doesn’t anyone care about our environment anymore?” My blood started to boil.
- Earlier in the week I found myself still ruminated about something a friend of mine said days before. I experienced one comment she made as politically incorrect…and decided this was evidence of her true nature and therefore I could not be friends with her anymore. Talk about blowing something way out of proportion and not letting it go?
I used to get angry like that a lot, back in the days when I lacked healthy skills and tools to manage my emotions (especially bad when I was PMS-ing). Back then, all I knew to do was stuff those emotions down with food. But today I have skills and tools that work so much better than emotional eating. So what was up?
Last night my friend Heather hit the nail on the head! She said, “The same thing happens to me when I don’t exercise. It’s like I get all this pent up energy in my body and
it has to go somewhere. So, it comes out as anger.”
Immediately, I knew that she was right on! I had not gotten any real exercise last week…just very quick walks with my dog to take care of business. Exercise is still something I have to remind myself to build into my life. For me, getting exercise still does not come to mind naturally, like it does for some people…and to be honest, while I appreciate the importance of it, I still don’t enjoy exercise or make it priority, even though I have learned it makes me feel so much better. This is something I’m still working to improve…
So, when I got home last night my dog Emma and I went for a real walk! I felt better, my mood felt lighter, almost immediately.
Today, we’ll do even better. We’re going to the park!
What role does exercise play in determining your mood?
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Ellen Shuman is a Life Coach who specializes in empowering people who are working on emotional and binge eating recovery. She is the founder of A Weigh Out & Acoria Eating Disorder Treatment, Immediate Past President of the Binge Eating Disorder Association (BEDA), and Co-Founder of the Academy for Eating Disorders Special Interest Group on “Health at Every Size”, firstname.lastname@example.org