Now that I’m on a morning schedule (and sticking to it), I’m finding that my moods are a lot more malleable.
I’m starting to make a few distinctions I didn’t before, partly with the help of the light as a cue. Now when it’s nearly time for me to go to sleep, I know, because that happens as soon as it gets dark out. That’s a constant, ever-present reminder that, right now, my body is probably tired.
This is a more useful cue than you might think; it’s not immediately obvious when you’re tired, or how it’s affecting your judgement. So now that I have that cue, I’ve noticed that ‘tiredness’ usually translates into ‘grumpiness.’ So if I have a bad mood that comes on right then, I know its proper cause, and react accordingly – by going to sleep.
Which is like half my unhappiness, right there.
The other half relates to food. I’m eating a solid breakfast, a big (2x) lunch, and no dinner (maybe an apple or two, basically half of a restaurant appetizer). I’m also getting a visceral sense of how food relates to mood. Good food, like fruit, raises it; more importantly, bad food crashes it. Fried foods in particular are the worst.
So if I eat badly, that’s fine, but I’m much more aware now that I’ll be feeling lousy that night. And that has emotional consequences, which I can now spot before they arrive.
That’s practically the rest of my unhappiness.
Do not underestimate how much this helps.
What’s left over gets ‘mopped up’ by exercise, and small amounts of meditation.
This is an extremely strong emotional defense and ends up substituting for a lot of social functions, etc. which I’d otherwise use to ‘blow off steam.’ The truth is that it never ‘builds up’ now.
Social events have definitely moved to the ‘optional’ category, and have dropped their ‘or else I’ll go crazy’ associations. In effect it has made me less social, which I need to consciously remedy.
But I’m enjoying the fine-grained control this gives me over my state of mind. I’ll stick with it as long as I see results like these.