Now, for the next topic, we could do with a catchy slogan. A good happiness catchphrase. Perhaps a memorable triad?
Liberté, égalité, fraternité ?
The good, the bad and the ugly ?
Me, myself and I ?
Or how about…
Exercise, Sleep, Eat
This is the new golden rule in ‘the pursuit of happyness’ (no copyright infringement intended…). Simple. All we have to do is exercise, sleep and eat well.
Let’s start with the exercise.
The alarm went off at some ungodly hour, and I managed to heave myself out from under the lovely cosy covers. So far so good. But then I look out of the window, and it’s snowing. Snowing. Again. Still, I’m up now, so I’d better get those trainers on and head over to the gym.
Somewhat humiliatingly, after climbing the stairs to reception, I am out of breath. Great start.
I get my golden ticket (actually a pink rubber band) to the Body Combat class, and enter the studio with trepidation. When the “music” starts I begin to worry about hearing damage. How many of these classes would you have to take, I ponder, before your hearing would be wrecked permanently? Would one class be enough? What if my laudable efforts to look after my body have, in a bitter twist, actually served to damage it even more?
No excuses, girl, I tell myself, and start punching and kicking away.
The next day I have trouble with the stairs again. This time, though, it’s because all of my joints have seized up, and my knees have forgotten the knack of bending. I ache. All over.
Nevertheless, I’m proud of myself for putting in the effort. Now how long does it take for the endorphins to kick in…?
Another advantage of the whole “exercise” malarkey is that it helps with the second in the rhetorical triplet: sleep.
Often I get into bed and my legs wriggle and dance, telling me they’re not ready to sleep. My brain is whirring, thoughts going round like my head’s a washing machine on spin cycle. No matter how much lavender room spray I squirt around, or relaxing hot bubbly baths I take, I can’t switch off or unwind.
Getting up super early to flail my body around in an uncoordinated, ungainly style does tire me out, though. So while, on the one hand, I spend an hour looking like a deranged idiot, I do fall asleep much faster.
And sleep, they say, helps you on the happiness-o-meter.
Eating, then, is the final task. You’ve got to feed your happiness, so to speak.
Each of these three is really just about looking after yourself, I think. Showing your body that you’re looking after it makes you feel better physically, and mentally gives you a boost.
That’s probably why I don’t feel any less grumpy after my dinner of chocolate mousse, hot chocolate and… plain chocolate.
My body is screaming at the top of its lungs for a sugar rush, and I cave in to the craving. Ungrateful thing, though, it’s not appreciative of this specially prepared choc-tastic treat. Quite the reverse. I feel quite sick, and have a strange yearning for carrots.
It’s not enough, though, to eat salad until you turn into a lettuce leaf. You have to pay attention to what you’re eating. That means not stuffing your face in front of the TV, or even Facebook. It’s about appreciating every mouthful and perhaps even putting your fork down between greedy mouthfuls. I know I’m guilty of shoveling when hungry, but I’m trying to learn to take my time and enjoy the food I have in front of me.
I’m trying to pay special attention to my “exercise, sleep, eat” rule at the moment, and I’ll keep you updated as to whether I notice any improvement in my mood. (Or perhaps you should just ask my friends if I’m being any less of a diva…)