Monday, July 25, 2011

How Does Attitude Impact Your Health?

(Flowers make eveyone happy don't they?)

Today when I was running around I thought of a person I used to know who was one of the most unhappy people I have encountered. It won’t be a surprise that this person and I have drifted apart. I imagine it is tough to be around someone who can find the bright side to cancer when you can’t find anything good about your own life. However I think there are lessons we can all learn from this person so I wanted to share some of my observations.

This particular person ruminated about how much they disliked their job. They didn’t like the company they worked for. Their boss was useless. The job itself wasn’t fulfilling. Combine this with a bad job market and a husband who was underemployed and this person felt like they had no choice but stay in the job because they needed the money and health insurance.

(This is a picture I took of the Inner Harbor in downtown Baltimore)

Of course I asked many questions about the situation to try to help. However the answers didn’t really sound all that bad to me. The commute was easy, the pay was good, she had autonomy, and there was a lot of free time during the day when she could do things she was interested it. Yet this person was miserable and would talk about how unhappy she was every day or two.

After a while I felt my own happiness being pulled down by these stories of doom and gloom. However as much as this depressed me imagine what this did for the other person. I am sure it was much harder for her having these feelings than it was for me to hear about them. I think she was so stuck in this story in her head that she couldn’t step out of the situation and to see what it was doing to her health.

It is probably no surprise that this lady also wasn’t happy with how she looked and felt like she needed to lose weight. However she was so busy complaining about work, and medicating herself with food and alcohol at night that she didn’t do anything to resolve her excess pounds. I haven’t talked to her in a while but I imagine her life hasn’t changed.

You might be wondering why I am telling you this story and yes there is a point. I believe that unless we are happy with life it is very difficult to make the right food and lifestyle choices. Have you ever been under stress at work or at home and made bad food choices like eating ice cream for dinner because of a bad day? Emotional eating (or drinking) is something that has happened with most women that I know. If you someone who eats emotional how do you stop? Think about the story I just told you, is the food the problem or is it the underlying emotions? In my opinion you have to deal with emotions first and then the other things can be dealt with.

What would I do in her situation? I would focus on what is good in my life. Instead of complaining about what I didn’t like I would find things to like. In her case it would be the pay, the health insurance and the time during the day to look for another job. Of course I would also focus on the non-work things in my life that were also good.

(This is a crazy picture I know but doesn't it just make you smile?  That is what it does for me.)

I believe that attitude has more to do with health than most people realize. If you wake up in the morning with a love of life and being excited about your day than you are more likely to have a great day. However if you get up in the morning dreading your commute, dreading your day at the office or coming home to a spouse you don’t like you probably aren’t going to have a good day. Does any of this make sense to you? If any of this resonates with you or have a story similar to this please share. I would love to hear what you think about this and how you resolved a similar situation.

Nautical News:

The sea trial went well today. *woo hoo* All is well in our world today. There are a few minor items to deal with but nothing too time consuming. That means the delivery crew will be leaving this weekend at the latest. Both Dan and I are looking forward to the arrival or our new floating child. I am sure the cats will not be as happy as we are about this .... but they will adjust. Now I need to remember to talk to the vet tomorrow about how to deal with feline motion sickness which I have read recently can be a problem.  :-/

Today I have been busy working on boat things. However I have made a lot of progress so that is a very good thing. Since the boat will be here very soon I wanted to get as organized as possible before she arrives. Those of you who know me know that my organized former accountant self comes out when things need to get done. I immediately shift into to-do list mode and scheduling tasks to be done. Last night and today I have working on what we need to accomplish and when it needs to happen. I have scheduled tasks by day and who is responsible for those coordinating or accomplishing those tasks either myself or Dan. Now that we have a well thought out to-do list that I can work from I feel much better. Are you a list maker too is is it just me?

Feline News:

Luca Belle goes to the vet tomorrow to have her dental procedure. Please keep her in your thoughts. She is a little round butter ball so I am a little concerned about how she will handle anesthesia. However we need to get her teeth taken care of meaning surgery is required it is only a matter when. I am comforted by the knowledge that she will be in good hands tomorrow.

Happy Thoughts:

• We heard from Island Dreams and the sea trial went extremely well. There are some minor items to deal with but nothing that will take much time. That means the baby will be leaving Grenada very, very soon. *woo hoo* I am not happy about his in the slightest, can you tell? LOL

• Today I was very productive and that makes me happy. I didn’t get as much accomplished as I had on my list for today, but my list was aggressive. I find that it is better for me to have an aggressive list and that pushes me to get more accomplished.

• We had a nice cold front run through this afternoon. After our over 100+ days last week it was nice to be back in the low 80’s even if it is only for this afternoon. Every little bit helps right?  ;-)

• Massimo has been doing much better the last few days. He is no longer vomiting and has starting eat out of his food bowl (rather than my hand) again….thankfully. Additionally he is behaving more like his old self. He and his little brother (Nicco) have been running around the house playing today, which I love to see.

• Spending time today getting uber organized has been very good for me. I am one of those people who are comforted by organization. Not that I know why, but I love to cross items off my to-do as I complete them. I guess my inner nerd is coming out since I love my to-do lists and binders so much, LOL. ;-)

• It was nice today to spend a few hours studying nutrition. Since I enjoy learning and growing any time that I spend studying makes me very happy. Sorry I didn’t have much time on Facebook today. Tomorrow I have time set aside for Facebook while Luca is at the vet. As much as I like to study I also love connecting with those of you on Facebook and missed ou today.

Signing Out:

Now I need to spend some time with my hubby and fur children. I hope Monday was good for you too. Talk with you again soon, hopefully tomorrow with good news about how Luca Belle did at the vet. Have a great evening!


  1. I love this post Ali. I really do see myself in that person you were describing. Being negative and medicating with food and alcohol are habits. Cultivating happiness and making healthy choices are habits, too. Thanks for addressing this issue.
    Did you ever find out what it was that was bothering Massi? Hope your little butterball comes out fine tomorrow. I'm sure she will. Our kitty is a butterball, too. So sweet.

  2. Meg,

    I am so glad that I could help. I think this situation is very common with women. You are right being negative is as much a habit as being positive and we all have the power to change. I used to medicate with food and red wine myself so I completely understand. Trust me if I can change anyone can. ;-)

    We did not find out what was wrong with Masi. Apparently cats vomit more than dogs and since we don't think he has IBD this may have been nothing serious, just an upset stomach. The odd looking kidney that turned up with the diagnostic radiology was probaably unrelated.

    Thanks, I am sure Luca will be fine. I only wish she were a little more svelte. I worry about her and anesthesia because of the extra weight. Not that anyone has figured out how to put a cat who is part of a multiple cat household on a diet without making her trim brothers too skinny. It is always something isn't it? I will let you know how Luca does tomorrow. I am trying not to worry about her but it isn't easy.

    have a great evening,

  3. Ali, My husband (Ryan) works in mental health and says that many of his clients' issues are exacerbated by the story in their head--however they see themselves in relation to people around them. I've been reflecting on this idea lately. I like how you say that this woman didn't/couldn't "step outside the story in her head". For some people, like Ryan's clients, it is nearly impossible, but for me it is a choice. I've found that getting out and moving (walking, water aerobics, Zumba, whatever) helps me control that story.

  4. Jackie,

    Excellent point about some people needing "professional" help. However I also think there are many people who don't and have no idea that our attitudes are partly habit and can be changed if they work at it. Women seem to be have more problems with emotional eating than men do I find.

    I agree with you about exercising making a big difference. When I am exercising everyday it is much more difficult for me to justify making less than optimal decisions which tend to partly undo my good habits. At least that is what it feels like in my head. ;-)

    I hope you had a nice dinner out tonight with your friends.


  5. I love your happy thoughts at the end of your posts. Thinking positively absolutely makes a huge difference! Sometimes I do get frustrated and negative when something is really 'working on my nerves (lol)', but I do agree that how we react to things and choose to live really has a lot to do with our quality of life.

    For me, I have learned to do what I can- the best that I can, and then let it go and trust God to be faithful, as he always has.

    I hope you have a nice evening as well! Today has been a good day for sure for me! :)

  6. Great story and "lesson". I've been thinking about how I sort of create my own reality and so much of it is based on attitude. Do I expect good or do I expect bad? Interesting thoughts to ponder, thank you.


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