Have you ever noticed that you feel cranky when you don’t get proper food at proper times? Do you ever wonder how food affects your mood and your mind’s ability to function? Read on to learn what Jim discovered and how changing his food affected his mood. This is what Jim had to say about Food and Mood.
“My name is Jim. I am a 20-year-old college student. I also work part-time at the college library. I have a very heavy schedule! Many times I barely get up in time to run to my classes so I don’t get time to eat.
The other day I was so tired that I forgot the start time of my first class. I was up till late ( 3 am) to finish my assignment. Usually, my classes start at 8 am so I usually wake up at 6 am and leave my home by 7 am.
So that morning, my alarm went on at 6 am. I pressed the snooze button a few times. After 5 or more snoozes, I dragged my self out of bed. Barely brushed and changed in time to make to 7 am bus. I had no time to eat.
I grabbed a cup of black coffee and made it to the class lecture hall by 8 am.
Yeh.. I made it, but the hall was empty like my empty mind.
Why? Why was nobody there?
I placed my bag on one of the chairs and sat down on the other. I pulled my schedule out and realized that it was Wednesday and my class starts at 9 am on Wednesdays.
I felt so angry with my self. I could have had one more hour of sleep. I was having heartburn from drinking hot coffee with an empty stomach. But, I was feeling so tired, I did not want to walk to the cafeteria. Instead, I decided to work on another assignment that was due.
In the rush of the morning that day, I had also forgotten my water bottle.
So I ended up not eating or drinking until late afternoon.
By the afternoon, my mind was fuzzy & I could not focus well. I was feeling irritable and down. I was not able to enjoy my time with friends as I usually do.
As the day went on, it was one thing right after another and I couldn’t get to properly eat except some unhealthy snacks.
I remembered the 3 steps from Stress to Joy program: CPR- Calm, Process and Respond.
Calm: Once I realized that I was feeling overwhelmed, irritable & stressed, I tried to calm down by focussing on my breathing. My breathing was shallow and fast as I was so upset. As I stayed mindful, my breathing calmed down and the tension in my body reduced.
Process: As my mind calmed, I was able to process my thoughts. I noticed that I was feeling irritable. I asked why and realized that the mind & body were going on the body’s fat reserves and were screaming for some fresh nutrition. It was like I was trying to drive my car without filling gas.
When my car is running low on gas, it gives me a signal. If I ignore the needle showing a low fuel level, it gives me a red signal. If I still don’t pay attention, the car starts jerking. I usually get gas at that time.
But one time, I didn’t, as I didn’t have time.
Guess what, my car stopped dead right in the middle of the road. I had to call roadside assistance, only to find that the only problem was the lack of gas.
What a major waste of time.
I could have saved that time, only if I would have given attention and taken a fraction of the time to fill the gas.
I guess our bodies & minds are like our cars. We need to fill the gas regularly before it runs out completely. I don’t want my body’s engine to stop in the middle of the road!
So what can I do? My classes & my work schedule are so hectic. I don’t have control over that or do I?
As I shared my frustration with my friend Kim, he confronted me. He said; “Your body and mind have not broken down yet so you don’t give it any priority.”
I denied the fact in front of him. But later realized. That is so true. This vehicle- called my body – has been so good to me that I ignored it. My mind is the engine that runs this vehicle. If I ignore the tool that helps me study and work, I won’t be able to do any of those things properly in the long run.
So I decided to give priority to my body and mind’s wellness. One of the most important aspects of my wellness is “proper food at the proper time”. It will help me maintain my mood, focus well and function at my best. It would help me be at optimum health.
So I took several steps:
- Whenever possible I am trying to eat 3 meals & 2 snacks a day. And I try to protect my meal times. I don’t go anywhere without my water bottle now.
- Also I keep packets of nuts in my bag for those times when I am between activities and can’t get to have a meal. It gives my mental energy to focus.
- I keep fresh fruits and vegetables handy. On those days when I don’t have time to sit down & have a proper breakfast, I grab a fruit or vegetable on my way- my favorite is baby carrots
I avoid drinking coffee on an empty stomach (I don’t want to have heartburn!)
I avoid sugary foods like donuts and choose protein and vegetable alternatives whenever possible.
Eating the right food at the right times has helped me not only feel physically healthy but also mentally fit & prepared. My mind is able to solve problems creatively.
Now I remind all of my friends.
Don’t let the lack of proper nutrition affect your and body’s health. Especially if you are feeling down, this simple suggestion may help you improve your mood. Even if you have depression, it will help you to heal faster.
Do you agree with Jim’s suggestions?
Do you take care of your nutrition? eat healthy foods at regular intervals?
If you don’t, you may find yourself with low energy and a bad mood.
If you eat healthy foods at regular intervals, your mind & body will function better. You will be at peak performance for work and school. You will be able to creatively solve your problems. And you will be able to enjoy your life fully.
Write to me how food and mood plays an important role in your life! And if you care about someone, remind them too by forwarding this article. Here is the link for easy access.
Dedicated to your health & happiness,
The Stress to Joy® program is available in
I share many tools and techniques that I have found to be helpful. They are not intended to replace treatments. Please seek treatment from licensed medical or health professionals as needed. I change all names for privacy.