Hansa D. Bhargava, MD, FAAP
Believe it or not, your mind and your body are closely connected. In fact, your emotions are 1 of the 4 parts of the FIT Platform: MOOD. "Being positive, valuing yourself, respecting yourself, and having good self-esteem is part of being fit too," says David Ermer, MD, a child psychiatrist with Sanford Health.
Here is how MOOD works with FOOD, MOVE, and RECHARGE.
Your MOOD can affect how much you want to MOVE your body. When you're happy, you probably want to play and jump and dance. But when you're sad, you probably want to hide in your room. And if you feel embarrassed about your body or feel like you're a klutz, you probably aren't going to want to exercise much either.
Kids who feel really pressured usually don't want to exercise. They might think they don't have the time. Or maybe they are being bullied or having problems at home and just can't worry about anything else.
"I've seen people who, stressed out, drop out of activities like sports," says Ermer. That’s too bad, because moving can help you feel better.
A bad MOOD can make it hard to RECHARGE. Has this ever happened to you? You've been fighting with your best friend, so you're upset and it's hard to sleep. Or you're looking forward to the field trip your class is going on tomorrow. And you can't fall asleep.
When you're stressed or excited, your body makes a chemical called adrenalin. It gives you a burst of energy -- and that's great when you need to run and move and be alert. But it's not so good to have in your body at bedtime. Feeling happy, safe, and calm makes it easier to sleep.
Your MOOD can make you want FOOD. You've had a bad day at school. You want a snack. What sounds good -- Cookies? Candy? A cupcake?
It's actually science. These "comfort foods" are made up of carbohydrates. These carbohydrates help make a chemical in your brain that relaxes you. But these foods often have a lot of calories and few nutrients. They might make you feel better for a little while, but they aren't really healthy. Especially when you eat a lot of them.
Your mood affects what you want to eat and how much, too. In a study, people could eat healthy grapes or unhealthy buttered, salty popcorn while watching a movie. People watching a funny movie ate more grapes. People watching a sad movie ate more popcorn. This study also showed researchers that people who are sad just eat more.
Use the MOOD section of FIT Kids to find out more about how your feelings affect your health. You'll learn ways to recognize and deal with your emotions -- in healthy ways. Feeling good is good for you!
David Ermer, MD, child psychiatrist, Sanford Health, Sioux Falls, S.D.Luppino F. Archives of General Psychiatry, March 2010; vol 67, no. 3: pp 220-9.Sánchez-Villegas A. Obesity (Silver Spring). July 2010; vol 18: pp 1443-8.National Sleep Foundation, "Depression and Sleep," " How Much Sleep Do We Really Need?"KidsHealth: "Stress."Cornell University Chronicle Online: "Mood-food connection: We eat more and less-healthy comfort foods when we feel down, study finds."Franklin Institute: "The Human Brain: Renew -- Sleep and Stress."Mayo Clinic: "Generalized Anxiety Disorder."American Council on Exercise: "Exercise Can Help Control Stress."HealthyChildren.org: "Parents Can Successfully Set Limits on Children's TV Watching," "Media Time Family Pledge."Arcan, C. Public Health Nutrition, March 2007; vol 10(11): pp 1257-1265.Barlow, S. Pediatrics, 2007; vol 120: pp S164-S192.Anderson, S. Pediatrics, March 2010; vol 125: pp 420-428.
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