Caffeine. Candy. Sex. Shopping. Smoking. Whether we realize it or not, all of us have strategies for self-medicating ourselves when we feel threatened or overwhelmed by tension or tiredness. But why does one person respond to pressure by going for a five-mile run, while another indulges in a five-hour drinking marathon? Why do some of us crave companionship, while others just want to be alone? And what really helps most to reduce tension and increase energy, a brisk ten-minute walk, twenty minutes of meditation, or two hours of watching TV?
In this fascinating new book, nationally known psychologist Robert E. Thayer serves as an expert guide through the latest research into moods and mood management, offering proven techniques for putting today's most important breakthroughs to work in our day-to-day lives. Thayer, whose own work on the biopsychology of moods has been widely discussed in the leading scientific journals--as well as in the pages of Reader's Digest, Prevention, USA Today, McCall's, Good Housekeeping, Men's Health, Redbook, and hundreds of other magazines and newspapers, and on the popular radio show "The Osgood File"--evaluates the hard scientific evidence as he reveals which behaviors energize and empower us, and which sabotage our best interests. (Just five or ten minutes of walking, for example, can enhance mood for an hour or more, while sugar snacking, Thayer shows, causes more tension than it reduces.) Thayer argues that when we learn to see moods as vital barometers of our whole psychology and physiology, rather than mysterious, purely emotional reactions to events around us, we not only understand ourselves better, we have the opportunity to substantially improve our personal effectiveness, both mentally and physically. Thayer offers compelling evidence that our moods--particularly feelings of energy and tension--are closely tied to the rhythms of our evolutionary past. They are directly affected by our health, the food we eat, the amount of sleep we get, exercise (or lack of it), and the time of day. We learn why problems seem more serious late at night, and why a simple disagreement with a co-worker or spouse is more apt to turn into an emotional flare-up at certain times of day. We investigate key differences in the most common ways men and women deal with bad moods, and probe the implications of these findings on our understanding of alcoholism and depression.
Far from a shallow quick-fix book, Everyday Moods: Energy and Tension is an in-depth exploration of the origins and influences of moods that affect us every day of our lives. It brings readers to a new understanding of the underlying biology of their daily cycles of energy and tension, and offers powerful recommendations for breaking self-destructive habits and leading a richer, more enjoyable life.
"If you are puzzled by your moods or those of a loved one, this book helps demystify emotions."--Los Angeles Times
"[Thayer] is...the type of scientist I particularly admire, one who can write practical, readable books about his work for the general public....An excellent layman's introduction to Thayer's research and also a balanced, commonsense guide to coping with the difficult moods."--The Toronto Sun
"The book is readable and easily digestible by nonscientists, while for those who want to know more about scientific background there is a comprehensive series of notes and full references."--New Scientist
"An important self-management approach towards health."--Erik Peper, Institute for Holistic Healing Studies, San Francisco State University
"Thayer provides a readily understandable survey of the field, concentrating on the best available scientific evidence, and bringing it all together in masterly fashion. This is not a 'How to...' book, but understanding the way moods originate and influence lives can help us to organize our lives better, and above all to understand what is happening."--H.J. Eysenck, Professor Emeritus of Psychology, University of London
"Professor Thayer has provided an up-to-date, comprehensive, and readable review of the psychological and physiological bases of everyday moods. His discussion of the nature and extent of common feelings of tension and energy is thoughtful, intelligent and clear. What is most commendable is the integration of both theory and research on this subject."--Robert M. Stelmack, School of Psychology, University of Ottawa
"We all experience mood changes and the effects of mood. But how can you take charge of these and make them work for you? Read this book. The world's leading authority on mood has written the definitive book--scientifically based yet easy to read. And most importantly, the book tells you in plain English what to do."--Frank Farley, Temple University, former President, American Psychological Association
"In this age of depression and Prozac, Thayer's solid research on how we self-manage our moods at work and play makes a major contribution to a new form of survival research. As the first step to emotional intelligence, EI, it also opens the door to a psychologically sensitive nutrition, staying off the caffeine seesaw and working at your peak in each day's pressure periods. Well grounded in science, it's as practical as a drink of water on a long, hot run."--T
George Harris, former editor of Psychology Today, American Health, PBS TV's Bodywatch, and Harvard Business Review
"Throughout this book Thayer documents the importance of events such as exercise and the food we eat on our levels of energy and tension and, therefore, on our mood. The dominant effect which these events have on our mood is seldom acknowledged and has received little attention from the scientific community. Dr. Thayer has done everyone a service by emphasizing their importance. More important is the fact that these are events within the control of every
person. All we have to do is follow the guidelines provided by Dr. Thayer and we can exercise greater control over our mood state and enjoy life much more."--Larry Christensen, University of South Alabama