213: Is your body budget the real cause of your mood?

213: Is your body budget the real cause of your mood?

Welcome to this episode of our short daily podcast - A Slice of Therapy.

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With Alun Parry https://liverpoolpsychotherapy.co.uk

Autogenerated Transcript

00:01
you’re listening to a slice of therapy
00:03
with me alun parry
00:06
[Music]
00:11
today i want to talk about the concept
00:13
of
00:14
the body budget an idea that’s been put
00:17
forward by
00:18
the psychologist lisa fellman barrett
00:22
and i want to talk about the body budget
00:24
and how it affects us
00:26
now imagine that you were
00:29
the chief finance officer for this big
00:32
organization
00:33
and this organization has locations and
00:36
offices right around the country and
00:39
it’s your job
00:41
to kind of be monitoring
00:44
the finances of all of these officers so
00:47
that
00:48
they’ve got what they need in order to
00:50
do what they do
00:52
and so your job then is to kind of
00:56
look at their budget from day to day
00:58
hour to hour
00:59
even just to make sure everyone’s got
01:02
the right amount of money that they’re
01:04
gonna need for whatever activities
01:06
they’re about to be involved in
01:08
so i don’t know you might know that for
01:10
example the wolverhampton office
01:12
are going to be running this big event
01:14
and so you might send a big flood of
01:16
money in their direction
01:18
you might notice that the leads office
01:20
has got too much money over there so
01:22
you’ll actually take some of that in
01:23
order to send it over to wolverhampton
01:26
to help with their event so your job is
01:28
to constantly monitor
01:30
the needs of all these different
01:33
locations
01:34
around the country and ensure that you
01:36
send them
01:37
the right amount of money so that they
01:39
can function and do the things that they
01:41
need
01:43
and keep all elements of the company
01:45
running
01:47
now the thing is what happens though
01:52
when you spot a need
01:56
but you just don’t have the resources to
01:58
spread around
02:01
so you might notice that wolverhampton
02:03
has to get a bigger vent but there’s
02:06
there’s really nowhere else that you can
02:08
take that money from in order to send it
02:10
to them
02:11
and in fact they’re short of money again
02:14
and the whole organization is depleted
02:16
all the different locations are
02:18
struggling to function well
02:21
and there’s nothing you can do about it
02:23
because
02:24
you just haven’t got enough coming in to
02:27
share around
02:31
well if you put yourself in that
02:32
position you might have some empathy for
02:35
your poor old brain because
02:36
this is the job that the brain is doing
02:39
constantly
02:41
it’s if you think of the brain as as you
02:44
as that chief finance officer
02:46
and all the different parts of your body
02:48
as the various locations in that
02:50
organization
02:51
then what your brain is actually doing
02:53
is exactly the same thing it’s trying to
02:56
budget energy in your body to keep you
02:59
alive and well
03:00
and so just as you were thinking well
03:02
wolverhampton i’ve got these needs
03:04
coming up
03:05
and trying to predict what each location
03:07
needed your brain
03:08
is doing the exact same thing it’s
03:10
trying to predict
03:11
your body’s needs and send the right
03:14
resources to that part of the body so
03:18
let me give you an example
03:20
let’s say you’re out in the street and
03:22
then suddenly you notice a gang
03:24
and the gang seem to be paying attention
03:26
to you
03:27
well your brain will notice that you’re
03:30
facing a potential threat
03:33
so it will start sending resources
03:36
to your muscles it will start sending
03:39
blood to your muscles so that
03:42
you’ve got what you need in order to run
03:44
away
03:46
so it’s predicting what you need in
03:48
advance
03:49
and sending the resources to you but
03:52
just like in your example before what
03:55
happens if it just doesn’t have the
03:56
resources
03:58
what happens if our body is needing
04:01
things
04:02
as it’s constantly needing things all
04:04
the time isn’t it it’s digesting food
04:06
it’s breathing
04:08
it’s perspiring now what happens if your
04:11
body no longer has
04:13
what it needs in order to function well
04:18
and the answer according to lisa phelm
04:20
embarrassed is that
04:21
our mood suffers so what do i mean by
04:25
mood
04:27
well mood according to this idea
04:31
is mood simply describes
04:37
how plentiful our body budget is
04:40
so if we’re running low for instance
04:45
then our mood is likely to be low as
04:47
well
04:48
if we’re in a state of plenty in terms
04:50
of our body
04:52
then our mood is high so
04:55
when we talk about mood it’s this kind
04:57
of background
04:59
thing but what it’s reflecting is how
05:02
plentiful
05:03
our body budget actually is
05:07
now why is that important well because
05:11
what happens is that when our mood is
05:13
low what we’ll often do instead
05:16
is we’ll make sense of it by
05:20
putting an emotional label on it so
05:22
we’ll say
05:23
we’ll notice our mood is low and of
05:25
course our mood is a reflection of that
05:27
body budget and
05:28
instead we won’t say oh my body budget
05:30
is low
05:32
we’ll say well i’m miserable i’m down
05:36
i’m sad we create an emotional label to
05:38
try and explain the fact
05:40
that our body is feeling out of sync
05:44
and so you might say well
05:48
surely that’s not the case you know you
05:50
might say surely
05:53
these are dodgy thoughts rather than the
05:56
body
05:57
after all many psychologists will deal
05:59
with just the thoughts in your head
06:02
and we’ll focus on those but let me give
06:04
you three examples
06:06
that might persuade you though when
06:08
we’ve got a low body budget
06:11
that it will actually result in that
06:13
emotional
06:14
feeling so that it’s not about thoughts
06:17
necessarily
06:18
but about what’s going on in terms
06:22
of our bodies in terms of our body
06:24
budget
06:25
that are that we just don’t have the
06:28
correct resources
06:29
enabled to give ourselves what we need
06:32
to function well and so our mood drops
06:34
now the three examples i’m going to give
06:36
you is first hunger
06:38
second fatigue and the third one
06:41
a lack of movement
06:44
so let’s start with hunger now imagine
06:47
you’re a prisoner
06:49
and you’re up for promote for parole and
06:52
you’re hoping that the parole board
06:54
will let you out of prison earlier
06:56
that’s your hope you want to be let out
06:57
of jail
06:58
a little bit earlier
07:02
you would best hope then that when your
07:04
case comes up
07:06
that it doesn’t come up just before
07:08
lunch because the research shows
07:11
that you’re much more likely to have
07:12
your case denied just before lunch
07:16
than just after lunch and you can see
07:19
why can’t you because
07:21
after lunch everyone’s everyone’s been
07:23
fed
07:24
so everyone’s mood is higher everyone
07:26
feels
07:27
a lot more lenient oh go on then let
07:30
them out
07:32
but just before lunch well everyone’s
07:34
grumpy
07:36
they want their dinner and so the
07:38
research shows
07:39
that if you’re up before the parole
07:41
board just before lunch
07:44
well you’ve been very unfortunate
07:45
because you’re not as likely anywhere
07:47
near as likely
07:49
to be released
07:53
and you’ve all experienced this i know
07:54
i’ve experienced this that sense of
07:57
feeling really irritable but really i’m
07:59
hungry there’s even a word for it hungry
08:02
it’s where we pin the emotion of anger
08:05
onto something that’s really about our
08:07
hunger
08:08
so that’s hunger the second example is
08:11
fatigue
08:12
so let’s say you’ve been kept up most of
08:14
the night
08:15
let’s say you’ve only had an hour’s
08:16
sleep
08:18
and now you’ve got a hard day at work
08:21
now my guess is that you’re hardly full
08:23
of the joys of spring in that situation
08:25
and you feel miserable but it’s not
08:27
because you’ve got the
08:29
wrong thought patterns it’s because your
08:31
body budget is low
08:33
and so you’ve got that sense of being
08:36
dragged down by the fatigue
08:38
and so what you do is pin an emotional
08:40
label on it and say well
08:42
i’m really miserable or maybe you’re
08:44
irritable
08:46
but what’s really happening here is that
08:48
your body budget is low
08:50
and just like you trying to send things
08:52
across the organization
08:54
there’s just not enough resources to
08:55
ensure that you’re functioning well
08:58
and then as your mood falls to low
09:03
then you’ll feel miserable as a result
09:07
so that’s hunger and fatigue so let’s
09:09
look at lack of movement
09:12
let’s say you’ve been sat in a chair all
09:14
day and you notice that your mood has
09:16
slipped
09:18
maybe you tell yourself that you feel
09:20
sad or maybe you’re
09:22
feeling restless and agitated instead
09:26
because our bodies are made for movement
09:28
they’re designed to be moved and so
09:30
when we’re sat in a chair all day like
09:32
that often we’ll get to a point where
09:34
our mood feels low
09:36
we’ll feel that agitation or we’ll feel
09:38
sad
09:39
and yet because our body needs to move
09:42
we’ll go for a walk and we’ll feel
09:43
better
09:45
and so you can see there three examples
09:46
of hunger and fatigue and
09:49
lack of movement that results in your
09:51
body not getting what it needs
09:53
and so your mood falling and then
09:56
pinning an emotional label not because
09:58
of thoughts
09:59
but because our body’s budget is just
10:02
very depleted
10:04
so the mistake we can often make then is
10:07
we’ll focus on
10:08
the thoughts first or we’ll even go
10:11
to the emotions a little bit early
10:15
when instead what we can learn to do
10:18
is to focus instead on the underlying
10:20
mood
10:21
think of it instead maybe as
10:25
my body budget is running low what can i
10:28
do about it
10:29
and it allows us to sell a story then
10:32
that is about a body that is running
10:34
with not enough
10:35
gas in the tank and so we can come up
10:37
with kinder explanations
10:39
of why we’re feeling the way that we are
10:42
rather than telling ourselves that we’re
10:44
crazy or
10:45
we’re always miserable or whatever it
10:47
happens to be we can start to tune into
10:49
the body to come up with a kinda
10:51
potential explanation for what’s really
10:54
going on
10:55
and so let’s have a recap then in terms
10:58
of what we’ve learned in this episode
11:00
first of all we saw that example where
11:03
you’re the chief finance officer trying
11:04
to predict
11:05
the needs of each different location of
11:08
the organization around the country
11:10
and make sure that you’re sending money
11:12
over to them
11:14
and how the organization can get stuck
11:17
if it just doesn’t have resources to
11:19
come in
11:20
and we looked at that because that’s how
11:22
your brain operates as well just trying
11:24
to send
11:24
resources to different parts of your
11:27
body in order to ensure that you
11:29
function well and so
11:32
we saw too that when you’re low on
11:34
resources
11:36
your mood becomes low as well
11:39
in fact that’s how we defined mood when
11:41
we thought of mood
11:43
a good definition of mood is simply to
11:45
say that it reflects
11:47
the body budget so when we’re depleted
11:49
and it’s running low
11:51
we have this kind of background sense of
11:53
mood
11:54
that is also running low and when our
11:56
body budget is
11:58
nice and full then we feel good
12:01
and we saw three examples of that didn’t
12:03
we where we’re hungry
12:05
or we’re tired or we’re just too still
12:08
for the amount of movements our bodies
12:10
were designed for
12:11
and we saw there that when we give the
12:13
body what it needs
12:15
it actually helps and our mood changes
12:19
and then finally we looked at the idea
12:21
whereby
12:23
if we bypass our thoughts and bypass our
12:27
emotions
12:28
and go direct to the mood direct to the
12:31
depletion
12:31
in our body budget that we can get
12:35
ourselves to an alternative story
12:37
about what’s going on for us in that
12:39
moment that can actually
12:40
be more accurate and more practical
12:44
because it gives us something
12:46
that we can first of all do about it in
12:49
the moment
12:50
but it also gives perhaps a kind of
12:53
story
12:55
about what’s going on for us emotionally
12:57
as well
12:59
so if this has been interesting to you
13:02
let me know what your takeaway is
13:04
just write to me at info at
13:06
alunparry.com alun of course is spelled
13:09
a l
13:09
u n the welsh way so info at
13:12
alunparry.com
13:13
let me know what you got from today’s
13:16
today’s episode if you’d like to work
13:19
with me directly of course you can do
13:21
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13:24
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13:26
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13:28
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13:30
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13:35
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13:38
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13:40
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