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Mood management helps dieters succeed, research suggests

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Managing your mood can have a direct impact on the success of a diet, scientists suggest.

Forming a specific plan to address your mood can prevent bad moods from leading to impulsive behaviour, say psychologists from the University of Sheffield.

Dr Thomas Webb explained: “Translating goals into action is a complex process fraught with potential obstacles. A substantial proportion of people, even those who are highly motivated, fail to attain their goals. In fact, research suggests almost one third of people who make resolutions keep them for less than one week.

“Considerable evidence now suggests that deciding when, where, and how to act in advance can help people to stick to their goals. This type of plan is called an `implementation intention´ and specifies both a good opportunity in which to act and a suitable response to that opportunity.

“In the new research, we asked participants to form implementation intentions specifying how they would deal with a bad mood. Participants were asked to complete the sentence `If I am in a negative mood, then I will…´ with one of the following strategies; breathe deeply, think only positive thoughts, think `it is only a mood´ and I will not let it bother me, and think how I have successfully dealt with other situations.” Dr Webb added: “We found that planning in this way helped to reduce the impact of bad moods on risky and impulsive behavior.”

Thanks to Simon Meadows and The Optimist for this story