Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Sweet Peace #9: Mojo Cookies: a different kind of energy boost

We wake up to the same coffee. 

Walk around the same kitchen. 

Go to work at the same desk. 

Kiss the same partner. 

Brush the same teeth. 

(Hopefully, before kissing the same partner.)

All day. Every day. We do basically the same things. See basically the same sights. Eat pretty much the same foods. Talk to the usual people. Think thoughts similar to yesterday's.

We get bored … tired of the sameness … feel lethargic and dull … lack luster. Suddenly, we think “I need a cookie.” Two minutes and 250 calories later we feel sugar-fueled and continue on with our day.

The question that hit me after one of those cookie breaks was … is it the sugar or the two minutes? Or, a third choice: was it about two minutes of a state change? 

What is a state change?

Since I needed some healthier alternatives than the sugar-focused cookie option, I started thinking about a different kind of cookie, one that would harness the energy shifting power of breaks ... without pouring sugar or caffeine into my system. 

There are many ways to change states ... from naps to vacations, turning on the television or grabbing a book; however, I was only focused on micro-shifts which could happen in two minutes, such as:
  • Sitting to standing
  • Mental to physical
  • Physical to emotional
  • Serious to silly
  • Inside to outside
  • Focused to expansive
  • Indifferent to grateful
  • Neutral to excited
  • Blur to beauty

Many years ago when I was in the midst of a losing battle with menopause hormones and weight gain, I had an insight. I realized that  my anxiety eating was triggered when I “changed states,” which I defined as moving from one state of being to another … from work to home … from energetic to tired … inside to outside … any significant activity change would trigger uncontrollable thoughts of food. It was as if the change left a momentary gap in my mental processes which allowed feelings of tiredness or boredom to fill the empty spaces and trigger a desire for “comfort” … which too often meant food, comfort food of course.

What if those state change anxiety gaps could be deliberately filled with an energy booster other than food? We are accustomed to thinking in terms of 15 minute breaks; but, what if the more important element is the “state” change; going from mental work to a physical activity or from being focused on a task to a relaxed, expansive state? What if what we really crave is a boredom break … an energy boost … and have just allowed our choices to be limited to something edible?

From there I began to identify quick activities which could re-energize me and began putting them on cards which could be chosen at random. One of the first things I learned was that randomly drawing cards worked sometimes, but often the little being running my engine room wanted something else, so I had to choose different cards until she said … “that one!”

Another lesson came when I was approaching a project milestone and decided it should be celebrated with a cookie ... a real cookie and not just any cookie, but my favorite coconut-macadamia-chocolate-chip cookie from the cookie store. That cookie came to life in my mind in the morning and sat there, glowing, until I reached the milestone. It was time for my treat. 

However, when I got to the cookie store, the place where my special cookie normally rested was empty! What now? Eventually, I chose a less acceptable alternative, which did not satisfy at all. I felt deprived and irritable. Definitely not the intended result. 250 calories wasted.

The lesson which emerged after my small, internal tantrum was that I needed to choose a different kind of cookie to celebrate small wins instead of relying on sugar or caffeine. In that moment, Mojo Cookies were born. 

Mojo is one of those floating words that takes on different meanings depending on  circumstances and intent. Originally from the Gullah word for magic, mojo now carries the meaning of a "certain something," or spark of energy or life. It became part of my vocabulary when I began working on a gratitude-focused life journal titled Gratitude Mojo.

Thus, Mojo Cookies became two-minute, state-change activities which provide a quick boost of energy and mood. The energy boosters are specific to each person, however, I have baked a small batch and will share a few. Let me know if you decide to add Mojo Cookies to your routine.

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