Physical activity and its many moods: which are you today?

My friend and colleague Lee is the energizer bunny of teaching. She just keeps on going and going, coming up with new ideas and maintaining classic winning strategies year after year after year.

I just saw this post on her FB page, showing a way to invite students to talk about how they are doing this fall using a safe proxy: cat pictures. She asked them, which of Lee’s cats are you feeling most like today?

6 pictures of Lee’s cats, in various kitty moods.

What a great idea! It’s a way to talk about ourselves, but with a feline shield in case we need it. I love this and plan to implement it immediately.

Except I don’t have cats. Or dogs. I have a bunch of plants, but their moods seem to comprise blooming, being green, wilting, yellowing, and dying.

Well, maybe we’re not in need of much more mood nuance than that. Or are we? I happened to notice (while wandering the internet) this set of 20 cards to aid in identifying our emotional barometers. At first it seemed silly, but maybe we can use some help in unraveling our emotionally snarly selves. Here’s the set, which you can buy here (at the ICA museum store in Boston):

A color wheel of emotions, ranging from happy to envious to stressed and back again.

It doesn’t cost a ton ($21.95 USD), but I’m sufficiently impressed by Lee’s personal approach that I thought I should create my own mood packet. So, in lieu of pets or plants, I decided to do a grouping of various forms of me in motion, labeling each with some mood.

On a bike, in the water, running hard, paddling slow, climbing up or skiing down, we movers experience the full range of human emotions. It’s part of why we move– it both provokes feeling and reveals feelings we’ve kept inside. It’s one of my favorite things about physical activity– it feels… like… living.

So here are some mood collages of me in motion.

Clockwise, from top left: goofing around, happy, irritated, trusting, taking a risk, maintaining.

But wait, there’s more.

Clockwise, from top left: hanging on, barely hanging on, loving, immersion, Look ma, no hands!, and done.

If you read this on the Fit is a Feminist Issue FB page or Twitter or Instagram (or other things I don’t yet know about), how about post a picture of yourself in motion (or stillness), and name the mood? Just for fun. Or for self-investigation. Or grousing. Or joyful exhortation. Hey, you never know.

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