Blog post #18 of #ShiftYourHabits by Dace Pavloviča
Shift Your Habits
How Physical Activities Can Help Your Brain?
Today let’s talk about usefulness of physical activities. It will be unusual post, not so much related with our psychology, more about our physical part of our body.
Why physical activities are so important?
No, it will not be traditional way how we are used to look at them. Activities are not necessary just because of your body, just because to create mass of muscles– but because of your brain.
I had very interesting conversation with one scientist some months before. We talked about causes for depression and the ways how to overcome it.
His answer was: "there is lack of neurons, that is the main reason why it is so difficult for people overcome depression."
(I have read a lot of books about neuroscience before. And also I knew that neuron is nerve cell in our brain.)
And he added: “if each who is suffering from depression would take physical activities enough daily, it would be half a way to get healthy again”. Not just from depression, but from anxiety also. It can help on any mental health issue.
I have been in depression twice, I have shared my story already. The second one almost ended up fatal. I KNOW how HARD it is – to be in depression and take yourself OUT OF THE BED. It asks for unbelievable power. Almost mission impossible…
We continued our talk. Actually it is quite popular now to discuss about it. About neuron pathways.
If you haven’t heard anything – I will try to explain in simple words. Again I am not scientist, so I can be not 100% precise in details (terminology), but anyway I will try to repeat the main idea what this scientist shared with me that evening.
Each our thought creates certain neuron pathway in our brain. As we all know - brain is like our computer. And when we think the same (negative or positive) thoughts again and again, it becomes like pattern for our brain.
That’s the reason why we so often unconsciously react in the same way. Because we have created certain pathway in our brain. If we are angry, we act in the way (until consciously change it). If we are sad, the same happens again. Our reaction repeats. It is the same each time when we become sad. And so on.
And if we want to change our mindset, neurons are crucially important. That is material from which new pathways can be made in our brains! More healthy, not so depressed and powerless.
But if your brain doesn’t generate new neurons, there is simple no new material from which to create these pathways. You can’t create something from you don’t have.
There physical activities come! As new neuron producers for our brain.
Start with something small. 10-20 minutes walk each day. Or running. Find activity or activities what you like to do as you are about do it each single day. Don’t choose something which takes a lot from you to persuade – that you need it. Choose something simple. Easy doable. And pleasant for you!
It is very important in the very beginning not to get overwhelmed. The main thought – activities should create joy in you. And desire to perform them daily.
It is much more better to take 20 minutes per day, as 2 times 1 hour per week. Because what you do daily – it becomes habit for you. And that’s exactly what we need!!!
You can integrate those activities with some existing your daily activities you already make each day. For example, choose a walk before you go to your grocery store. Or choose activities immediately after your working day ends / before your working day starts. It will be easier for you to remember about it!
If it is not possible for you to get outside, do very simple exercises at your home. For example – combined of three different parts: jumping jacks, squats, push -ups. Make experiment. Till you find your perfect combination!
Don’t choose anything too complicated. For example, simple 15 - 30 times jumping-jacks, 15 - 30 – times squats; 15 - 30 – times push-ups. Choose what is possible and doable for you and definitely observe you body and your inner feelings. Be careful and don't put too much loud. You can always increase the intensity later. And, of course, if you feel it as necessary – definitely contact your doctor.
Simultaneously try to observe your feelings, your emotional state. How it changes after physical activities. It should improve almost immediately.
And I will mention this also - definitely don’t forget about importance of taking water in sufficient quantities each day. It helps prevent us from headaches and other unpleasant body reactions.
Help your neurons grow multiply. Help yourself to change your mindset. And start with small steps. Physical activities are one of them! The one of the most important and the most effective definitely.