Have you ever wondered why there are things in your life, habits and patterns that you just can’t seem to get beyond? Some things that are holding you back in some way or some situation that keeps rearing its head? I know I have. In fact, I’ve had more than my fair share of drama, conflict, ill health, near death experiences and addictive behaviours. There are a ton of stories to tell and many lessons learned along the way, I will save those for another time. This is about one extremely important lesson and it changed my life.
This is a very simple concept that can be applied to every aspect of your life. Although it is simple I could probably do an entire book on this concept alone, who knows, I might one day. Our neurology functions on an information and communication basis. The brain is receiving information, constantly. A vast amount in fact. That information will then dictate what our brain tells our body to do. So, what do I mean by information? Well, everything. I'll break it up into a few categories for you. This list is by no means complete though. You’ll get the idea by the end of it.
Nutrition is information. The food and drink we take in. It all has something to say to our brain and body. Poor quality food is poor quality information and you will get a poor-quality response. We've all been there when we've eaten something and shortly after started feeling crap, brain fog, lethargy, headaches, breathing issues, bloating and sometimes a closer relationship with the toilet. I once had a terrible food poisoning themed train journey from Paris to London, I’m fairly sure you don’t want the details though. Sometimes it comes out in your skin as spots, rashes or blemishes. It can also affect your sleep patterns. Sometimes it can be less of a physical feeling, the wrong food choices can affect your mood as well. If you've ever switched from feeling OK to suddenly feeling irritable, snappy and finding yourself a lot less tolerant the answer could very well lay in what you've eaten.
Next time it happens try to backtrack and see if you can work out what set you off. If you really want to be clever about it you can keep a food and mood diary, track it all and make correlations. It's a great tool that can have a profound impact on your life. Personally, it was life changing for me when I did this. So, I’m going to tell you quickly how to do it, for those of you that are interested. For each meal, you will have three sections. I like to use paper as I can just draw a grid out, I’m old school like that. The first section is food, unsurprisingly. The key to this section is details. For example, if you had a chicken sandwich, you’d put down the kind of bread, the spread, if it’s chicken breast or thigh. You get the idea, details. The other sections are to be filled out around forty-five mins to an hour after eating. one is for energy levels and focus. Do you feel sharp, tired, foggy, clear or whatever? The other section would be for your mood. You would put here how you feel. happy, depressed, angry, calm, irritable, whatever you’re feeling. Over time you will learn exactly what your brain and body likes & dislikes, functions well on and not so well on. You will see how you are responding to that information you are feeding yourself
The kind of exercise you engage in or not, as the case may be, is giving your brain and body information. If you’re doing very little then your body’s response to that will be to adapt the muscles to the positions you are in the most. Movement becomes restricted and pain is often not far away.
The same is true if you are doing the same thing over and over again without any real variation, the muscles that get used the most start to tighten while those that get neglected tend to be longer and weaker, creating imbalances that, again, may well contribute to pain at some point. Just think of someone that loves working their chest more than anything else, there body shape is obvious. Tight chest and rounded shoulders, with elbows pointing out to the sides rather than pointing backwards, like they should. The knuckle dragger look. We are literally shaped by what we do the most. The most important thing with exercise is first, to do something you enjoy so that it is sustainable. There is no point doing stuff you hate.
Then I would look at variety within that or something that compliments it. If you read my last blog you may remember the brain loves complex movement, include some somewhere. If you didn’t read my last blog, READ MY STUFF. Now, all of you sporty types will already have your sports that you do, so for you guys it’s about doing stuff that allows you longevity in your chosen activity. This is where a well-structured weights training program comes into its own. It enables your body to cope with the demands of the activity and should, if designed correctly, deal with any imbalances that come from doing the same activity repeatedly. So, no cookie cutter programs here, it's worth getting a professional to do that for you. Having your sporting years cut short from badly planned or lack of strength training is all too common. If you love what you do then take steps to insure, you can do it for as long as possible. Bit of a no brainer really.
This one is a sensitive subject but very important. Ignore it at your peril. This isn't just about significant others. Family, friends and colleagues all count too. If the people you are around the most are largely having negative conversations, bitching, moaning, blaming, being judgemental and generally putting a downer on things, then that will be unconsciously shaping the way you think and feel. Whether you are aware of it or not, your subconscious mind sees and hears everything. Misery loves company, as the saying goes but so does positivity thankfully. Have you ever noticed how miserable people flock together? Well so do positive people that are interested in growth.
Now I understand that we can't just cut some relationships out of our lives and telling people to piss off all the time will do more harm than good. What we can do though is change how we relate with those people that we can’t walk away from. Change the things we talk about, guide them in a new direction as best we can. We can also build new relationships with more positive people, seek them out. If you can’t find any in your vicinity then there is always the internet, there are plenty of groups and forums of likeminded people or inspirational people you can follow. As we grow, those old negative relationships should naturally break away or change with you, to some degree. The aim is to get more positive interactions than negative, tip the scale in your favour. That will help you move forward as opposed to backward.
Now this one is massive, pervasive and sneaks under the radar. Media in all its forms from newspapers, magazines, books, tv, radio and thanks to technological advances, social media that we carry around with us all day every day. I’ll start with newspapers or news sources in general. Many people start and end the day by checking out current affairs from whatever they’re preferred source is. I’m sure the observant amongst you will have noticed that it is always, heavily skewed towards the negative, doom and gloom. For some reason fear sells much more than hope and positivity, fuck knows why. It’s not going to set you up for a good day is it, or end the day right for that matter. TV.
Now there is a fucker. The vast majority of TV is largely negative and full of conflict. Soaps, dramas, reality tv and don’t get me started on that toxic bastard Jeremy Kyle (if you’re not in the UK, you’ve dodged a bullet with that). It puts me in a negative state just thinking about it. People spend hours at a time in front of the TV absorbing all this stuff and having it shape our thoughts. Fortunately, since the internet we also have much more access to different things so we can actively seek out more positive, interesting things, if we care to look. The world is at our finger tips. We have podcasts, video streaming, audio books or you could go old school and pick up one of those paper books.
This one is sneaky and addictive. The amount of time people are spending checking their phones is huge. It is largely unconscious as well, grabbing it without thinking about it then our minds are at the mercy of what is on our Facebook or whatever we are using. How many times have you scrolled down and ended up in a bad mood after reading the endless stream of crap people post or share. Fortunately, we now have the option to hide people without deleting them, at least with Facebook so that saves a lot of potential grief, particularly if it is a family member. I suggest you make use of that feature.
As for other platforms, well you will just have to make sure you follow more positive than negative. Remember, it’s all about tipping those scales wherever possible. Personally, I like to start the day on something positive. I like motivational things early, it sets the day up right for me and gathers momentum when done consistently. I also like to end the day on a positive note, reading or listening to something that will leave me in a good frame of mind before I sleep. Your mind is going to get programmed whether you like it or not. You can take control and do it yourself or let the world around you do it for you. No contest, really is it? Your mind will accept whatever data you give it. The quality of your life is dependent on the quality of your information. Take control of your information and guide your life in the direction you want. Go tip some scales.
Big punkass love