Lockdown may have proved a challenge for all of us whether mentally, physically or emotionally. But returning to a new type of normal has proven to what extent this truly has had an effect on all of us.
Finding motivation and a clear mindset when the world feels against you can feel incredibly hard.
Every client I have worked with both during and post lockdown have expressed similar feelings of lack of self belief, going backwards, exhaustion, anxiety and for some depression. So how do we change this?
OH, HOW WE LOVE TO SELF SABOTAGE!
We seem to have evolved to berate ourselves for our shortcomings rather than applaud ourselves for our achievements and everyday successes. I know it's been said a thousand times, but would you talk to a friend the way you talk to yourself. I discussed this in a post about self sabotage.
Our quickest way to talking ourselves out of things; excusing ourselves for not being consistent or hitting our goals; our ability to find the negative rather than the positive
START SEEING AND BELIEVING IN CHANGE
Those small things like remembering when you first lifted a weight and what you can lift now; the fact those arms aren't wobbling half as much as they used to; turning up for that workout no matter how rubbish you felt; getting through a workout that felt really hard work but not actually giving up; realising your mindset is changing because you already know what to change and have started doing that;
And just remember, all those things you don't like about yourself someone else wishes they had those things. We are so quick to see our own flaws but only ever see the positives in another person. Let's change the rhetoric and start telling ourselves how thankful we are to have a body that does all these things and more and find 2 things you absolutely love about YOU; remind yourself daily! YOU ARE UNIQUE.
So how do I change my mindset and start to improve my motivation?
Every Morning of Every Day of Every Week of Every Month. Just 5 mins of your entire day!
When was the last time you woke up and took a deep inhale?
Scientific research shows:
"Nasal breathing keeps air in your lungs longer than mouth breathing, and provides up to 20% more oxygen in your bloodstream at any given time. Nasal breathing also warms the air by as much as 40 degrees before it gets to the lungs, this is especially important in cold weather. The majority of bacteria and germs are filtered out of incoming air by your nose before the air is passed on to the lungs, and this is an important health benefit" Ref. Breathing and Sleep Centre
Try this simple but effective nasal breathing exercise:
Inhale deeply for 5 seconds
Hold the breath for 5 seconds
Exhale for 5 seconds
Take note of the peace and sensation in your body
Repeat 6 times deepening the breath each time
Being thankful....why bother?
It has been scientifically proven that when we say out loud or write down what we are grateful/thankful for it can help:
improve sleep quality.
improve emotional regulation.
increase feelings of happiness and positive mood.
foster hope for the future.
reduce stress, burnout, and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Finding time for gratitude can be done morning or evening. Most practitioners would recommend in the evening as you can reflect even on the worst day and see the good as well as remind yourself what you do have in your life to be grateful for and as such this settles the mind before bed.
Set intention to your day through positive affirmations:
"Self-affirmation activates brain systems associated with self-related processing and reward and is reinforced by future orientation" - Cascio, Christopher N et al. “Self-affirmation activates brain systems associated with self-related processing and reward and is reinforced by future orientation.” Social cognitive and affective neuroscience vol. 11,4 (2016): 621-9. doi:10.1093/scan/nsv136
The process of affirmations can be as simple as repeating one thing such as "I am strong" to a series of affirmations with a specific intention to attract ie. love, happiness, wealth etc. It may be a couple of mins or much longer. You can do this the moment you wake up or during the drive to work.
YouTube and Spotify have some great options. Repeated on a daily basis this can create a positive outlook and truly change your mindset in what you can accomplish!
Smiling not only offers a mood boost but helps our bodies release cortisol and endorphins that provide numerous health benefits, including:
Reduced blood pressure.
Strengthened immune system.
Take a look in the mirror and smile
Whether that is running, walking, yoga, lifting weights, taking the stairs, stretching....get outdoors and enjoy hethe fresh air.
All of the above will focus your mindset on what is truly important to you. Removing negative thought patterns and bringing attention to your self. In turn, by bringing this focus we learn to bring attention to everything that we do. Eating, thinking, speaking, exercising and so much more in a more intuitive and balanced way.
"Slow, steady progress is better than fast, daily excuses" - Robin Sharma
It may be a slow process but like working out and eating right we see the gradual beneficial changes. Rather than racing to the finish line and burning out, we must instead work in a steady and progressive way. Becoming accepting of slip ups and resolving to do better the next time. It is far better to be aware of areas where we may have fallen and know to pick ourselves back up, than to ignore the facts for months on end and do nothing in the process.
One final thing......mental health
We have all been through a lot in the last year or so, much of it more emotionally and mentally challenging. Increased stress levels can/will raise your cortisol levels...if you then add a high intensity cardio or weight based workout to the mix potentially this cortisol level can become dangerous. If you think you are in the bracket of extreme depression/anxiety/stress then there are other ways to get fitter without resorting to these high intensity options...such as walking, yoga, pilates and so forth.
Remember to do what you love doing, if you hate the gym...find something else. Martial arts, yoga, cycling, wild swimming there are so many opportunities out there. Don't feel forced to do something you hate.
And whilst I would always say "stay in the present", when you do reflect back, think of some of the worst things that have happened in the past for you that you thought you'd never get over and then realise that you did.
That is your inner strength, your motivation, your reason to "Be The Change"
If you would like more guidance and advice on any of the topics covered please just drop me a message and I will be happy to help.
Have a fantastic week ahead and don't forget to take 5 mins out of your day for you!
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