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The 10-Minute Daily “Lifestyle Trigger” That Relieves Anxiety and Depression

The 10-Minute Daily “Lifestyle Trigger” That Relieves Anxiety and Depression

I have 2 questions for you…

  1. Are you anxious or depressed?
  2. Do have a spare 10-20 minutes every day?

If the answer to these 2 questions is yes, then read on! I’m going to explain an exciting and simple new take on anxiety and depression relief, and it only takes 10-20 minutes per day.

Anxiety and depression are nasty things, often making you feel like there is no hope. It can be a really tough time for anyone going through this mental anguish.

This article is not about how tough it is, but what can you do next. What is the quickest and easiest way to start relieving your symptoms independently and naturally?

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To understand why this technique (I call it a “Lifestyle Trigger”) is so effective, you must first understand what the physical problem is that causes your symptoms.

That’s right — depression and anxiety is a physical problem. Sure, the issue can start with negative thoughts and thought cycles, but the actual symptoms of anxiety and depression are caused by a physical problem in your body.

The Physical Problem: “Imbalanced Hormone Harmony”

So, what is this physical problem?

Normally, there is an optimal balance between stress hormones (cortisol and adrenalin) and feel-good neurotransmitters (chemical messengers in the brain responsible for mood and emotion) in the body. I call this balance your “Hormone Harmony,” as it helps to create serenity throughout the body.

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These nasty symptoms are created when your hormone harmony is out of balance. Stress hormones increase to a level that is unmanageable to the body. Feel-good neurotransmitters decrease and stop behaving properly. I call this an “Imbalanced Hormone Harmony.”

This is the reason traditional talking therapies are not enough when it comes to combating depression and anxiety, because the physical problem is not being fixed. I’m not putting those therapies down or saying you shouldn’t do them, but there are a few things you need to do alongside them to tackle depression and anxiety from all angles.

That’s where Lifestyle Triggers come in. They are basically small changes to certain aspects in your lifestyle that help to reverse the the damage done to your hormone harmony. The 10-20 minute daily lifestyle trigger I’m talking about is “Flexible Exercise.” This is an approach I have used to help lots of people with depression and anxiety at one of the UK’s leading mental health hospitals as the fitness coordinator.

Flexible Exercise

I’m sure you have heard exercise is good for mental health, but Flexible Exercise is something different and even more effective. Let me explain…

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The problem with using traditional exercise to relieve depression and anxiety is that it is a stress on the body. Normally, we can adapt to this stress and this adaptation increases our fitness. However, for someone with an imbalanced hormone harmony, their resting stress hormones are already elevated. This means the stress traditional exercise causes can actually overload the body and increase stress hormones further, therefore increasing your symptoms further. I call this creating a “Negative Exercise-Stress Axis” — you want to avoid this.

This is where Flexible Exercise comes in. So what’s the difference? It’s far shorter and flexible — about 10-20 minutes in length and can be timed with the negative cycle of your symptoms, therefore breaking the cycle. This is far better for rebalancing your hormone harmony.

Why?

A short burst of exercise doesn’t overload the body with stress hormones. Instead, it gives your body a chance to adapt to a much smaller amount of stress. This adaptation gradually empties the body of stress hormones, therefore reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety. I call this creating a “Positive Exercise-Stress Axis.”

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I’m not saying if you’re having a panic attack or suddenly feeling really low you need to drop down and do some press ups. What I am saying is most people tend to have a daily pattern when their symptoms are worse. For example, you might tend to feel low in the mornings or anxious and stressed after work. This is when you can get into the routine of doing your short flexible exercise workout, to break the negative cycle. If you want to learn more, check out this article on Flexible Exercise.

Don’t Ignore Your Motivational Energy

If you’re suffering from depression and anxiety and the things I have said make sense, you probably have some “motivational energy.” This is how I explain that lightbulb moment when things make sense and you know what to do to get what you want or need. The problem is that when it comes to motivation, the lightbulb doesn’t stay on for long. So, what’s important is what you do right now to help commit yourself.

Think about when you could do your 10-20 minutes of flexible exercise each day then write it in your diary.

Remember, if you are experiencing symptoms of depression or anxiety, always seek medical advice and talk to a doctor. These things are nothing to be ashamed of. If you found this useful, please like and share, as it might help someone else going through the same thing. We can beat depression and anxiety together.

More by this author

Ben Jones

Fitness Coordinator

We Feel Empty Because Our Bodies Aren’t Evolved to Cope With the Current Lifestyle How Not to Let Negative Thoughts Trump the Positive Vibes The 20-Minute Morning Routine That Relieves Anxiety The 10-Minute Daily “Lifestyle Trigger” That Relieves Anxiety and Depression 2 Major Flaws in Your Diet That Cause Stress and Anxiety

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Last Updated on September 10, 2018

Overcoming The Pain Of A Breakup: 3 Suggestions Based On Science

Overcoming The Pain Of A Breakup: 3 Suggestions Based On Science

We thought that the expression ‘broken heart’ was just a metaphor, but science is telling us that it is not: breakups and rejections do cause physical pain. When a group of psychologists asked research participants to look at images of their ex-partners who broke up with them, researchers found that the same brain areas that are activated by physical pain are also activated by looking at images of ex-partners. Looking at images of our ex is a painful experience, literally.[1].

Given that the effect of rejections and breakups is the same as the effect of physical pain, scientists have speculated on whether the practices that reduce physical pain could be used to reduce the emotional pain that follows from breakups and rejections. In a study on whether painkillers reduce the emotional pain caused by a breakup, researchers found that painkillers did help. Individuals who took painkillers were better able to deal with their breakup. Tamar Cohen wrote that “A simple dose of paracetamol could help ease the pain of a broken heart.”[2]

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Just like painkillers can be used to ease the pain of a broken heart, other practices that ease physical pain can also be used to ease the pain of rejections and breakups. Three of these scientifically validated practices are presented in this article.

Looking at images of loved ones

While images of ex-partners stimulate the pain neuro-circuitry in our brain, images of loved ones activate a different circuitry. Looking at images of people who care about us increases the release of oxytocin in our body. Oxytocin, or the “cuddle hormone,” is the hormone that our body relies on to induce in us a soothing feeling of tranquility, even when we are under high stress and pain.

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In fact, oxytocin was found to have a crucial role as a mother is giving birth to her baby. Despite the extreme pain that a mother has to endure during delivery, the high level of oxytocin secreted by her body transforms pain into pleasure. Mariem Melainine notes that, “Oxytocin levels are usually at their peak during delivery, which promotes a sense of euphoria in the mother and helps her develop a stronger bond with her baby.”[3]

Whenever you feel tempted to look at images of your ex-partner, log into your Facebook page and start browsing images of your loved ones. As Eva Ritvo, M.D. notes, “Facebook fools our brain into believing that loved ones surround us, which historically was essential to our survival. The human brain, because it evolved thousands of years before photography, fails on many levels to recognize the difference between pictures and people”[4]

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Exercise

Endorphins are neurotransmitters that reduce our perception of pain. When our body is high on endorphins, painful sensations are kept outside of conscious awareness. It was found that exercise causes endorphins to be secreted in the brain and as a result produce a feeling of power, as psychologist Alex Korb noted in his book: “Exercise causes your brain to release endorphins, neurotransmitters that act on your neurons like opiates (such as morphine or Vicodin) by sending a neural signal to reduce pain and provide anxiety relief.”[5] By inhibiting pain from being transmitted to our brain, exercise acts as a powerful antidote to the pain caused by rejections and breakups.

Meditation

Jon Kabat Zinn, a doctor who pioneered the use of mindfulness meditation therapy for patients with chronic pain, has argued that it is not pain itself that is harmful to our mental health, rather, it is the way we react to pain. When we react to pain with irritation, frustration, and self-pity, more pain is generated, and we enter a never ending spiral of painful thoughts and sensations.

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In order to disrupt the domino effect caused by reacting to pain with pain, Kabat Zinn and other proponents of mindfulness meditation therapy have suggested reacting to pain through nonjudgmental contemplation and acceptance. By practicing meditation on a daily basis and getting used to the habit of paying attention to the sensations generated by our body (including the painful ones and by observing these sensations nonjudgmentally and with compassion) our brain develops the habit of reacting to pain with grace and patience.

When you find yourself thinking about a recent breakup or a recent rejection, close your eyes and pay attention to the sensations produced by your body. Take deep breaths and as you are feeling the sensations produced by your body, distance yourself from them, and observe them without judgment and with compassion. If your brain starts wandering and gets distracted, gently bring back your compassionate nonjudgmental attention to your body. Try to do this exercise for one minute and gradually increase its duration.

With consistent practice, nonjudgmental acceptance will become our default reaction to breakups, rejections, and other disappointments that we experience in life. Every rejection and every breakup teaches us great lessons about relationships and about ourselves.

Featured photo credit: condesign via pixabay.com

Reference

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