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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

The 20-Minute Morning Routine That Relieves Anxiety 2 Major Flaws in Your Diet That Cause Stress and Anxiety 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 10-Minute Daily “Lifestyle Trigger” That Relieves Anxiety and Depression

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Published on November 23, 2020

How to Develop Big Picture Thinking And Think More Clearly

How to Develop Big Picture Thinking And Think More Clearly

Your neighbors downstairs are playing loud music. Again. How do they not get tired of partying? And why do they choose songs with such a heavy downbeat that the glass in your cupboard is vibrating every two seconds? What can you do to get some peace that you deserve? What should you?

Human mind tends to go in circles whenever faced with a problem without a clear solution. It becomes easy to forget the big picture and get lost in anger and self-pity, wasting our precious time, energy and enthusiasm.

Would it not be nice if we always remembered to put things in perspective?

Would it not be more efficient to face all kinds of problems, from tiny annoyances to life-changing emergencies, with a calm demeanor, sharp focus and fearless determination to promptly take the most efficient action possible?

Alas, humans are not like that. All too often we let anxiety or greed get the best of us and make a rushed or shortsighted decision that we quickly come to regret. Other times, we spend weeks or months at an impasse, rehashing the exact same arguments, unable to accept the compromise required to move forward with any of the available options.

Buddhists talk about getting lost in the “small self.” In this state of mind, we literally forget the big picture and focus on the small one. We start taking our daily problems too personally and, paradoxically, becomes less capable of solving them in an efficient manner. And this is the opposite of big picture thinking.

Let me share with you a story related to big picture thinking…

In 1812, the French army of Napoleon Bonaparte invaded Russia.[1] After a decisive Battle of Borodino, the capture of Moscow and therefore Napoleon’s victory in the war seemed inevitable.

Unexpectedly, the Russian Commander-in-Chief Mikhail Kutuzov made a highly controversial decision of retreating and allowing the French to capture Moscow. Much of the population had been evacuated taking supplies with them. The city itself was set on fire and large parts of it burned into the ground.

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After waiting in vain for Russia to capitulate, Napoleon had to retreat in the middle of a bitterly cold winter. He won the battle but lost the war. The campaign ended in a disaster and the near destruction of the French army.

What can we learn from this historical lesson?

1. Focus on the Consequences

Napoleon focused on the important part: capturing Moscow. Nobody could accuse him of thinking small. Yet he overlooked that the Russian army could still fight even after giving up the country’s most important city.

So was Moscow not an important target after all?

Success expert Brian Tracy has a litmus test: things are important to the extent that they have important consequences. Things are unimportant to the extent that they have no important consequences.[2]

When faced with a choice, ask yourself, what would be the consequences of each option?

  • Want to spend an hour studying or watching the new series on Netflix? What would be the consequences of each option? Netflix can sometimes be a better choice, but it helps to put things in perspective.
  • Want to maintain your apartment by yourself or to pay a cleaning service? Would would be the consequences of each option?
  • Want to meet up for coffee with this acquaintance of yours or catch up on your work instead? What would be the consequences of each option?

The choice can be different for different people. An aspiring filmmaker may have a legitimate reason for choosing Netflix. Personally, cleaning your own apartment can be relaxing and nourishing even if the economics of hiring a cleaner looks compelling because you are earning a high hourly rate.

This is where you will need a basic idea of who you are — what are your goals, values and aspirations.

2. Flip Defeat Into Victory

Kutuzov managed to turn Russia’s defeat into a historic victory by recasting the problem in a wider context: losing Moscow need not mean losing the war.

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Despite the symbolic meaning attached to the Kremlin, the churches, the priceless treasures that had been stored in the city for centuries, the outcome of the campaign was ultimately determined by the strength of the remaining armies.

If you can adopt this result-oriented perspective, many of your personal defeats may be flipped into victories as well. Few events in a human life are absolutely good or absolutely bad, and it usually takes many years to recognize in retrospect, what role a particular encounter did play in your story.

Therefore we have every reason to look for the good in the things that happen to us.

This is a very practical attitude, far from baseless “positive thinking.” After all, if something unfortunate has happened to you and you find good sides in this circumstance, you will then be better positioned to take advantage of those good sides.

Say your noisy neighbors are affecting your productivity. What if it is a blessing in disguise? How can you turn this defeat into a victory?

  • Perhaps you are too serious about life and could learn how to have more fun. Join your neighbors or go out for a walk instead of working;
  • Perhaps you only wanted to be productive while instead procrastinated on social media. Now that your procrastination has been interrupted, stop and acknowledge this much greater obstacle to your productivity;
  • Perhaps you are too sensitive to interference. Take this opportunity to practice ignoring the noise and doing your best anyway;
  • Perhaps you have a victim mentality and the feeling of unfairness drains you more than any actual nuisance your neighbors might have caused. Try accepting this lapse in your productivity the way you would accept bad weather.

Get used to finding opportunities in your problems. This is the quintessential big picture thinking.

3. Ask for Advice

Both Napoleon and Kutuzov had trusted advisers to discuss their affairs with. In general, getting a different perspective — or several — can only help inform your understanding and lead to better decisions. Just ensure that the people giving you advice are competent in the particular area where experience is needed.

Paying money for advice can also be a wise investment. Lawyers, tax accountants, medical doctors spend years learning how to assist people like yourself in living more successful, more fulfilling lives.

A quick legal consultation can save you a fortune down the line or even keep you out of big trouble. A medical check-up can uncover potential issues and help keep you healthy and active for years to come.

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Even big, complex dilemmas at your job or in your romantic relationship can be tackled more effectively by partnering up with a coach or a therapist or, of course, with the help of a wise friend.

4. Beware of Biased Advice

Many imperfect decisions occur in response to an imperfect piece of advice that you choose to act on. This advice often comes from a biased party.

For example, we are often encouraged to buy something that we supposedly need:

  • Protect your skin from harmful UV rays by using a special lotion.
  • Fortify your health by taking multivitamins.
  • Connect with your friends by sending them elaborate gifts.
  • Brighten your weekend by consuming a delicious pastry.
  • Become more productive by getting a faster computer.

However, most purchases are unnecessary.

Some, such as the sunscreen, do have legitimate benefits when used properly.[3] Others, such as multivitamins, only make a difference for a small group of people.[4]

Advertisers of those benefits inevitably want to narrow your focus in order to overstate the importance of their product. They frequently present it as the only solution to your problem, whether real or imaginary.

After all,

  • Skin can also be protected from the sun by wearing appropriate clothing.
  • Health can be better fortified by consuming a balanced diet and getting regular exercise.
  • Spending time or talking on the phone with your friends is the foremost way of connecting with them, and it is virtually free.
  • Your weekend can be brightened by doing something that you love.
  • You can become more productive by focusing on the tasks that have the most important consequences. A faster computer can, in fact, decrease productivity by making it easier to multitask and by enabling your favorite distractions.

There are other sources of imperfect advice. Politicians also frequently want us to focus on a particular “big picture,” to the exclusion of the alternatives.

Even loving parents can be guilty of the same. They can advise their children to pick a career path that is safe and respectable, based on their “big picture” that in life one has to make a living. A child may disagree, however, based on another “big picture” that one’s life has to have meaning and fulfillment.

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Bottom Line

It is human nature to make rushed, emotional decisions based on incomplete information, then regret those decisions later on.

You can protect yourself from poor judgment by striving to attain the big picture when careful consideration is called for.

Focus on the consequences of your decision before considering how you feel about it.

Play with the cards you’ve been dealt, but look for opportunities in each situation and you will find them.

Ask knowledgeable mentors for advice, but beware of biased people who have an opinion, but do not necessarily have your best interest in mind.

Yet remember, true big picture thinking comes from hard-won experience. Legendary military commanders Napoleon Bonaparte and Mikhail Kutuzov were both injured on the battlefield.

Clear thinking comes from putting your big picture to the test of reality.

More Tips on Thinking Clearly

Featured photo credit: Haneen Krimly via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Wikipedia: French invasion of Russia
[2] Brian Tracy: No Excuses!: The Power of Self-Discipline
[3] American Academy of Dermatology: Say Yes to Sun Protection
[4] Harvard Medical School: Do multivitamins make you healthier?

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