First Posted: 10/28/2008 3:28:20 PM | Last Updated: 10/28/2008 3:28:20 PM
Negativity sells. It must, as that’s all we ever see when we open the paper or turn on the news.
• ‘Dow Falls Below 10,000’
• ‘Gloves Come Off on the Campaign Trail’
• ‘US Bank Failures Almost Certain to Increase Next Year’
• ‘Are You Going Down with the Gloom and Doom?’
Yes, my headline is negative too. But in my defense, I understand negativity sells better than positive headlines (unfortunately), and I wanted to compel you to read the positive steps we can take during challenging times.
Yes, economically we’re in a challenging spot, yes politics can be an ugly game, but come on, all this negativity is to the brain like a steady dose of Big Macs is to the heart – very destructive! Seriously, how depressing is it to begin your day with these thoughts, images and perceptions?
It’s Time We Take Control…
Why not focus on the fact that we have a tremendous economic system and it always has, and always will, rebound. We’ve had significant affluent times in the past and will experience tremendous growth again in the future. The market will rebound, as will housing and banking. And, we will learn valuable lessons from our current challenges to allow us to gain the wisdom to prevent similar challenges. We always do.
In the meantime, here’s what we can do to stay mentally, emotionally and physically strong and fit:
1. Begin your day with positive thoughts, words and mental images. I know, some people may say this is hogwash, but all of the successful people I know feed their brains with positive information or affirmations each day. Simply establishing and visualizing your goals is a positive influx to your brain. Reading something inspirational works equally as does listening to a motivational or educational book on tape during your commute. Feed your mind the positive; guard your mind against negative thoughts as if you were protecting your house from a robber. Both can take everything you have.
2. Focus on making better nutrition choices. What we eat directly impacts our energy, emotions and mental outlook. Low-fat proteins, wholegrain carbs, and fruits and veggies optimally fuel our body and mind.
3. Get regular exercise. Well over 100 studies have reviewed the relationship between exercise and mental state. An article titled “The Influence of Exercise on Mental Health,” published in the Sports Research Digest suggested that exercise decreases depression more than relaxation training or casual recreation, both regularly accepted treatments for depression, and suggests that exercise rivals that of psychotherapy. Regular exercise stimulates the “feel-good” brain chemicals of serotonin and dopamine while keeping the stress hormone cortisol in balance.
On the contrary, if you don't feel “good,” everything feels more difficult. Getting your workout in, eating healthy foods, or going for a walk or jog feel as if they are overwhelming tasks when you’re not “up.” These are those moments where you just have to pick yourself up by your bootstraps and just do it. Shortly thereafter, the good feelings kick in.
Now more than ever, it’s time we take control over how we feel. We can’t control our politicians, our economy, the stock market or the price of gasoline. However, we always determine what we focus on in any moment in time. Focus on what you want, feed your mind with positives, strive for healthy nutrition and be consistent with your exercise. You’ll feel mentally, emotionally and physically strong, confident and empowered to conquer any challenge that may come your way.
Brian Calkins, personal trainer, is the owner of HealthStyle Fitness, a private fitness studio in Cincinnati. Awarded as one of America’s Top 50 Personal Trainers, Calkins and his staff specialize in individual, small-group and boot camp programs, helping Cincinnatians lose weight and get fit. More information is available at www.briancalkins.com. You can reach Brian via e-mail at fitness@CinciPulse.com.