Your hidden brain, when it comes to exercise, is processing hormones and chemicals.
Unbeknownst to our conscious mind, some of these hormones and chemicals are wonderful, while others are harmful.
For example, adrenaline, which gets excreted when you increase your heart rate, can be exhilarating and energizing.
But if your body already has too much of it, exercising can be dangerous, or not feel good at all.
Many people don’t exercise because it doesn’t feel right.
And as it turns out, this may be a good thing. The last thing you need, if you are already busy and overwhelmed, is more stress!
Unfortunately, exercise is essential to your mental and physical health.
The pressure is on: People say that you should build muscle and bone density. You should strengthen your heart. It would be best if you trim your thighs. It would be best if you went more to yoga. More stretching, more tightening, more endurance, and the list goes on.
Thinking we should do all that creates quite a problem: if it doesn’t feel right to exercise, and it could hurt us, how do we exercise in a way that works?
The answer to this question is to address the unseen parts of our brain,
which are processing hormones and chemicals, versus the conscious part of our brain, which is just telling us what we should be doing.
To address your hidden brain, you have to exercise in a way that feels good. You have to throw the “no pain, no gain” model out for the time being, because that method would lead you to excrete too much adrenaline.
When you are too stressed already, aerobic or strenuous exercise can put you over the edge with chemicals and hormones that will feel too uncomfortable. So you have to listen very carefully to your body to keep exercise enjoyable and feeling good, even if the means sitting in a chair and stretching your neck.
The way to manage your body’s natural aversion to more adrenaline, alongside your mind’s ability to recognize that you should exercise,
is to address your hidden brain’s adverse reaction to being more stressed out and keep exercise un-stressful.
Here are some questions to ask yourself, to tune into your feelings, while on a walk, or doing weights or stretching, or any other form of movement to put yourself before your “shoulds.”
- Does my heart feel good? Is it beating too fast?
- Do my lungs feel good? Am I too, breathless?
- Do my muscles feel good? Are they burning too much?
- Do my emotions feel good? Am I getting endorphins or adrenaline?
- Does my mind feel good? Am I putting too much pressure on myself?
By listening to your body, your thoughts, and your feelings, you can enter into the world of “exercise” in a way that is luxurious and feels good,
rather than be punitive, demanding, and, therefore, physically dangerous.
If your stress levels are very high, you may have to address your hidden brain by switching from a model of “exercise” to a model of “bodywork.”
Body-work is also body-focused, but without the stress of exercise. Here are some examples of bodywork:
- Giving yourself a foot rub.
- Standing up and reaching your arms up for a quick stretch.
- Taking a hot shower and touching your toes under the water.
- Lubricating your joints with Omega-3 or CBD creams or
- Getting a massage.
As long as you can tell yourself you are progressing in doing some bodywork;
you can build the strength, endurance, and sufficient relaxation in your body to advance to a more significant movement and even exercise. You are telling your unseen brain, “I will take care of you.” ” And you are connecting to yourself physically in a comforting way, and that will help you de-stress.
Eventually, with the right mindset that pays close attention to what you are feeling rather than an external standard, you will find surges in your energy. This mindset is guaranteed when your bodywork is truly attuned.
Now, being able to read your body’s signals is not always cut and dry. You may not be clear on what feels right and switch to pushing yourself, which will be stressful and could result in failure. So if you’re struggling to stay attuned to yourself, that’s normal. Sometimes, it takes time and exceptional attention to get to know yourself, especially to stay attuned to your hidden brain.
Personally, exploring and investigating consciousness is what I find fascinating. After all my years of training and doing the work, I enjoy getting to know myself from a new angle, probably because of the faith that I have developed from having so many good experiences as a result of taking the time to process and think about what my mind is doing.
To me, life is much more enjoyable when you can stop solving and start evolving. It is so fulfilling and exciting to slowly inch your way towards figuring out not only what feels good physically, but what stands in the way of it. The relentless “shoulds.” Bad feelings about yourself. Self-denial. Prohibitions against being attuned to your body. Unresolved experiences. All of it.
And then, one morning, if you keep working at it, you wake up to something new. To be able to tolerate giving yourself a unique gift.
That will be the day that all your uncertainty and doubt and cringing at the thought of feeling good will finally pay off — the day that your exercise program will be indeed yours:
“the best and only program that you’ll ever need.”