Fitness and Mindset Habits to Balance the Depression-Anxiety Spectrum | Alli Covington
Health Is Energy Management
Ep. 21 - Fitness and Mindset Habits to Balance the Depression-Anxiety Spectrum ft. @allicovington
WATCH --> https://youtu.be/DVRxCWTVdmU
LISTEN --> https://open.spotify.com/show/4FUqTAFwMmXNORnRUg2CPu
READ --> www.bradleywerrell.com/blog-posts/alli
ON THIS EPISODE:
- Alli and I discuss her unique contributions to the fitness industry
- why Anxiety and Depression are a spectrum (and what fitness habits can be used to treat both)
- Learning to listen to your body's bioenergetic messages to you
ABOUT ALLI COVINGTON
Alli is an entrepreneur and fitness trainer who created BODCompany.com - her work is being used by personal trainers and their clients to get in the best shape of their lives.
Health is Energy Management
Depression and anxiety are "mental health disorders" effecting millions of Americans.
And everyone is using the wrong mental models to understand them.
The new model? Health is energy management.
Energy is a rather nebulous term, so I'll define it using the physics definition: "The capacity for doing work that may exist in potential, kinetic, thermal, electrical, chemical, nuclear, or other various forms"
Our nervous system operates on electrical signals. It manages the energy that animates our body. There is no "woo-woo" nonsense in my use of "energy." This is a scientifically understood function.
Moods and emotions are signals from the body. A stimuli enters the sensory field of your nervous system.
The data is interpreted. A response is made by our nervous system. Ex: Somebody startles you and you jump back as your heart rate increases.
If somebody scares you, the parts of the brain that generate a response are out of your conscious control. But this same principle applies to every kind of stimuli. Emotions are another form of nervous system response. We've been told depression and anxiety are "chemical imbalances" without much further explanation. "Chemical imbalances" do not happen that frequently in human beings without a cause. There is always a stimuli producing a response.
Two common types of stimuli that might produce the response of depression are:
- Chronic and unnoticed
- Acute and repressed
"Zoom burnout" is a chronic stimuli. People are sedentary, isolated and overworked. This produces a signal from the body, saying "change your lifestyle, this is not good for you."
If you ignore the body's signal - it will increase in strength. This turns to chronic depression. An acute and repressed response might be a traumatic event (an abuse, a car accident etc.)
If a terrible event happens to you, there are certain things that need to be accepted. ("Bad things can happen to me," "I don't have full control of the world" etc)
If these truths are not accepted, then your fight/flight mechanism will always be on guard - searching for the harmful stimuli. This signal, if left unchecked, will produce an anxiety disorder.
It's generally understood people need time to mourn when loved ones die.
This is social reinforcement of the following: "You need to take time to listen to signals from your body telling you to be sad and accept the truth of death."
People who skip the mourning process will face it in uglier ways later on. We must apply this understanding to all things.
Time, silence, and self-knowledge will allow many things to be processed fully.
However, instead of mourning, most people will repress signals until they turn into chronic conditions.
At this point, their neurotransmitters and hormones are blown out of their homeostatic norms and they're told they have a "serotonin problem" and need an SSRI. Wrong.
They need to listen to the signals from their body and act accordingly.
Suppressing signals until they develop chronic conditions creates a new issue: Ego-Identification.
People often identify with their problems.
"My chronic pain"
"I suffer from diabetes"
"I am depressed/anxious"
This would be like putting your hand on a hot stove, leaving it there, and saying "I am a burn victim." It's like this... Take your hand off the damn stove!
In this way, depression and anxiety are in the same spectrum of "mood signals." These signals indicate one or both:
- Something bad has happened to you that you're not dealing with.
- There are many small problems in your life that are weighing you down
So what can be done?
I've heard bodybuilder Wade Lightheart talk about the formula to an AWESOME day
- Optimal Diet
Make sure you're breathing well, hydrated, moving, and in a clean environment with sunlight and that'll OFTEN be the solution to small problems that add up to depression or anxiety.
Or they'll give you the energy to deal with your BIG problem. Alli speaks about utilizing intense CARDIO to help with mood problems.
Those with anxiety have high energy that needs to be burned off. Those with depression need a burst of energy. Intense cardio will help in both usecases.
The thing I would recommend is to take stock of everything in your life.
Look at everything around you in your environment and in your past and ask "how do I feel about that?"
How do you feel about never exercising?
How do you feel about the way your spouse says passive aggressive things every day?
How do you feel about the time you were abused as a child?
How do you feel about being in lockdown, unable to see your friends?
If you feel bad about something, chances are your body will hold on to that. When you ignore that signal it will get worse. When it gets worse, it becomes depression or anxiety. If you identify with those mood disorders then they will continue to get worse. But you could choose to make changes to your lifestyle, relationships and narrative that will snowball into a happier and healthier you. Choose that.