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Workout Wednesday 7.18.18

So recently Jared and I were on a road trip. Road trips are usually pretty great for us in that we get to talk about things we don't normally get around to talking about while we are at home. One thing led to another and we were discussing something we learned. He gave his reaction to it, I gave mine. Suddenly, I realized "man, that was a really negative and pessimistic response from me." 

That might not be a big deal to many of you reading this. But it's a big deal to me. I'm usually annoyingly optimistic. But the events in our personal lives over the last few months seem to have taken it's toll on my mental health. The only reason I am aware of it is because Jared's called me out on it.

I think many times in life we can have seasons where things don't go "right." While we still get in our workouts and try to succeed in our personal endeavors, sometimes we can neglect mental health.

I read a study back when I was a biochemistry major at Texas A&M and it talked about how trauma and negative thoughts in the brain affect the physical nature of the neuron. Negative thoughts make the neuron look like a black, dead tree. That one neuron then creates certain chemicals to communicate with it's neighbors. Those surrounding neurons then also take on that dead tree shape. But a normal, healthy neuron looks like a healthy tree. And that neuron gives off certain chemicals that make the neurons around it also look like healthy trees. 

What I learned from that study is that you get in what you put out not only physically, but mentally. If you keep feeding negative thoughts into your brain, you are only going to get more dead tree neurons. If you keep feeding positive thoughts, you will get more healthy and positive neurons in your brain. This particular study also showed the direct impact the structure of the neurons had on mental health overall. 

So to help combat this "new-ish" tendency of mine to put negative thoughts in my brain, I've been using an app that I really have come to appreciate. It's called Pacifica (and no, I am not sponsored by them!).

It allows you to check in on the app with how you are feeling on a scale of "Great" to "Awful." Then, you can add feelings. So right now I'm going to put "calm, tired, grateful and overwhelmed." Then you can add why you are feeling this way.

Then based on your feelings, it gives different things you can do to help combat the things you are feeling right now. For example, it's now suggesting that I spend some time with family, complete a daily goal or add an uplifting picture or quote to my hope board.

Other features include some podcasts on mental health, quotes on your discovery feed, a community forum, meditations (both guided and unguided). It also shows your history of your feelings for a week so you can see how you did from day to day. Then they have a page where they show you skills that help cope with negative thoughts like meditations, goals, health and thoughts. 

Then the most impressive feature I've seen? If you are seriously in need of a therapist, Pacifica is a tool they can use to assign you things to work on in between sessions and they can see how you are doing during the week. I find this awesome. When I went to counseling, I felt like half my session was just filling my therapist in on what happened during the week. With this, I feel like they can be more caught up and can hone in on the important things to talk about. 

So as you are going about your workouts, I hope you get all the gains and reach your physical goals. But please, don't forget about your mental health. It can directly affect your personal health if not taken care of!

Workouts this week:

  • Monday: Traveling, road trip home
  • Tuesday: Workout with Dustin
  • Wednesday: Run 3 miles
  • Thursday: Off
  • Friday: Workout with Dustin
  • Saturday: Run 6 miles
  • Sunday: Bike ride with family
Madelyn Egli