• Chris Gowen

The Anti-Inertia Mindset

Updated: May 1, 2020

Most of us aren’t immune from falling into in a sad, depressed state of mind from time to time. With everything going on in the world right now it’s even easier to have a gray outlook on life.

It’s human nature to foster worry, fear, and self-doubt. I have never been immune to getting my share of the "blues” during my life. I can also be my own worst critic, and that’s not always a good thing for your mental well being. I can knock myself down far better than anyone else ever could. No one is immune to life’s ebb and flow and no one is happy all of the time, but there are ways we can stack the odds. The key is to find balance and control of your thought life. To quote Atkinson, “Your thoughts are either faithful servants or tyrannical masters – just as you allow them to be. You have the say about it – make your choice."

One of the best ways to improve your mood and gain control of your thought life is through using the chemical process that occurs in the brain during exercise to your advantage.

I implement what I call the “Anti-Inertia,” mind set. This is simply the principle of movement. Movement of your thoughts towards your desired goals and building self confidence, - physical movement for health of the body and mind. You only have to look to nature to see that nothing stagnant grows or prospers. Movement is the key to life.

I strive to be as athletic, strong, and fast, as I possibly can be. That's one of the main core values of my life. I do it is to better myself, and I do it because of what it gives me mentally. It gives me definite goals that I will never obtain, because I’m always striving to get a little better. It provides me with structure and discipline that translates into all parts of my life and instills consistency as rule one. It fights aging, improves my outlook on all aspects of life, improves my self-confidence, and helps me stay on track mentally. I figured out a long time ago that when I wasn’t training, I would get severely depressed and down on myself. When I was training, I felt more regimented and I have a brighter outlook on life. It also helped me develop the, “I can and I will” attitude which gives me the Fortitude to overcome and keep moving forward no matter the setback. There is definite mental therapy gained by pushing your body to it's limits.

Now, I’m not saying that you have to go to extremes, but you have to give attention to your physical well being for your mental health. When I was in the LAPD Academy years ago, I had an instructor that said something that stuck with me. He said “You have to do something for your body every day.” It's as simple as that. It doesn’t have to be a marathon or High Intensity Training Intervals, it can be stretching, or walking around the neighborhood, the key is to get moving.

A lot of people will make excuses of why they don’t do any physical activity at all. Injuries, age, and lack of time always top the list. The answer to all of the listed, and any others you can come up with is just plain laziness. People make excuses because they’re too embarrassed to say, “I’m lazy as hell and have no interest in doing any of this shit.” Anyone who has pushed themselves in any athletic endeavor has had serious setbacks and injuries. These things are character test. You can say "I'm too old, I'm too fat, and I don't want to get hurt." It's all in your mind. You have to figure out what type of person you're going to be from this moment forward. Are you the type of person that finds a way to train around a setback, or the type to surrender to it and stay stagnant? What ever decision you make will have an impact in all aspects of your life. It builds habits and expected behaviors that you will go back to time and time again throughout your life. That’s why it’s so important to overcome any obstacle that comes your way. I use the above as a metaphor for whatever challenges you may be facing in your life. We all hit points in our lives where we have to retrain our minds and our thought process. We all fall off track every now and then. You may have to tactically redeploy and figure out a way to attack it, but you keep moving forward, even if you can only take small steps. This behavior and mindset develops the, “I can and I will,” attitude and will sweep away mighty barriers. Hard work and movement have a tremendous effect on our moods and how we view ourselves, so always keep yourself on an upward trajectory mentally and physically. It's never too late. There's an old saying that says "Start in where you stand." This simply means start now, don't procrastinate. I love this quote from Edmond Burke for a variety of reasons and it 's on point with the message I want to convey, "Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could only do a little." Bottom line, get in motion.

President of Directional Force

Chris Gowen

Now most people have some knowledge of everything that I’m talking about but some will still have a hard time implementing the Anti-Inertia mindset. Let’s look at what happens in the brain during exercise and how we can use the chemical process to our advantage.

Exercise fights depression in several ways. It induces all kinds of changes in the chemical processes that occur in the brain. Mood altering endorphins, serotonin & BDNF (Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor), is released during exercise, and it is scientifically proven to reduce depression. It also energizes your spirit and has such a tremendous effect on building your self-confidence, and a sense of well being.

A recent study done by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that running for 15 minutes a day or walking for an hour reduces the risk of major depression by 26%. Exercise can treat mild to moderate depression as effectively as antidepressant medication and without the side effects. In addition to relieving depression symptoms it makes you more productive in all aspects of your life. Obviously if your in a depressed state that you can seem to shake you need to seek medical help to possibly treat other mental health concerns.

Anxiety and stress have physical symptoms that go along with the mental effects. Tense muscles, back pain, neck pain, muscle cramps, and headaches just to name a few. They’re linked to several serious illnesses. Exercise can dramatically reduce, and in many cases eliminate anxiety and stress symptoms from your life. If you have a different outlook and mindset you handle normal stressors of life differently. The chemical balance is different in your mind and will have tremendous benefits in ways you can’t imagine. Endorphins are very powerful tools that we can use to our advantage. People who exercise tend to have a sense of well-being and are more energetic. They sleep better and have sharper memories and tend to be more relaxed and happier overall.

Get your mind right and deny Inertia, remember balance is key. Use the changes in brain chemistry and endorphins from exercise to turn the tide of your down moods. Relaunch a new version yourself with unwavering FORTITUDE that will carry you forward to achievements far beyond the investment required. I'm pulling for you so don't let me down.

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