aka Newton, Modernity, and When To Shut The Lights Off
Overcoming what I call “sedentary depression” is THE biggest challenge facing anyone trying to become an active mover. Volumes of research link the modern workplace, digital device addiction, and lack of exercise to the epidemic of clinical depression found in every developed country, most acutely here in the good old USA.
We’re #1! At Not Moving At All!
People look to exercise as a way to combat this, thinking, rightly, that part of their problem is physical. But that’s where the trouble starts. While it’s true that regular exercise boosts production of serotonin (our body’s main “feel good drug”), simply going for a walk or doing some pushups when you’re down can’t overcome years, sometimes decades of suppressed neurotransmitter levels conditioned into us by modern living. That’s where many clients fall off. When exercise doesn’t seem to “fix” their depression they say to hell with it and go back to their familiar patterns, which were the problem all along.
But it doesn’t work like that. To quote Newton, “A body at rest will remain at rest unless an outside force acts on it, and a body in motion…will remain in motion…unless acted upon by an outside force.” What are some of the “outside forces” that act against us? What depletes our momentum, undercutting our efforts to become “bodies in motion?” Our phones? Our jobs? The damn office chairs? MODERNITY ITSELF?! Once you get to that point resistance seems futile, doesn’t it?
This is the trap I see new clients set for themselves all the time. They start with “I want to change myself” and end up at “Society is setting me up to fail. I’m not strong enough to change the world!” It’s true, you’re not. So forget about The World. What’s in YOUR WORLD that could change, right now? If we’re being honest we know we surround ourselves, intentionally and unintentionally, with all kinds of little “outside forces” that add up, sabotaging our best efforts to change and grow. What are YOURS? Do you even know? Here’s a few you may recognize, and a few others I bet you’ve never, ever thought about:
Be honest, do you…
Keep a laptop or device in your room that’s just for consuming content? Get it out.
Have a stockpile of snacks to comfort you when you get depressed? Toss ‘em.
“Unplug” from work, or are you always connected? You don’t have to be.
Look at artificial light until the moment you go to bed? Cut back.
Clench your brow when you’re “trying to think?” It doesn’t help.
Ever just, you know, do nothing for a few minutes? It’s called meditation.
Ever breathe through your nose on purpose? Try it.
Have any friends that like going outside? Get one.
Sit/stand/sleep in hunched postures? Stop it.
Drink any water at all? Start.
You may have noticed not one of these has to do with exercise, and yet they all do. They’re just a sample of the countless “outside forces” of modern living that so many of us are conditioned to that culminate in sedentary depression. Changing just one may be the thing that takes the edge off, preserving enough motivation to get you to your walk/pushups/movement, which will motivate you to keep changing, which will…you get the idea.
“Bodies in motion tend to stay in motion.”