Finding what works

My approach to my own mental health hasn’t always been scientific. As much as I enjoy science, I have the attention span of a red setter (along with the madness) and that causes all sorts of problems. However since finding tools that have worked for me I have improved my concentration levels. I don’t stare off into the distance in Tom World quite as often anymore. Yesterday morning I managed to get out for a run, which is always an achievement when your spirit animal is a sloth. Despite not meditating recently I have found that exercise has become my regular practice. It makes sense really because you have to focus on your breath as well as what your body is doing. In the end it’s a meditation of sorts that tunes you into your body and out of your mind. Over the last few weeks I have returned to regular weight training along with a gradual improvement in my diet. The key to success with the latter is always to have food on me, so that I don’t reach for the quick and easy option of unhealthy food. Who would’ve thought that having your shit together and eating a balanced diet can help! But that is a story for another post. The weight training has been an extremely helpful tool for relieving stress and balancing out the old hormones. By this I mean that lifting for a man has an impact on his testosterone levels. Although the amount and duration may vary for each person post exercise, it is still an increase. Now I’m sure a good percentage of how I have been feeling lately isn’t just because I started throwing a few weights around in the gym. I’m not naive enough to believe my own bullshit, so I hope you won’t either. I’m pretty sure that having a two week holiday where I could rest, eat and train has kickstarted this good feeling in my head. I also believe (there I said it) that there will be a good amount of placebo effect going on; where I’m expecting to feel better because I’m lifting and as a result I do feel better. But what I say to that is whatever works! I’ve learnt my brain enough now to tell it that the answer doesn’t need to be known. When something works it works. That’s not very scientific at all, but as I said before I’m a hyperactive red setter and I’ve just heard a noise two miles away that’s scared me... Moving on from the weights I can tell you that an enjoyable cycle ride with a mate is also great for the body and mind. I truly believe that men don’t have a good rant, or a fight or hunt anything (except their next Tinder hookup) anymore. So we are like ticking time bombs. This morning I had a casual cycle around Centennial Park with my friend Fred and we chewed the fat. We talked about fitness, work and a few other things and I left feeling great (I just hope Fred did too!) You see that’s the simple thing with mental health, sometimes you just need to have a good rant and get it out. In turn you need to let the other person rave too, but it works. It doesn’t fix anything in reality, that thing you are pissed about will still be there, but at least it’s not eating you up inside. The other bonus to this cycle chat session is that you don’t have to go and have a fight and no animal (nor person) gets killed. Right-O I’m off to work. Until the next post, stay sane and breathe. Tom