Wednesday, January 26

Chemical Cycles, Depression, Anxiety, Temptation...

I can always tell when I'm slipping in my writing skills - the follower count goes readily down as people realize they don't want to see me in their feed reader anymore. Hopefully with time I'll get better.

This morning I woke up and felt like life was awesome. Within an hour I felt like the world was going to fall in on me. Two hours later, I was on top of the world again, and then another hour and I wanted time just to go away. The next 4 hours were awesome, then followed by the worst low of the day yet, followed an hour later by the greatest high - right now.

What is interesting is how incredibly reactive the pattern seems to be, based on outside forces and their impact on hormones & chemicals throughout the day.

At first I felt awesome, in part, because I was planning to see some friends and exercise this morning. The plans fell through, and I found myself with way too much adrenaline, high hopes, and a high sugar level, and nothing to use it up, which contributed to the subsequent down. The down went away as I began concentrating on a major project early in the day, and two hours later I had hit completion and had instant positive feedback. Then an hour later I felt like I again had too much energy to spare, so I dove into another project, and that one lasted until late in the day. I has major plans for tonight that fell through at the last minute, and I found myself, shortly after dinner, with another adrenaline high, loaded with tons of energy, high hopes, no social life, and no backup plans. So I went to the gym and killed myself, called a friend to talk, and now I feel amazing.

I know that my brain doesn't always follow cycles, but I was cognizant of them today. And since anxiety, depression, and temptation are often based in real, actual, tangible, physical feelings, at least in my case, and the physical body and mind regulate through positive and negative chemical feedback loops... It stands to reason that their results - physical feelings, whether good or bad - are regulated somewhat by those same chemical interactions.

Some of you will probably say, "Duh!" - I mean, if it affects one part of your body, it will affect every part of your body, since it is a complex, synergistic system that has feedback loops going all over the place. And, in extreme cases, we intervene with the cycles with pain medication and antidepressants. But I've never stopped to think about how all of my actions are influences on my feelings, including my feelings of temptation and depression. I think it would be a massive jump to say that self-induced chemical responses could completely control feelings, but looking back at today and the rest of my life, the concept seems way too applicable to be untrue.

On the days that I exercise, pheromones flood my bloodstream, helping to life the veil of depression ever so slightly. At the same time, it frees up energy and unless I find a mental pursuit, temptation strikes. Eating throughout the day moderates sugar highs and the lows that follow, and eating healthily motivates me to do more physical activity. When my mind is focused on a compelling idea, temptation completely disappears. And when I am completely and totally engulfed in physical and mental training - like a physical/mental boot camp I once did - temptations may appear but they don't take root unless I give them time during the wind-down at the end of the day.

That thought puts an even greater emphasis on the importance of doing the little things to better life. Taking time to exercise. Eating healthily, always, without exception - to give my body the best nutrition in the form it needs. Engaging my spirit and mind through scripture study, prayer, meditation, and compelling mental challenges. And interacting socially, even if it means going out of my comfort zone, getting outside, calling a family member or looking up an old friend.

It may not make a huge difference in my life, but I think I am going to try to regulate some of the more apparent cycles in my life... and see how they impact living with my trials. I guess that's one reason to remember to eat breakfast tomorrow.

1 comment:

  1. If this was a facebook post I'd hit the 'Like' button!

    Keep on that trail of thought... you'll find very helpful. In fact, Heavenly Father wants us to be aware of our bodies and to take care of them.

    So yeah, eat your breakfast! ;)


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