The Body Changes The Mind Quicker Than The Mind Can Change The Mind

President Barack Obama, with the family dog Bo, playing football on the South Lawn of the White House May 12, 2009. White House Photo by Pete Souza. This official White House photograph is being made available for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photograph. The photograph may not be manipulated or used in materials, advertisements, products, or promotions that in any way suggest approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House.

The body changes the mind more than the mind can change the mind. — Tony Robbins

If you need an a change of mindset. Nothing beats movement:

Tony Robbins uses cryotherapy.

Barack Obama lifts weights every morning.

Friedrich Nietzsche walked up mountains.

Thoreau walked through the woods for hours every day.

Jesus walked and walked.

Gordon Ramsay does an ultra-marathon or two.

Santa climbs up and down chimney after long flights.

Health is a concern not only of the health conscious but of all of the population. It is well known by researchers and academics that health is actually the thing we think about most. It’s top of the list. Next to health is finance, love, meaning, and surprisingly (or not) communication. Whether we admit it or not, we care about our health.

But this isn’t the point I am trying to make. We can approach health in a different way, which, subconsciously, is the way we think about it anyway. The truth is that your body is nowhere near as important as the state of your mind.

There is an overemphasis on the power of our minds. We think we have control over our thoughts. We think we have the willpower to think things through. We think we can overcome demons and low motivation by sitting with it or thinking it through. And yes, we can! But it’s infinitely harder when we’re going through what Zig Ziglar used to call “stinkin thinkin”. If we are feeling down, stressed, mentally burned out our overwhelmed. All the thinking in the world will not match the physical, chemical changes in the body that come from physical movement.

The great Zig Ziglar.

Have you ever came back from a run feeling ecstatic? gone for a swim and afterwards felt on top of the world? hit the weights and came home with a big cheesy grin on your face?If yes, then you know the feeling I am referring to. There are many explanations for this but the one for dummies, which is the one that I prefer, is the effect of endorphins. When we move our bodies our internal chemistry changes, which almost instantly changes our mindset.

You could spend literally hours and hours thinking yourself better or trying to meditate out of a hole, but if you want a quick fix, nothing beats a few sprints, a walk in the woods or a game of frisbee. In fact, even though these are quick fixes, the benefits like to hang about in our minds for a sustained period of time.

I am a proponent of meditation — be it in sitting form, walking mediation, or staring at the stars — but when a strong change in psyche is needed, meditation, I think, isn’t really the best way to go about it.


Imagine a time in the future when you’re extremely stressed out, angry, overwhelmed, when emotions are high. Now imagine trying to make yourself happier by meditating with those feelings, or, worse, thinking hard about why you feel this way. Unless you’re a practiced meditator you’ll likely wind up even more frustrated. Now imagine going for a run around the park for twenty minutes — or a walk through the woods — or a couple of sprints up and down the field. Imagine how you’d feel after.

Here’s a few examples from my own life:

  • A football match, or kickabout with friends or family.
  • A slow walk through in the woods or around the local park.
  • A hard weight training session in the gym.
  • 3-5 intense sprints on a stationary bike.
  • A few laps around the park at a moderate jogging speed.
  • Breathing exercises. Check out Wim “The IceMan” Hof’s breathing rituals. They’re amazing.
  • A 1 minute freezing cold shower.
  • Walking, cycling or singing in the rain. Even better, in a storm.
  • Contracting each muscle one by one, for 20 seconds each time.

Personally, exercise has always been fundamental — from football to martial arts to swimming to running. Though I like to vary things up, there is one mainstay: 4-5 weith training sessions a week. These workouts are usually consist of heavy weights, low reps, and a strong concentration on form and tension. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson calls his workout his “Anchor”.

What is your favourite form of activity? How do you clear the fog? What do you do when you’re overwhelmed, anxious, over stimulated? I’d love to hear.

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