Dailing Out - Downtime For Your Brain


Do you need to be 100% positive about every session ? When does the #smacktalk become self-defeating ?

For the past 12 months I've been struggling to answer these questions. I find it hard enough being 100% positive about waking up in the morning let alone being upbeat and positive and bringing my "A-Game" to every single session. Quite frankly, with everything else that goes on in a normal age-group / weekend warrior / participant extraordinaire's weekly life, being "On" for 15 plus sessions a week is just plain exhausting.

And don't start me with the #smacktalk crowd that want to post about how they are smashing each session and meeting all of their goals. (If that were true, maybe the goals have been set too low ? )

But something more than this has been niggling at me. I've wondered whether this current trend of Insta/Facing every single session is healthy with a zillion positive affirmations from #reachinggoals to #roadtosomewhereoranother. I'm not a psychologist but I've been exposed to enough psychological reports about others and attended enough neuro-science seminars to understand that the brain is a delicate and wonderfully complicated thing. We are simply not wired to be 100% happy all of the time. 

In week 4 of my programs I write a weekly email reminding athletes to switch off and find the way of the peaceful warrior. A state of satori. Where because the brain is at peace, you can actually achieve better performance outcomes. 

Downtime - It's Science

Recently I stumbled across an article about ultra trail running and it seems that eastern philosophies now have found resonance with western science and it has certainly resonated with me and articulates clearly what I think our sport / hobby should be. (I would credit the source but it was from a newspaper that was torn out and given to me). This from Associate Professor in Exercise Physiology at QUT Gene Moyle;

"Running and the ability to be alone with your thoughts and let your brain just process and be in the present moment is actually really helpful.

These periods of downtime are increasingly rare in a world dominated by smartphones and screens; where we are busy photographing and posting the moment rather than being in it. It is important to build time for reflection into your day. (Exercising) does that beautifully. Our brains are literally just overloaded and what people are noticing is that they have more difficulty concentrating or remembering things because they're not allowing their brains to be still, so to speak.

Research is increasingly showing the benefits, both cognitive and emotional, of allowing the brain time to freewheel. That's why I think people often refer to (exercising) from a meditive perspective.

It can also be a source of unbelievable solace."

Bang on I say !