Feet on floor - out the door!

By Heather Hamilton, PhD. ©2022BreakThrough!


One of the mantra’s of Team BreakThrough! is: “Feet on floor – out the door!” When we want to change how we think, or replace old habits for new ones, sometimes we have to use whatever it takes to overcome inertia or the mindset of “slumps” and “dumps”.  Behaviors such as procrastination, avoidance, denial and others are common to the “slumps”. The “dumps” happen when we let slumps affect how we think and feel about ourselves. In time if we don’t act, “slumps” and “dumps” become interconnected in a self-defeating cycle.

The “slumps” have their origins in the hypothalamus and more specifically the stimulation of L-dopa the precursor to Dopamine. Dopamine is the neuro enabling transmitter that helps gets us motivated and actually moving. Low levels of dopamine activity are common to depression, anxiety and a host of other mental health disorders. While there’s an inherited genetic component, we can do a lot to increase our levels of dopamine, which in turn stimulates activity across other key brain areas.

It takes approximately 30 days for the hippocampus to establish new neural pathways for learned behavior. This science supports wisdom that’s been around since the dawn of time. It takes approximately a month of committed action to establish a new cognitive and behavioral habit patterns. When we push through our slumps, a funny thing happens in the brain. L-dopa activity increases and we begin to look forward to getting up and getting moving. In the place of dread, is new found anticipation. Some people start with just a walk, others head to a nearby gym, cycling path, or lake. It doesn’t really matter what we do as long as we think we’ll enjoy it. We can’t fool our brain. Find activities you enjoy to get the most benefit from increasing Dopamine activity.

When we push through “Feet on floor; out the door!” we’re improving physical health, cognitive functioning, and our sense of well-being. There’s a newfound sense of efficacy and satisfaction, when we appreciate ourselves for taking care of our mind and body. When we engage in activities directed at self-care we start feeling like we belong to ourselves. Instead of self-criticism or loathing we recover from the “dumps” with the certainty that we’re doing okay. We’re enough as we are, and we’re simply working on making new goal-oriented choices.

We hope you have enjoyed this article from The BreakThrough! Program.

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