Tweak your brain chemistry toward happiness, purpose, meaning | Jillian Michaels


There is a definite connection between the
physical laws of inertia, a body in motion tends to stay in motion and the psychological
components of inertia it’s like when we become sedentary it’s very difficult to begin moving
again and to become motivated once more. And it’s not just emotional, it’s also physiological. Depression and feeling sedentary and feeling
down and engaging once again in being hopeful, because essentially that’s what motivation
does require, can become a bit like a spider web. So in The Six Keys one of the major pathways
we need to travel down is comprehending the connection between the state of our mind and
how it very tangibly affects our bodies. When you look at something like depression
or sadness or tragedy that kind of emotional stress we see that it literally changes our
brain, it shrinks the size of our amygdala, our hippocampus, it shifts the ratios between
gray matter and white matter, it changes our brain chemistry. And what all of these physiological changes
do is essentially gear us to be more impulsive, less emotional regulation, more prone to depression
and these thoughts then, of course, leading to our behaviors, which dictate the outcome
of our reality. So, as I mentioned it’s a bit of a black hole
so to speak so how do we turn it around? And it has to be something in my opinion that
is fought on a myriad of fronts. First and foremost we need to establish a
why, so we’re going to look at the actual psychology of motivation. I believe it was Nietzsche who said, “If you
have a why to live for you can tolerate the how.” Because anything worth having, be in a healthy
marriage, a thriving career, a healthy body, is going to require work and sacrifice. But work with purpose is passion; work without
purpose is punishing and a lot of us already feel very punished by the rigors of our daily
lives. So forming a very concrete goal, not just
health, what does that even mean? How do you emotionally connect to being healthy? Somebody says well don’t have that pizza tonight
and don’t watch How to Make a Murderer season two and you’ll be healthy like that’s not
sexy. However, if it was hey you know what, give
me 20 minutes in your living room with a quick exercise routine and get the sauce on the
XY or Z meal you just ordered on the side, forgo the soda, get water instead and you’re
going to fit into those skinny jeans, have sex with the lights on with confidence, although
I think that’s greatly overrated, it’s light at least 12 hours out of your day so why not
open up your options? I mean walk your daughter down the aisle or
look good in your wedding dress or meet your great, great grandchildren, watch humans land
on Mars. I don’t care what your reason is. It doesn’t matter how profound it is, it doesn’t
matter how superficial it is, but it has to move you and you have to care because that’s
what makes that work in order to achieve it more manageable and turns it into passion
versus punishment. At the same time how do we make this concept
neural plasticity work for us instead of against us? How do we change our brain chemistry and the
shape and size of various parts of our brain so that we’re more prone to positivity and
hopefulness as opposed to nihilism? Well, things like meditation, these mind-body
interventions, and for the longest time I was like I live in L.A. like I can’t hear
this one more time. You know what’s going to stress me out? Wasting five minutes chanting in my car on
my lunch hour when I have stuff to do. But the evidence is overwhelming and we see
that five minutes even of meditation, I don’t care when you get it in if it’s in the morning,
if it’s at night, if it’s in your lunch hour even if you suck at it, download an app, be
consistent with it and over time we see that it helps to shift the physiology of our brain
so we are more geared towards happiness, purpose and meaning. And in fact when we look at it holistically,
in conjunction with that ball getting rolling so now maybe you’ve got just enough motivation
to take that first step and you’re moving. So the first step at the gym, the first one
is always the hardest because now that body in motion stays in motion, now you’re motivated
to a certain extent, you’re starting to see results. The fears and concerns with breaking out of
that comfort zone have abated because you already went and you did it. Maybe you’re uncomfortable at the gym, you’re
done with feeling uncomfortable at the gym you survived it; you’re ready to go back tomorrow;
the world is not going to end. You’re eating a little bit healthier and all
of those micronutrients are gearing your brain chemistry for the better and not the worst. So each and every step in the right direction
is what begets more success. So it’s a holistic and a cumulative approach
that’s going to yield those positive results. And then of course, once you’re emotionally
and physically in motion it’s much easier to stay in motion.

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