5 in 5 for Mind – Challenge Update.

A couple of weeks ago I received the news that the Milton Keynes marathon was being postponed from the beginning of May to the end of June.  Normally this news wouldn’t have been too much of a problem, but the MK marathon is the start of my 5 in 5 for Mind challenge, so I had to decide whether to postpone the whole thing or not.

While I was a little disappointed, my general feeling was that it was good news because it would give me that bit more time to prepare, so I decided to delay my challenge in line with the new date for the MK marathon.

The new start date for the #5in5forMind challenge is Sunday 27th June 2021.

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Exercise for Better Mental Health.

With my 5 in 5 marathon challenge, I’m encouraging all of you to get out and exercise as a way of improving your mental wellbeing.  We all know about the benefits of exercise to our physical health, but less is known, or understood about how exercise helps our mood, and how it can aid with managing anxiety and depression.

It’s not as straight forward as saying ‘exercise and you’ll feel better’, because sometimes it feels just the opposite.  Exercise takes effort, motivation and dedication; you can be easily motivated at the start, but as it gets harder, or winter arrives, the gloss can soon loose it’s shine.

You don’t have to struggle with a mental health disability to understand that it can be hard to motivate yourself to exercise.  Most people lead such busy lives that they don’t feel they have time to exercise, and often feel too tired when they do have time. 

It can also contribute more stress, especially if you are not confident about your ability and how you look physically.  Just one glimpse inside a gym or a quick search of social media can make you feel inferior and self-conscious.

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#5in5forMind Update – The Psychology of Endurance Running.

My decision to run 5 marathons in five consecutive days, has a touch of the bonkers about it, and I’m the first to admit it does; I sometimes stop and ask myself ‘what the hell am I thinking?’ 

I can comfortably run a half marathon, but the thought of doing twice that distance in one go still feels daunting.

The initial concerns were mainly physical; thinking about eating properly, and recovery between runs (which I think will include the dreaded ice bath)!  However, there is also going to be a psychological side to this challenge, which will need equal consideration.

The other week, I was lucky enough to be connected to the Sports Science team at the University of Hertfordshire (by Juanita Prescott from Stevenage Leisure Limited), and I had a great chat about the psychology of endurance challenges with Stephen Pack, who is a HCPC Registered Sport and Exercise Psychologist.

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Anxiety & The Brain, Part 10: Neurotransmitters.

Have you ever wondered what controls our mood?  What makes us feel happy, sad, or afraid?

The answer is chemical messengers called NEUROTRANSMITTERS; they are key players in helping to understand anxiety, and the physical reactions associated with it.

As we learnt in my blog Anxiety & The Brain, Part 5, the brain is made up of millions of neurons, and it’s these neurons that release the neurotransmitters in a process called FIRING.  There Are different types of neurotransmitter, and the ones that get released depends on the information received from our senses, and the emotion that our brain associates with that information.

Firstly, we need to look at the different types of neurotransmitter, and the effect each one has on our body and mind.

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Plans, Hopes and Dreams for 2021.

As I mentioned in my last blog, I am going to try and enter 2021 with an air of optimism, and that means focusing on things that I can have some semblance of control over.  A lot of my plans will still be pandemic allowing, but as with this year, it’s about being adaptable so that I can keep trying to move forward.

Despite all the stress and the upheaval of moving to a new house this year, I managed to set the groundwork for things that I can take into the new year, and hopefully grow and develop them.

One thing I am really excited about is The Phoenix Enterprise Program, which is being run by Helen Roberts and Ray Lavery, with the support of Richmond Council; the program runs for a year, and is helping businesses and start-ups (that are either located in, or do business in the borough of Richmond Upon Thames) to grow; and I can’t wait to be part of it.

So, here’s what I’m taking into 2021 and how I want to develop them; I’ve also added some CAN YOU HELP? sections for areas that I basically need help with…..

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