Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Exercise, Meditation and Brains

I've been wondering about this thing that we do; it's not just me, because I've heard others describe basically the same thing, so I'm going to go with it being universal. If it doesn't affect you at all then please say so. In my case, it applies most clearly to meditation and exercise, but other things too. Things that I like doing, even.

Both meditation and exercise make me feel better. I went to the gym this morning, worked hard, and feel better than before I worked out. Both things are work, though, or perceived as hard. As a result, I don't want to do them. Right up until the moment when I see myself as starting them, I'm looking for reasons not to do them. Despite the fact that I know I will feel better for doing them.

I want to crush this aversion (then bottle and sell the crushing formula for a gazillion moneys). So far, the best I can do is strategize to mitigate the effects, which is little more than hacking, and not a real solution. The  strategies I use most are:

* Trick my brain into starting before it knows what's going on. This only works about once a day, if I get up and am halfway to the gym before I have quite woken up.

* Trick my brain into perceiving the start time as sooner. The moment I start getting my gym kit, or touch my meditation stool, then I have started. I haven't quite managed to extend that forward.

I suspect there's some neat bit of neurological cruft left over from our evolution that doesn't reward deferred benefit adequately, so I have also been crudely trying to hack my brain while I'm at the gym: moving some heavy thing around is hard, but I am trying to concentrate on the good feeling in muscles immediately afterwards.

Perhaps I should also spend more time 'miring my guns.

(There was some good commentary on the original Google+ post.)