Episode #19: Could This Be The Cause Behind Your Lack of Motivation?

June 24, 2019

Show Notes:

Speaker 1: (00:00)
Hey everybody, what's going on in Doctor Chad Woolner here and Dr. Buddy Alan. And this is episode 19 of the Health Fundamentals podcast. And on today's episode, we're going to be talking about a surprising discovery or theory behind your lack of motivation. So let's get started.

Speaker 2: (00:16)
You're listening to the health fundamentals podcast. I'm Dr. Chad Woolner and I'm Dr. Buddy Alan. And this show is about giving you the simple but powerful cutting edge tools you need to change your health and your life. So sit back and enjoy the show as we show you the path to your best life down to a science.

Speaker 1: (00:36)
So, hey everybody, on today's episode we came across something kind of interesting. Uh, there's a new study or uh, I don't want a new theory, I guess, um, that they're looking into and studying as to one potential cause behind lack of motivation. And this is a really important subject because, uh, at the end of the day when we talk about making changes to our health and improvements, that's where it all begins. That's where the rubber hits the road, right? If what's, you know, you were just chatting with the patient the other day, right? Who was struggling with depression. Oh yeah. Is that right? And what was the challenge here? Uh, they, they didn't want to get out and do anything. Right. They, but they knew intellectually. Right. They knew intellectually that exercise helps that eating better helps. Yeah. Getting, moving, getting social, doing, you know, a lot of these different things.

Speaker 1: (01:34)
But, but the problem was they couldn't do it. They'll just come motivation. They cry. They couldn't push themselves to do it. Right. Man, it's, it's, it's crazy. So, well and this, and it's funny cause this very same person and I, and I, and I'm not trying to pick on them at all. So in the wintertime when it was cold and nasty, it was, oh, I can't wait for the longest. The Sun Sunny warm days. Right, right. And then I'm going to get out and I'm going to walk and I'm gonna, I'm gonna move and start doing things. And then in the first, the first thing they said to me was, oh, it's too hot. I can't get out and do anything anymore. I'm like, no, that's not acceptable. Right. Like, sorry, the sunshine is out. You need as you need to get up earlier then or do you need to go late in the evening?

Speaker 1: (02:16)
Yeah. It was like you have to force yourself to do it because, yeah. It's, you know, it's interesting. Um, and I, and I learned this a lot from a book that I've read that I always have applied to so many areas of life. Uh, it's called the willpower instinct by Kelly mcgonigal. I probably talked about it already on the podcast. Um, but we as human beings and there's research to back this up, which is kind of crazy, but we always have this tendency of wanting to live our best life in terms of health in the future and not in the president. Sure. Cause it's always easier, right? Because it's, this is almost like this magical fantasy land where in the future we have way more motivation. We have way more energy, we have way more money, money, time, resources. Everything is easier and, or better.

Speaker 1: (03:03)
Uh, in the future, we don't have the same, uh, constraints that we have now. Right? And so, um, this, this study was actually, um, uh, done by Emory health sciences. And here's what they basically said. They said, uh, they have a kind of prevailing theory that chronic inflammation might drive down dopamine and motivations. They said a new, uh, computational method will allow scientists to measure the effects of chronic inflammation on energy availability and effort based decision making. The method may yield insights into how chronic low grade inflammation contributes to motivational impairments in some cases of depression, schizophrenia and other medical disorders. And so, uh, in English, basically what they're saying is that the cause or the culprit in many instances behind a lack of motivation is chronic inflammation, which when you think about it shouldn't come across as too necessarily surprising rising at all, really.

Speaker 1: (04:05)
Right. So what's the deal with inflammation? What's the, what's the issue there? Let's just kind of break it down to and when, what inflammation does to our bodies. So inflammation generally means you're going to hurt. If you have inflammation in a joint, that joint is going to hurt. If it's in your back, your back is going to hurt. If it's in your head, it's going to hurt, right? Inflammation creates pain, and pain in and of itself has an incredible way of diminishing motivation, right? It's crippling, especially chronic pain, right? Pain is, you know, it, it just beats people down, right? It takes it like Rob's their hope that they can ever not be in pain, right? So the, you know, that's the first part is it really, it'd beat you up. Will, and, and, and, and I think too, there's something to be said for a chronic inflammation, uh, puts stress on the body.

Speaker 1: (04:54)
It's a stressor. And when we're in that state, it's like we're in a survival mode, in a chronic survival mode. Our body is just trying to survive. You can look at all the, the, um, bodies, you know, the functional systems in our body, our cardiovascular. If we have inflammation in our cardiovascular system, what happens? You get atherosclerosis yet, right? We get plaquing. All right. That's our body's defense against inflammation is lacking. Right. All right. In our lungs, if we have inflammation, we get asthma. We can't breathe well. Yeah. Okay. In our joints, if we have chronic inflammation, they become like a generation much, much more quickly. Yeah. In our brains, same time, you know, it's like that's when the amyloid plaques and different things are building up. Like it creates disease processes in every part of our bodies. So it, I mean it makes sense that if you have a chronic inflammation throughout your body over long periods of time that it's going to just rob you of energy.

Speaker 1: (05:51)
It's going to rob you of desire, it's going to run it because you feel crummy. You know? Again, that hope we talked a few I episodes ago about how important having hope is for improving yourself. Right. We'll in there and there's something to be said too, about just the chemistry in our brain and how that plays a role in all those areas. And so chronic inflammation is most definitely going to create altered states of brain chemistry. It is, and that's what they're saying here, right? Is that it's going to lower dopamine. Dopamine is a very misunderstood brain, chemical or hormone in the brain, neurotransmitter, whatever you want to call it. Um, oftentimes people think that dopamine is a reward hormone and it's not necessarily that what it is. The way I've always understood it in the way I've always explained it is it's an anticipatory hormone.

Speaker 1: (06:39)
It's the hormone that helps you see things through for, for this, for the simple fact of the anticipation of the rumor, right? That's how dopamine kicks in is if you feel like something good is going to happen, right? If you want to know why runners love running so much and how dopamine plays a role, dopamine is not the, uh, the, the euphoria necessarily that people think of, or the a, what's the term they use after running the runner's high? That the runner's high or the A, what's the term that they use? Um, uh, the, the, uh, oh, I know what you're saying. Yeah. I'm trying to think of the term there. Uh, it'll, it'll come to me. We'll, but, but the, you know what I mean? All the, all the different, you know, happy chemicals in the brain, the uh, oh golly, this is going to drive me crazy.

Speaker 1: (07:28)
Um, but, but it's not that what it is. Dopamine serves a role too to help propel people forward because they're anticipating the good feelings, right? All those different things. And so, um, so dopamine plays a really powerful role in motivation because it's the thing that helps propel you forward and push you forward because of the excitement, the hope, the anticipation of the positive outcome that you're looking for. Right? And so, um, when inflammation starts to alter these sorts of things, it's no wonder people deal with a lot of these issues. And the thing that I couldn't help but think is, uh, it's no wonder people struggle with these things because it becomes this kind of negative spiral, right? Things start to just naturally spiral out of control. You feel trapped. So yeah. Hurt you don't sleep good. Yeah, because you don't sleep good. You have no energy to get out and start moving and doing.

Speaker 1: (08:23)
And I was actually just going to pose the question. You know what? There's a lot of different ways for tackling inflammation. Yeah. The probably least least longterm effective and potentially most harmful would be what we all are when we reach for our Advil or for some other anti-inflammatory. But, um, you know, really if, if we kind of scale things back to thinking about doing the right thing in the right order for the right amount of time when it comes to inflammation in almost all circumstances. And, and I don't off the top of my head and just that there may be a rare exception. It really comes down to what we're eating initially. I like the, the, the baseline thing to approach in any kind of inflammatory state is what are we eating and how is that affecting our body and what you know, because that is going to have the most profound effect.

Speaker 1: (09:14)
Movement is going to be probably a, you know, right up there right after it. But if we don't have the chemical part inside of us, um, you know, that what we're eating and the processes that are, that are kicked into play, whether it be anti-inflammatory or inflammatory, you know, if we're not eating right, that we can't ever hope to get on top of inflammatory issues. If all we keep doing is throwing fuel on the fire with terrible food. Absolutely right. So, I mean, if I could say, I mean this is, it's, it's very, um, it's encouraging and scary at the same time to think like, oh cause there's a lot of people who deal with chronic inflammation. There are autoimmune conditions that create, you know, chronic inflammation. And, uh, but still when you, when you really think about it, you know, even if you are someone who has been beat down with some sort of autoimmune, uh, issue that makes it very hard for you to not be inflamed, the number one thing that you could do to help that would be to eat an antiinflammatory diet.

Speaker 1: (10:15)
Right? And I don't want to get into that now cause we could talk for probably five. We could talk for five different episodes on different things with respect to diet and things we could eat or not eat. Um, you know, to, to affect that. But, um, I would say an anti inflammatory diet in an in fact, I can't even think of a scenario where that wouldn't be the first place you would want to go. Right, right. So yeah, I would s I would say that I would say one other area, uh, is getting good sleep. Yes. You know, improving diet is going to be probably like you said, that's going to be that foundational baseline first line of defense in terms of helping reduce chronic inflammation. Obviously there's some supplements that you can add into that that can have a role, you know, fish oils.

Speaker 1: (10:58)
Oh, sure. Uh, being a really simple one to help combat. Um, I would also say just, and maybe just following that as just activity increasing. And I'm not necessarily saying you have to hit the gym and start, you know, you know, pounding the pavement in that regard. But just increasing your activity, whether it be a nice, just a gentle easy walk. In the mornings or the evenings or just doing more than you were doing increasing activity as an incredible way for dumping stress, which will also help decrease inflammation. Even if it was something as simple as getting outside and getting exposure to sunlight. Absolutely. Countless studies have shown the power of vitamin D and what that can do to help with pain to help kind of get, we're looking for motivation here. Yeah. These are little steps that you can make to kind of, to, to, to really just spur that, that motivation into action.

Speaker 1: (11:50)
Well, and if, if I can be quite honest and vulnerable here for people who are listening here, this is something that I'm acutely aware of, um, because it's something that I have struggled with, um, throughout my life. Truly it has. And specifically, um, it's something I can, I can really relate to because this past year, as you know, was probably one of the most challenging years of my entire life. Um, my wife has dealt with, uh, for years, a lot of chronic health issues. Specifically this past year. Uh, she dealt with very severe insomnia. I mean, it was, it's the worst it's ever been. And so that had a major negative impact on me and my ability obviously to get sleep if my wife's not sleeping. Um, and, and trying to help her and whatnot. And so what that did for me was that led to, uh, a lot of other issues, um, in terms of feeling less energy in the morning, feeling a traumatic lack of motivation in the mornings to, to really do much of anything.

Speaker 1: (12:49)
And then that kind of led to a negative, you know, cycle of, of other things as well. And so the one thing I can say is for me, if I were to pinpoint, well, what was it that really helped, well, obviously my wife's sleep, uh, has improved, but it wasn't overnight, number one. And I did start to make some positive changes and steps in the right direction. And I would say the biggest thing for me that personally helped, and I don't know what your experience has been in this, but is, is breaking it down into bite size pieces. Um, I think that's one of the biggest things, uh, that I have found that is really challenging when you're in that place of not feeling motivated is feeling like the world's just throwing with, throwing on your shoulders this laundry list of things you need to do, right?

Speaker 1: (13:33)
Well, if you're going to increase your motivation, need to change your diet, you need to detox. You need to go run a mile, you need to do this, you need to do, you know, Dah, Dah, Dah, Dah, Dah. And before, you know what, you've just got this overwhelming list of things that you know you ought to do. Um, but what I've come to find is one of the simplest ways, uh, for me, any ways to improve that area is to break things down into really simple, you know, just steps, simple, simple steps. Like, okay, I'm gonna get up early, I'm going to brush my teeth, I'm going to wash my face. I'm going to, uh, just get out and start walking and start moving. Uh, and then from there I'm going to break my workout down so that I'm not going to do a full hour and I'm just going to do a 10 minute workout.

Speaker 1: (14:16)
Um, and I, you know, I'm going to go run for just a little bit. I'm going to, you know, read something that's going to inspire me. I'm going to write my journal, I'm going to do simple little things step by step, and I'm going to take them one step at a time. I'm not going to think about the whole thing. I'm just going to do one little thing at a time, you know? And that was a huge thing for me in terms of helping rekindle some of that motivation. Um, and get back into some of those patterns. Um, positive patterns, I guess. Any thoughts you have? Nope. Nope. I just, you know, uh, I just would hope that you would take some sort of action. Yeah, that's kind of why I wanted to throw out some ideas as, yeah. You know, if you're, if you're one of those folks that just are feeling like I have no energy or no drive to get out and do something, just do something, do a little something because the, those little bitty steps of action create more motivation and more willpower and more drive and, and, and one sure.

Speaker 1: (15:10)
Fire Way to, to kill motivation even further as to beat yourself up. Oh yeah. You know? And so that's, that's another good point that you bring up there. You know, if something is powerful yeah. Up just a little, little something, anything it can help and build on it. Yeah. And just, yeah, exactly. Build from where you're at. Start where you're at, you know. Yeah. We're not expecting, you know, this overnight a revolution, you know? So anyways, uh, yeah, so, so people struggling with motivation, you know, a good place to look at at at least, you know, they say in theory, but I think we could take it further than just theory, you know, is inflammation, right? What can you do to reduce inflammation? Um, and I think we've given maybe some good practical insights as to some things you might be able to do to begin that process and hopefully then the idea is sustain it, right? So, uh, thank you guys so much for listening. Hope this has been valuable for you guys and we'll talk to you guys on the next episode. Have a great day.

Speaker 2: (16:05)
Thanks for listening to the health fundamentals podcast. Be sure to subscribe so that you stay in the loop. And in the note with all of the cutting edge health information that we share, if you know other people that could benefit from this information, please share it with them as well. Also, be sure to give us a review. These really help us to ultimately help more people. Last but not least, if you have questions that you want answered live on the show, or if you have ideas for topics that you would like us to cover, please shoot us an email and let us know at info@thehealthfundamentals.com.

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