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Mental Health

Mental Health
Mental health issues can arise for a number of reasons and affect people in different ways. The brain being a very complicated organ can suffer from a myriad of issues. So many in fact that you could dedicate an entire series and volumes of various encyclopaedia’s on the subject.

In this article, I’m simply going to cover mostly those areas that can have an effect on your health, your workouts and the progress that can made. If you suffer from any of the issues listed below or even any not covered below and are unable to self manage it, I would suggest you get professional help to fully diagnose your situation and help put you on the right path. It is also important to note that I am not qualified to give professional advice on any of these areas and the article has been written purely in the hope of getting you to recognise any of these issues.

Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD)

People who suffer from this have anxieties related to their physical appearance. There are many reasons for this to happen, but mostly the sufferer may feel they are either underweight, overweight, not in proportion or not happy with their skin, hair or facial features. One specific disorder that seems to affect many weight trainers is muscle dysmorphia, where the trainer thinks they are too skinny or lack muscle. These disorders can lead to depression, anxiety, loneliness, self harm, low self esteem, eating disorders, various compulsive disorders and much more. The hardest part for a sufferer is to seek help. Getting both professional help and using self help techniques can provide some relief and change the way you feel about yourself. The important part is taking that first step in seeking that help.

Eating problems

There are many types of eating issues, they can include having cravings, eating too much, eating too little, anxiety about specific foods or about the physical aspect of digesting food, being fussy or too strict on the type of foods you eat. All these can affect anyone of us at anytime and can often be related to health reasons, emotional eating or due to how we see our physical selves. Suffering from these can lead to feeling tired, depressed, guilty, social awkwardness and lead to various health issues. The first thing to do is recognise you have or maybe developing an eating problem and look to rethink and re-educate yourself about what it is to be healthy. Talking to someone about it may help, but seek help if you are unable to resolve the issue yourself.


Stress can increase cortisol production and long term production of this hormone tends to be catabolic and can make the body store excess abdominal fat so keeping stress down is of primary importance. People who are stressed also tend to eat more so end up in a catch 22 situation. We all suffer from stress to varying degrees and some people can cope with it better than others. There are however techniques and ways to reduce it such as, meditation, deep breathing, walking, swimming, massage, listening to music, watching funny TV and to find a friendly listening ear.  


Feeling low and miserable can be one of the most deliberating mental states that can affect your life in a huge way. You may feel like doing nothing and unable to get started on anything, feeling it is a waste of time. There are many types of depression including seasonal (I always find winter time to be most depressive), short and long term depression and depression brought on by either a physical or emotional situation or up and down depression such as bipolar disorder. Being depressed can increase your chances of unhealthy weight gain or even weight loss, sleep disorders, fatigue, unrest, lack of concentration and much more. To help combat depression you may find it helpful to set out a plan, a schedule of things that you need to get done. Make yourself a routine and set goals to follow, so that you don’t need to think about what to do next and to make it easier to get things done. This is also a good time to get into exercise, as exercise creates endorphins that make you feel good and it also can help clear your head. Another thing to do that will help both your mood and exercise is to plan your nutrition, as eating healthy will eliminate foods that can affect your mood and make you put on excess body fat. Get plenty of good quality sleep and look to complete new challenges each day.


This is a mental thought that can have you feeling negative about yourself and leave you unable to make progress in your life. It can affect many people for numerous reasons. You need to firstly identify the reason you may have low self esteem and realise you have the right to feel good about yourself. Everyone is different, don’t compare yourself to others and try to take control back and set yourself goals in small steps. Think positive and join a group with similar physical abilities and remember none of us are perfect. Taking those first steps are important and make it a journey to take care of yourself.


This can affect us all. Life isn’t always fair, someone or something may let us down or we may have been treated unfairly and this can give you negative thoughts and make you angry. This is a physiological emotion and involves chemical processes in the brain that create adrenaline. Rather than use that anger to be aggressive towards those that created this anger, you can use this adrenaline and emotion to motivate yourself in your workout and use it to show those that are negative towards you that you are a strong individual.

Sleep deprivation

Sleep deprivation can actually increase your hunger pangs and reduce your ability to lose fat. There are many chemical reactions that occur due to sleep deprivation including an increase in cortisol and ghrelin (hunger inducing hormone) and less leptin (fat burning hormone). Try to get at least 7-8 hrs of quality sleep to maximise your potential goal – make it a regular habit. I go to bed at around 11pm and get up at around 7am, 7 days a week, 365 days of the year. See my separate article on sleep.


While I may have made suggestions in ways to seek help and even point to how it may be achieved, I recognise that for many it is easier said than done. As long as you are able to now recognise some issues that you may have or even be developing, you may now be able to create goals, change your mind set, create new habits and dissolve old unhealthy ones or even reach out and ask for help. Try not to worry about what others think of you, make changes for yourself and not others. Please also see my motivation article.