MOTIVATION - THE SOIL FOR EXCELLENCY

Our experience over the last decade has shown that people feel a decrease in motivation when they stop taking BIESTMILCH.

This is why this article talks about motivation.

One of the strongest motives known, if not even the strongest is hunger. Hunger is a motive so absolute that it washes away all other feelings, be it doubts, fear or illness. Body and mind merge. We just go for it, hunger moves us ...

THE ROOTS OF THE WORD »MOTIVATION«

It refers back to the Latin word for moving {movere and motus} movement. It describes the state of an organism that influences the direction of the energy flow. Motivation gives the content to the organism's energy.It turns it into behavior and makes us pursue goals. By motives energy gets a direction, by motives energy gets fed, it can expand and grow.

»The significance of the immune system for motivation« was my first headline of the article I intended to write. Then I had a rather vague idea, on how I was going to tackle this interesting subject. When getting more and more involved with the subject, I realized that it was moving me towards an intersection of different sciences and thought models connected to the most controversial and antagonizing viewpoints.
Quite a messy subject I had to admit to myself. I knew I had to commit myself to strict constraints not to produce a wishy washy text nobody really wants and needs.

IS MOTIVATION ROOTED IN BIOLOGY OR PSYCHOLOGY? OR BOTH?

I don't intend to explain the different methods of motivational training but want to elucidate in greater depth the biological background and coherences that characterize a state of motivation.
Motivation does not only include a state of mind, motivation also stands for a certain activity state of the body-mind unit.
A specific body-mind-state is mainly generated by the super systems of regulation – central nervous system, immune system and hormones. True motivation feels like what is called the »embodied mind«.

 

 

MOTIVATION DESCRIBES MY RELATION TO WORLD AROUND ME

Motivation always describes a relationship to something. A motive is something that gives one an impulse to act. Hunger is a very strong and stable motive, hunger motivates you to eat. The motivation is so strong that the action is carried out without greater effort. This needs not always to be the case.
People that go into a hunger strike are motivated so strongly by an ideal that the motivation to eat decreases or even disappears. A similar situation applies to very ill people. If eating causes them too much pain they prefer starving. So starving turns into the stronger motive than eating. This is the case in anorectic people as well.

MOTIVATION & BODY FEELING
DEPEND UPON THE QUALITY OF YOUR STRESS RESPONSE

Motivation can be defined as an internal bodily condition that embodies an activity state of the nervous system, immune system and the hormones.*
If one accepts this biological notion, then motivation can be seen as strongly influenced by the body’s stress response. The biological stress response determines the body‘s behavior under influences of stress. It is primed very early in life, but it can be trained up to a certain extent. The quality of our relation to the environment is markedly influenced by our ability to react to stress factors. 

*Nervous system, immune system and hormones are essential components of the stress system. They make up our stress response in great parts.

The biological stress response holds the organism’s dynamic balance by constantly registering, comparing and adapting target value and actual value. Actual values are aligned with the target values.
Target values can be shifted by training and the levels of balance can change (e.g. blood pressure, heart rate) within a certain range. The degree of tension between target- and actual value influences our motivation. Regulatory dysfunctions and too pronounced discrepancies between target- and actual value can lead to demotivation and frustration. 

THE STRESS SYSTEM AND ITS RESPONSE DON'T CARE WHETHER A STRESSOR IS PHYSICAL OR MENTAL

The same dilemma accounts for a discrepancy in self-perception between real life (actual value) and expectations (target value) such as success, failure, performance, fears, self-evaluation, self-esteem etc. These factors can be stress factors just as a disease or an injury.
If you measure parameters of the stress response, the measurements are nearly the same regardless whether the stressor is of unconscious physiological origin such as a drop in the blood sugar level, a physical stressor such as extreme muscle strain or from a mental stressor such as fear of failure.

Lack of motivation results from a frustrated coping with stress

Stress system and stress response are right in the center of concern, when it comes to analyze motivation. The stress system keeps the body in balance. A stress response is induced when adjustments to the constantly changing inner and/or outer situations are required.
The stress system consists primarily of cortisol and catecholamine circuits, the central nervous system and the immune system. It works by strict rules, rules that organize and structure the processing of stimuli and stressors respectively.

The stress response consists of an array of circuits that are closely intertwined with the immune system and other organ system as the blood circulation or the respiratory functions etc. ...

The stress system controls and coordinates all body functions, and in the same time it executes and initiates adaptation processes by comparing the current state with the required state. Like this body and psyche are held in balance.
It is this balance that goes along with the feeling of well-being. The overall-goal of all these actions is the maintenance of a dynamic equilibrium. Thereby it does not matter whether the stimuli are received on a conscious or unconscious level, or the stressors originate from the inside or the outside of the body.

THE GENETIC OUTFIT INFLUENCES THE QUALITY OF THE STRESS RESPONSE

The genetic outfit differs from individual to individual

So do their experiences and their ability to deal with stress situations. This is the case right from the beginning of life. Stress may be stress for one and none for the other. Some people tend to panic faster than others. You can train your stress reactions, but basically the behavior pattern is there right from birth. If the stress system is weak, and processing of stress situations is insufficient, then acute stress may easily turn into harmful chronic stress.

The stress system is constantly active without being able to neutralize the stressor, the immune system as integral part of the stress system gets out of balance as well. The first symptom of such a chronic stress condition may be the loss of motivation and energy accompanied by feelings of pressure and the fear of losing control of the own living circumstances. In case there is more stress added to the situation like a disease, an injury, too much training by insufficient recovery a depression or an overtraining syndrome my develop. 

IMMUNITY INFLUENCES EMOTIONS

The immune system patrols permanently inside our body and along the mucosal linings of the gut and the lungs, a huge area of the size a football place and a tennis court. It permanently works at these front-lines situations on maintaining the balance of our internal milieu. 

There is a steady multidirectional signal flow between all the components of the stress system of which the immune system is an integral part of.

Under normal conditions the autonomic nervous system as another integral part of the stress system controls and dampens immune activity*. If endurance training and racing becomes a chronic stress condition for the athlete, then stress and immune system start struggling. Performance decreases first imperceptibly, then it drops, aside lack of motivation and moodiness may develop into a depression. Insufficient recovery, injuries and infections make things worse, and a full-fledged overtraining syndrome may be the final and worst result.

Overall, the condition of your immune system influences sleep, appetite, mood, motivation and body temperature. Therefore it is so very important to care about immunity.

MOTIVATION CAN OVERRULE PAIN

Most of you have probably experienced that the motive »peak performance« (not necessarily only in sports) is far less stable than hunger. If the path ahead of you is characterized by the uncertainty of whether you chose the right means to achieve your goal respective doubts may lead quickly to fluctuating levels of motivation. The more options you have the more self-confidence and self-esteem you need to make your own choices without experiencing a situation as threatening to your motivation.

Beside your state of mind it is the body that can give you doubts. Interpreting body signs is not easy, they can incredibly mislead you. One of these difficult conditions to assess adequately is fatigue. Fatigue is a phenomenon on the edge of balance.

It is such an ambiguous feeling, that may lead you to the peak but into the valley as well. In situations of fatigue motivation becomes a critical factor. And now your experience plays the essential role, it helps you to locate yourself. To cut a long story short, whether you find yourself on the path to a peak performance, nobody can tell except you. 

For competitive athletes in specific

Motivation is closely connected to self-assurance. Training, recovery and motivation are definitely the pillars on which your performance is standing. Ideally, if you are ready to retrieve your best the body-mind fission vanishes, so do the irritations of your environment. Then you are able to embrace the pain.

NOTHING SHOULD CATCH YOU BY SURPRISE, BE PREPARED

We can learn to influence our stress processing abilities by training.
Breathing consciously, visualizing or anticipating situations that might occur during a race can be tools to loosen stress.
Coping with stress situations should be part of a good training program.
There has to be time for recovery, for the healing of injuries and infections. Essential is good food, sleep and an appropriate self-esteem.

Of course, it is not enough to be mentally strong alone, all regulation systems have to work properly.

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