As the real estate markets have heated up, most people I am talking to are busy, busy, busy. Lots of folks I talk to are tired. One of the foundations for being wildly productive is having the physical wherewithal to focus and be your best. Taking the time to take care of you can't be left to chance or something that happens after you've taken care of everyone else. Your own wellbeing has to be a priority.
After all, you car won't take you far if you don't have gas in the gas tank!
My question today is what are you putting in your tank? Is it plenty of energy because you are fueling yourself with passion and giving yourself self ample rejuvenation time? Or are you fueling yourself with adrenaline?
Adrenaline Addiction:The Dark Side
Using adrenaline as your fuel source will lead to serious exhaustion and burnout. You'll notice that you have trouble focusing and enjoying life. You will tend to get sick more often, since you are diverting immune system's resources. While this usually won't happen until, after the big push, it will happen. Sometimes, after working hard, we'll schedule a vacation to relax and find that's when our body decides to get sick. What a bummer!
John Wanamaker's observation, "People who cannot find time for recreation are obliged sooner or later to find time for illness" is on target for those who use adrenaline as their energy source.
Dr. Archibald Hart's book, Adrenalin and Stress
is an in depth look at the whole problem and links addiction to adrenaline as a leading indicator of future heart disease. In a Yoga Journal article, Dr. Dharma Singh Khalsa says the stress response of "near-constant cortisol release (from the adrenal gland) can damage the memory center of the brain…..we lose our ability to concentrate, and recall." He says as we get older, the brain becomes less adept at managing the chemical release. His studies are primarily with treating Alzheimer's disease. I found this link quite scary. I do notice, though, when I am relying on the energy from rushing and last minute deadlines, my own ability to focus is decreased and I am often scattered and easily distracted.
Are you an Adrenaline Addict?
Here are a few questions:
- Do you say "I work better under pressure?"
- Do you use deadlines to throw yourself into frantic action?
- Do you carry your cell phone everywhere you go?
- Do you drink 3 or more caffeinated coffee or drinks each day to keep going?
- Does standing in line make you edgy and annoyed?
- Do you tailgate, drive over the speed limit regularly and get upset with other drivers?
- Do you react strongly to surprises?
- Do you schedule your appointments so you just have time to make it from one to another?
- Do you spend time around others you are frantically working as hard or harder than you?
- Do you take on more than you want to be nice and because you can?
- Do you attract more problems than you deserve?
- Do you eat sugar or other comfort food to calm yourself?
- Do you find a way to sabotage yourself or a project, yet pull if off at the last moment?
- Do you get very upset when others let you down? Do you take it personally?
- Are you working very hard, yet clearly not winning?
- Do you continue to talk after others have stopped listening?
- Is it difficult to focus for more than 10 minutes on any one thing?
- Do you try to please everyone around you?
- Do surprises or upsets continue to upset you for a day or more?
- Do you feel an edgyness or lack of stillness if you aren't doing something?
- Do you feel disappointed in yourself or guilty for not doing more?
If you answered yes to many of the questions above, welcome to the club! You aren't alone.
The good news is that with awareness and a commitment to get back into balance, you can bring more peace into your life and get off the adrenaline treadmill. Like any addiction, you must want to make the change and be willing to go through some discomfort.
Step #1: Your awareness is the first step.
Notice when you are triggering the release of adrenaline:
Your heart rate goes up, your breathing becomes more rapid, you experience a rush of energy, your hands get cold.
Step #2: For a week, make a list: log all the things that trigger this physical response.
Step #3: For each trigger, now identify a solution and start to change your behavior.
Here are a few examples.
Now make a list of solutions for YOUR triggers.
Now, don't overwhelm yourself...take, perhaps, one for a week and when you have impacted that trigger, take on the next one.
- If you use caffeine excessively, TRY reducing in half the amount of caffeine
- If you rush & are often late, TRY plan to arrive 10 minutes early for each appointment.
- If you are involved in many non-essential projects, TRY cutting out 50% of all projects & goals
- If you have a tendency to say "yes" because you can, TRY for a solid week to say "no" to every request
- If you overpromise results,TRY deliberately start to underpromising EVERYTHING
- If you are doing everything you feel you SHOULD do, TRY Re-examining whose agenda you are living
- If you are driving too fast,TRY to not pass another car for a whole week
- If you are multi-tasking constantly, TRY to focus on each activity until it is complete. Time block if necessary.
Step #4 Start scheduling some time for contemplation and silence. DO nothing. This will be very hard at first but will get easier. Ideally, give yourself at least 15 minutes of silence or meditation each day.
Step #5 Some More Good Advice
I think you'll find this article
useful in choosing the ways to get back to a healthy life.
The discomfort and antsiness of feeling like you "should" be doing something, of feeling guilty because you aren't pushing yourself to excel will probably rear it's ugly head.......hang in there!
You will find
that boredom is the gateway to peacefulness and
you might decide that nothing and no one is worthy of stealing your peace!
You will also notice that it is easier to accomplish more when your focus is increased and you will struggle less. You'll actually make more and do less. How does that sound?