Diggin’ Deep after a Nap’s Night Sleep
Why do we take such pride in getting our butts out of bed at five am and doing the GSD strut before the sun comes up? Yet no one is piping into a megaphone that they stayed up until two am doing whatever it is that people do until that hour. Personally, I wouldn’t know because I haven’t been up at two am since I had little kids who woke-up to throw-up.
In the book When, by Daniel Pink, we learn that we are all genetically predisposed to a particular circadian rhythm. We can only manipulate it to a certain degree. Or we can listen to it and operate at our best. So, I shoot for a ten to five appointment with my pillow. Only two things can keep me up past eleven pm (OK three, but we will talk about two). One activity that can keep me vertical until after midnight is dancing. Turn on Stevie Wonder, classic Rod Stewart, or Beyonce, wind me up, and cut me loose. The second activity that keeps me from my preferred sleep schedule is travel.
Hang with me here, I know I am burying the lead. Two nights ago, due to travel, my head hit the pillow after one am. I still had to be up by six, and of course, I didn’t sleep well because I was worried about being up early and giving my best to a room full of people the next day. Now you might be thinking – just hop yourself up on caffeine and you’re good to go. There was a day when I could survive on Diet Mountain Dew and Snickers Bars, but that’s a story for another day. And so, I peeled myself out of bed looking like Jack Nicholson with a hangover and went for the decaf coffee and electrolytes. After a bowl full of watermelon and a little nut-butter sandwich, I was on to the event.
Here is what I have learned to do when I say to myself, ‘Dig Deep’. I take my fear and I give it a backseat to love. Stop gagging and let me explain.
I dig deep into connecting with others, caring about their journey, and devoting my resources to serving. On this particular day, I remembered to forget about myself and focus on giving. At the close of the session, I was greeted with many genuine, specific comments expressing gratitude. And then, time to go home, and crash right? One would think so.
My poor husband. I was on a high all night! I talked all the way to dinner, through dinner, and suggested an after-dinner walk in this scorching southern heat. I was just-a talkin’ and a-walkin’ as if I weren’t in need of sleep at all. The energy was unstoppable.
So now you’re probably thinking, ‘Well good for you. What does this have to do with me?’. Here’s the scoop. I know exactly why I had so much energy because I know the science behind it.
When we ingest caffeine, simple carbs, or sugar, we get a non-sustainable burst of energy. That choice also comes with a price. When we get fast energy from ingestible sources, our brain defends against that response. So, we need more and more of it to get the same boost. If we choose complex carbs or matcha tea, we get a slower, less frenzied elevation, but they are still not as long-lasting as biologically synthesized energy.
So where did I get this sustainable, organic run of joy last week? I got it from a dash of norepinephrine, a scoop of serotonin, and a bucket of the mother of all sustainable feel-good neurotransmitters – oxytocin!
Our bodies are created to produce these molecules so that we can function with joy and overcome negative or traumatic experiences.
Where can you get yours?
The Talk to the Brain tip is a trifecta today:
- Challenge yourself. Norepinephrine only lasts a brief while. Much like adrenaline, we can synthesize it by doing something outside of our comfort zone, something that makes us nervous or excited.
- Give away genuine compliments. Serotonin can last for many hours without being replenished. It’s the happy molecule that replenishes when we feel pride or confidence. Connect with people who believe in you. Express your gratitude for others and articulate the unique gifts you see in them. The rule of reciprocity says that this authentic sharing will be returned to you. If you don’t have that luxury and you need to be energetic and confident, it also helps to read old thank-you notes and turn on some of your favorite tunes.
- Connect on a deep level. The queen of sustainable joy is for sure oxytocin! Oxytocin is not only a neurotransmitter, but also a hormone. It has the power to stay pulsing through your body for up to two weeks! How can you get some? Love baby. Communicate with a spirit of love. Find the courage of vulnerability. Take time to truly see and validate others and allow yourself to express your full heart. Oxytocin will start to flow and give you the kind of energy that you can use for intention.
I have a name for this three-part cocktail of norepinephrine, serotonin, and oxytocin. I call it joy – the energy of joy.
What gives you joy and energy? Go do that. And then take the energy, repurpose it, and give it away.
If this Talk to the Brain tip intrigued you, I would love for you to share it with someone with a seeker’s mind like yours. If you are interested in learning more send me a note on my website or simply reply to this email.
With love and cheers,