Our bodies are incredible machines. We take nutrients in and convert them to energy – energy that can be used to fuel our bodies or to build or heal our bones, muscles, organs, and tissues. However, our bodies are even more incredible than that. Our bodies can create energy even when we don’t have enough raw materials with which to do it. We do this by releasing chemicals that fool our bodies into thinking we have superhuman strength. One of the most common chemicals, that you might recognize, is adrenaline. When adrenaline is released into our bodies, we get geared up for battle, ready to defend ourselves, ready to run for the hills, or ready to dig a hole and hide in it until the danger is past.
Adrenaline gets released when we are scared. When we somehow get the message that there is danger, our bodies get ready to defend ourselves in whatever way we can. This is all well and good when wrestling alligators and scaring mountain lions out of the backyard where your children are playing, but what about our day-to-day dangers, the things that can’t really hurt us, but get us ‘spun-up’ nonetheless?
Daily aggrivations and worries release adrenaline, too, causing our body to be over-prepared to respond. This leads to road rage, fist fights, rock-throwing, name-calling, and running away from situations in which we really need to stay present. As you can guess, that ends up doing us more harm than good. When a wife feels like she is not supported by her husband and she calls him a fat, lazy slob, that is not likely to result in better support. When a co-worker steps on your ego, lobbing a stapler at him over the cube wall is not likely to result in a promotion for you.
When we feel adrenaline surge through our veins, we must ask ourselves quickly, “Am I really in any danger, or not?”
If not, the next thing to do is to get a hold of yourself, stop yourself from doing some adrenaline-fueled, unnecessary act.
Next, you must give yourself some private time and space to think about what it was that just happened and why you got so excited by it. If it was a close-call on the freeway, you need to figure out what your part in it was to prevent future accidents. You also need to convince yourself that it’s over and you’re okay. No one actually got hurt. No retaliative action is needed.
Once you determine that there’s no real danger or that the real danger has passed, you’re probably still jacked-up from the adrenaline.
That’s right, you have a few minutes of free energy, courtesy of your body’s “fight or flight” response. It’s like on a video game where you get an extra power briefly by picking up some jewel or special weapon. Think quick, your next decision is very important. Ask yourself,
“What productive thing can I do with this energy – NOW?”
You can use that energy to clean a room in your house, file your fingernails, take out the garbage, sort the laundry, change a tire, take a load of waste to the dump, make love to your spouse, chop down a pesky tree, or whatever task you’ve been avoiding for lack of enthusiasm. Use your free energy to do something good for yourself.