Heal for Real Podcast Episode 88
Energy Management, Entrepreneurship & Your Nervous System
We are talking on the podcast today about energy! And I am not talking about spiritual or metaphysical energy.
I am talking about the energy that your cells produce through your mitochondria - the powerhouse of the cell!
Now - as an entrepreneur, coach, high-performer with big goals - this is the number one thing I see being mismanaged and misunderstood!
I coach high-performers and entrepreneurs. I’ve done it for 3 years now! And I can tell you that this is the most underestimated, under-recognized piece of entrepreneurship.
How do you manage your energy? And how do you do it in such a way that you optimize your cells to create more energy for you, and to use the energy your cells make in a more efficient way!?
We hear lots of stuff about mindset and managing your thoughts and your mind - which is fantastic and super valuable and certainly supports energy management.
But what about your energy? How do you manage that?
So that’s what we’re going over today and this is really really going to help you in your day-to-day logistics of your life as someone with big goals and ambitions. So, please share it with those that will find it helpful.
Chronic Stress & Trauma and the Freeze response.
So first I am going to give you a quick primer on the nervous system and chronic stress and trauma. What you need to know is that your body has a threshold for stress. It literally has a physical limit. It’s not a metaphorical, meta-theoretical idea. It’s a real limit.
We call this limit the window of tolerance.
And we know this limit is real because when we cross this threshold, when we surpass our limit, and go outside of our window the body responds very loudly to us! It lets us know.
We get the message through skin issues, sleep issues, anxiety, changes in appetite, depression, auto-immune issues, gut issues.
And usually these changes happen quite quickly.
And this is wonderful because it’s the body’s way of letting us know its limits. It’s the way our nervous system communicates with us.
But before we hit the threshold of stress, we are in the healthy range of stress. This healthy stress is the place where we feel we have more than enough energy to handle what we need to do, we feel competent, confident. We feel alert and we feel ready to move into action. But we are not OVERWHELMED. We are stressed, but we are using the additional energy that stress is providing us to respond appropriately to the situation. This is the range you really want to spend 80% of your time in as an entrepreneur. This healthy stress where you can appropriately respond to what is happening in the day-to-day happenings of life and business.
However, if you are storing stress and trauma like most people are!
That threshold, or that window of tolerance for stress actually becomes smaller.
And the more you exceed that threshold, the more chronic stress you are holding and the more your window of tolerance for stress will decrease.
And you will spend time stuck in the sympathetic high stress response of feeling over-energized, anxious, scattered and urgent.
Or you will spend time in the low energy, heavy, brain fog shut down and freeze response.
Or you will spend your time cycling between both. And honestly, that’s where most people end up is cycling between those two. Especially driven ambitious types.
And often what happens is there will be some form of stimulation that keeps you going and you have to drive yourself up into that high-sympathetic adrenalized state to function using coffee, stimulants, adderall etc.
This is chronic stress. This is freeze. This is the pushing through that high over energized place and then crashing. And just doing that cycle over and over.
So when chronic stress is happening under the surface like that in that cycle. When the body is storing that stress and trauma what happens is that it takes a toll on all the body processes over time. It reduces your stress resilience over time. But it also creates energy dysfunction and that energy dysfunction shows up in a lot of ways but I am going to talk about two today.
The first is energy production - so the energy that your mitochondria produce. When you are dealing with chronic stress, your body is not producing energy as efficiently. Because your body is working hard to create homeostasis in an environment of chronic stress. And so it becomes harder for the cells to make energy.
Sleep and Rest
Reduce and Eliminate Caffeine
Energy Use -
The second way your energy is affected is in the actual use of the energy. So not only is the energy production dysfunctional, but the system is not using the energy as efficiently = it’s focused on maintaining homeostasis in a high-stakes environment!
So how do you actually repair this process and manage your energy in such a way that you can show up with energy and health in your business and in your life and relationships?
I’m going to give you 3 VERY simple ways to get started with this:
Nervous System Tracking:
You need to start tracking the states of your nervous system. You need to start identifying when you are in high-sympathetic, and when you are in the low parasympathetic freeze state.
And when you are feeling good and in your window of tolerance.
This tracking is what is going to allow you to respond in real time so that you can interrupt the dysfunctional energy cycle.
If You Are in High-Sympathetic:
You need focused, forceful movement. What I mean by that is you need to use up the energy that has been mobilized in the form of stress.
Punch Through Exercise - Jog on the spot
If You Are In Freeze:
Heat, time and gentle movement - Use your palms to support your eyes. Do not be forceful. If you need to be working - use blue-light blocking glasses, hold a pillow, and use a heat pad. Take regular 3 minute breaks.
Managing your energy with your nervous system in mind means that you are actually leveraging your body’s energy production systems!
It means your system will make more energy, and it will use the energy it makes more efficiently. And you will FEEL this - you will feel the difference in your day to day life, your emotional capacity, your stress levels, your focus, and even in your relationships.
It means that you are interrupting dysfunctional energy cycles and preserving your health, preventing aging and so much more!