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This Might Surprise You


Despite being tired, are there times when you feel really energised and good while you’re busy getting things done?   

Is it possible that this is not ‘true’ energy but actually a very buzzy, driven energy?

Usually it’s actually an adrenaline-fuelled energy.

I know it well. I still feel it often. And here’s my dirty little secret…. After all these years of work that I’ve done around this I still at times embrace this adrenaline-fueled drive and energy. This is not an addiction I have completely managed to overthrow despite how it can impact my health.

Because that’s the problem – when you get busy and do a lot from this place of being energised you actually deplete yourself even further.

Maybe you have no idea what I am talking about – true energy versus adrenaline energy. Let me explain more…

There are different levels to AFS and burnout – I like the idea of looking at these as 1) wired, 2) wired and tired and then 3) just plain tired/exhausted.

These stages actually tie into our nervous system response. Stage 1 is when the sympathetic nervous system is largely dominating without much rest (fight/flight), Stage 2 is when we alternate between the sympathetic state (fight/flight) and the dorsal vagal state (shutdown/freeze) without much time in the ventral vagal rest/digest place, and 3) is when we’re so depleted we largely stay in the dorsal vagal state (shutdown/freeze).

The sympathetic or fight/flight state is the alert state. In certain appropriate situations this ensures our survival. However, this is also the state where we have energy to do and achieve and complete. These things help us to feel capable and in control. The predominant narrative that we are so influenced by values the distorted masculine energy where worth is deeply related to achievement.

On the flip side, therefore, rest and not doing is usually aligned with feeling worthless.

And anxious.

So along with that addiction to your morning cup of coffee can you understand why you’re addicted to doing?

Addictions are coping mechanisms. They help us to escape the feelings underneath which are usually some form of pain, powerlessness or overwhelm. So why would we possibly want to stop when we may have to feel all of these things on top of feeling worthless because we’re ‘not achieving’? Please note: I used quotation marks because a much better definition of achieving would be measured by your ability to bring balance into your life!

The downside of constantly staying in this wired state or even wired and tired is that it’s having a negative impact on our health and is only a hop and skip away from just plain tired and depleted. All we need is one big stressor to add to normal life and we suddenly tip over and into crashed mode.

Now if we can rather choose to consciously stop, reset and rest then we allow the nervous system to set up a new template for normal. With this new default we accumulate enough rest to ensure that when the big stressor comes along we don’t flip over into burnout so easily. In fact, we may even begin to store reserves of energy so that we can feel pretty darn good a lot of the time!

So what does this mean for you? When you find that you’re energised, achieving and busy feel into whether that comes with a wired or buzzy feeling or a feeling of being electrically energised or being driven by a motor. Feel if it comes along with a compulsion to complete what you’re doing that makes it very difficult to stop and rest. Notice if it feels a little manic and crazy and if you’re very invested in feeling like this. All of these things can indicate that you’re being driven by adrenaline.

The good news is that when you learn to stop and approach life with a reset template for your nervous system you will still have energy and still get things done but it will feel easy, flowing, natural and nourishing.

Also, we are not meant to have energy all the time. When we honour the time when our energy is naturally low we will experience more moments of naturally high energy, flow and creativity (this is a big part of the Flow module of my coaching!).   

Have I got this figured out yet? No, not all the time but A LOT more than I used to. And I’m super tuned into when I am in that adrenaline-fueled doing state of energy. Then I use the tools I have to meet what has activated my nervous system and to bring in rest. Because I know only too well that it’s not a big push from that euphoric doing state to being flat out on the couch if I don’t regulate myself.

So for now….. be kind and gentle and, with non-judgemental curiosity, ask yourself (when you’re feeling energised and busy) is this nourishing and connected life-force energy or is this the buzzing, wired, anxiety-based energy of adrenaline. Feel free to respond to this email with your thoughts!


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