ACT

You have probably been awake way after you would have preferred to be sleeping, trying to figure out how to get your child to sleep, thinking about the right cocktail of supplements and medicines, about what worked that night 4 months ago and how it’s similar to the night 3 years ago when he again slept through… You’ve probably been up watching Netflix because you dare not sleep, afraid you will be woken up in 30 minutes, because you’re sure she’s not really asleep… afraid to try to sleep because you can’t face the frustration of insomnia, when you really want to sleep, tired to your bones, and yet, your heart is pounding and the images of today collide with the fears of tomorrow.

 

You have probably spoken to his teacher, pushing to be seen and to allow him to be seen, shared the new research you saw, even though you knew she would look at you with kind skepticism. You have probably spent many moments negotiating with your other child, telling her that it’s ok, and that she can have the special birthday party she wanted, even though you wonder where, since little 6 year old girls don’t customarily want to see screaming, half clad, 9 year old brothers tearing through their tea party. I know you think about the numbers that don’t add up, the money that’s not there to pay the bills, buy medicines, pay therapists, buy special foods, and toys and … pay special sitters. Who then has time or energy to really think about what’s happening at work? Or even to think about getting satisfying work or starting a business or increasing the scope of the project you are on? I didn’t. I was shrinking inside and didn’t know how to do anything about it.

 

The body’s response to stress like this creates a cocktail of hormones to handle the potential threat that you are responding to. If you had been facing a lion or tiger, these hormones would be very useful. You would have laser focus and limited access to your higher-level thinking and decision-making functions. Your body would be prepared to act, and you would have incredible strength and energy for the task ahead. In most of the stressful situations that we face, this bio-chemical cocktail serves very little useful purpose, but the narrowed focus and limited access to higher order brain functions means that the thinking, reasoning part of our brain is not available. Especially, the mid prefrontal cortex. If you place your thumb right between your eyebrows, in the spot some refer to as the third eye, you’re touching the location of the mid prefrontal cortex. This part of the brain is responsible for integrating and coordinating many brain regions, and for emotional balance. When this part of the brain takes a back seat, awareness, quality decision making and a general sense of well-being all quickly follow. You feel bad and it’s hard to think about what to do to change it. Sound familiar?

 

Being productive means that you are able to use your energy in the ways you want, and create the results you are after…