THE ADRENALINE RUSH LIFESTYLE. (It is habit forming.)
Highly ambitious people tend to love the adrenaline rush, risk-taking, and rising to challenges. Unfortunately, as people progress along in life, they often become more and more successful but less able to enjoy the fruits of their labours. You have it all, but you feel too tired or too overscheduled to enjoy what you have earned. It is just not as much fun as it used to be. You may wonder how it happened. You may feel that there is nothing you can do about it now; that it is too late. There is actually plenty you can do about it. You can feel better, look better, be healthier, sleep more soundly, and so much more.
Do you run on empty, preferring the high from hunger to the “full sleepy feeling”. There’s an adrenaline thing going on when you are not eating and you are working hard and feeling edgy. “You love being on edge with that feeling of everything being sharp. It’s almost like taking uppers and having a high”. Indeed, the adrenaline rush is very much like the high you get from drugs. And it just so happens that the adrenaline rush is the high that seduces many people.
Stress hormones such as adrenaline are secreted from your adrenal glands to prepare the body for acute and chronic physical and emotional stress. Most of us have heard of the adrenal glands, but very few people understand how they function and why they are important. Your two adrenal glands are triangular-shaped organs weighing less than five grams each that rest one above each kidney. These glands-about the size of two or three pinto beans each-secrete adrenaline and other stress hormones that influence nearly every bodily function.
The release of adrenaline is roughly proportional to the intensity of a situation. In other words, the amount of stress hormones that are secreted, and at what intervals, is determined by the degree of “danger” perceived by the brain. Encountering a great white shark while on vacation would elicit a larger and longer adrenaline response than going to a surprise birthday party in your honour. The adrenaline response occurs in the time it takes to snap your fingers.
The neo-cortex of the brain supposedly differentiates humans from all other animals. It is where memory, learning, speaking, and other intellectual functions, including processing the stimuli from your world, take place. The neo-cortex is the initially registers any given experience. Beneath the neo-cortex is the limbic system, which is sometimes referred to as the emotional brain. The limbic system translates sensory input into emotion. Instantaneously, your hypothalamus registers this information. Simultaneously, the sympathetic mode of your auto nervous system reacts, causing the rapid release of adrenaline, the fight-or-flight hormone from your adrenal medulla-the inner portion of your adrenal glands.
The adrenaline response can also be secreted without an emotional trigger. You could be in a serious car accident and be unconscious, and your adrenals would be pumping adrenaline like crazy in an attempt to manage your blood pressure and to otherwise stabilize your body in a life-threatening situation.
Although fear and danger are the greatest motivators of the adrenaline response, all of your excitatory experiences result in what is referred to as a rush. In other words, experiences that are stimulating, such as getting an unexpected bonus at work, result in this high. unstimulating experiences, such as vegging out in front of the T.V or ironing, generally do not. The sensation of the adrenaline rush is caused by the release of three factors into your system at the same time:(1) energy from sugar stored in your liver and muscles; (2) the feel-good neurotransmitter dopamine; and (3) internally created opiates called endorphins. With the release of these three factors you suddenly feel energized, fully alert, and euphoric.
The adrenaline response dates back tens of thousands of years to when the fight-or-flight response meant the difference between a prehistoric human’s life or death. This survival reaction was appropriate thousands of years ago because it was a response to dramatic danger-like being chased by a wild animal that was intent on eating you.