the brain-body connection: flat tired

May 5, 2016

The alarm clock rings or buzzes. It could scream for all that matter, as the last thing you want to do is heed its call. Is it because of a lack of sleep or the insurmountable day that promises to stare right back as soon as you confront it?

You’re in a meeting or have gone to give a presentation or are taking a test or have an upcoming interview… or an entire rowboat of possible ors. It’s just not happening. Your energy level is low. You feel ambivalent. You’re just plain flat. Is it because you’re tired, or does it betray a lack of excitement for the task at hand?

The brain-body connection is at once remarkably complex and patently simple. You’re about to play a double-header on the last day of a long season, but you get to the stadium two hours early to take extra batting practice because you want to hone your swing in advance of the playoffs. You’re about to give a concert after a long day of travel, but your technique isn’t just where you’d like to see it. So you go right to the performing-arts center to get in an extra hour of practice beforehand. One of your patients comes in for emergency surgery, but this comes right after a grueling six-hour operation during which, while successful, you dropped five pounds on the effort. You’ve come home after a 14-hour day at work and would gladly sign over your house for a good night’s sleep. Yet your son needs help

The celebrated neurologist and writer Oliver Sacks, who recently learned that he has terminal cancer, offers a fascinating perspective in seeking to live the “richest, deepest, most productive way I can.”

These examples and countless others speak of loving what you do, whether as a parent or professional. The stimulation of that kind of passion #enables you to perform in ways the body would otherwise categorically refuse.

Feeling flat? Terribly tired? Do what you love, then take advantage of energy reserves that surely shine.