Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Are you an Adrenaline Addict?

I heard the term "adrenaline addict" used the other day in a workshop I attended and have been thinking about it ever since. So I did some research and found some great information about adrenaline and how it can impact our quality of life and am excited to share it with you.

In lay person terms, basically adrenaline is a hormone produced by the two adrenal glands located on top of our kidneys. These glands secrete adrenaline directly into the blood stream. Adrenaline is then carried by the blood to all the different parts of the body. It increases your heart rate, raises your blood pressure, and is associated with carrying blood away from certain areas of your brain and internal organs and into your muscles. As a result, adrenaline can increase speed and strength and decrease feeling pain. A large amount of adrenaline released into your system all at once causes what is often called an adrenaline dump, rush, or surge. All of these effects are designed to prepare your body to either run away or to fight. The rush can make you feel energized or it can make you feel shaky or weak – depending on the situation causing the adrenaline to be released.

What's interesting to me is that the same three ways people react to an adrenaline rush resulting in a perceived danger situation are the same three ways people react to an adrenaline rush resulting in the need to act quickly concerning making an important decision or embarking on a complex project. Canadian self defense expert, Tony Blauer says the natural adrenline response by people reacting to a phyiscal attack are:

1. Denial: "This can't be happening"
2. Reality: "This is happening"
3. Resolve: "This is not going to happening"

In the normal course of a day, we may find ourselves in situations that bring forth the adrenaline rush unexpectedly. For example, in a work setting, you may be asked to meet an unreasonable deadline, achieve a difficult target on a project, or have a tough but necessary conversation with someone. You may be asked to make a decision that could impact your life significantly and/or compromise those closest to you. In these everyday situations, adrenaline will kick in and I believe that our natural adreline response to a physical attack is the same for these situations.

Denial – Reality – Resolve.

Patrick Lencioni, president of the Table Group, says in his essay "The Painful Reality of Adrenaline Addiction":

"Executives with adrenaline addiction are the ones always pecking away at their Blackberries during meetings, talking on their cell phones during every five-minute break from those meetings, and checking e-mail late at night. They go from meeting to meeting to meeting with no time in between for reflection or thought. Always overwhelmed, adrenaline junkies seem to have a constant need for urgency, even panic, to get them through the day. They cannot grasp the race driver's motto: you have to slow down to go fast. Instead, they keep their foot on the pedal at full throttle, convinced that any deceleration is lost opportunity."

Sound familiar? Overtime we become addicted to adrenaline – perhaps even rely on it to get us through the day. We keep going and going and going – like the energizer bunny until we come to a complete halt. That halt may result in feeling overwhelmed, tired, agitated, frustrated and in some instances manifesting further in phyiscal and mental health issues. That halt can and does have a significant and potential deterimental impact on our personal and professional lives.

So what can we do?

First, you can take the adrenaline addict assessment @

Here are some articles that you might find interesting and helpful:

Let me know what you learn and how I can support you!!!! Looking forward to hearing from you.