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Is your body budgeting impacting your performance?

Can you guess what caused my readiness score to drop from a peak of 97 and an average of 86 to 74?

In my previous newsletters I have referred to the importance of managing your ‘body budget’ for your physical and mental health.

Lisa Feldman Barrett defines body budget as the brain’s prediction of how much energy the body needs to maintain its physiological systems and perform various activities.  The brain can over or under predict causing an imbalance.

 A key ingredient in this prediction process is interoception- the brain’s representation of all sensations from inside your body (heart rate, breathing, blood pressure, temperature, hormones, metabolism etc.

Interoception is one of the pathways of ‘Neuroception’.  Neuroception is a term coined by Stephen Porges to describe how our autonomic nervous system is constantly and automatically scanning for signals of state, danger, or life threat below our awareness. 

In Stephen Porges’s Polyvagal Theory, he describes how signals from inside us (interoception) outside us (exteroception) and from between nervous systems (relational) impact our felt sense of safety moment to moment and direct our emotions, psychological stories and behaviour.

These signals form an autonomic equation, and answer the question in this moment am I safe enough?

When cues of safety outweigh cues of danger, connection with others is possible, options appear, and new stories emerge and positive neuroplastic change is available.

When cues of danger outweigh cues of safety, survival strategies activate, and you get stuck in a survival story, reinforcing existing neural pathways that keep you stuck.

So how can you use this information to help yourself and others?

If you feel yucky, many self-help books will have you focus on changing your mind, but this approach misses a crucial step, apply what we know about how our body state influences our mood, emotions, and behaviour.

Take a minute to contemplate this question...

What needs to happen to ensure you have the worse ‘body budget’ ever…

Here’s my list...

·      Not drinking enough water

·      Drinking too much coffee or drinking it too late in the morning

·      Working late -for me this is past 6pm, on Tuesday, due to times zones, I worked to 8.30pm, this impacted my quality of sleep and and therefore my readiness, hence the lower score.

·      Not exercising

·      Exercise too much especially late in the day.

·      Going to bed late

·      Sleeping less than 7.5 hours

·      Drinking alcohol- even one glass of wine impacts my HRV.

·      Spending too much time on social media – yes, including LinkedIn!

·      Eating processed foods especially if they are high in refined sugar.

·      Overeating

·      Spending too much time inside

·      Sitting for prolonged periods of time.

·      Spending too much time alone

·      Engaging with my energy draining psychological stories

·      Having high too expectations of myself

·      Spending time with people who I don’t feel connected with

Do any of these things resonate with you?

The most basic thing you can do to master your emotions and wellbeing is to keep your body budget in good shape. Your interoceptive network works 24/7 issuing predictions to maintain a healthy budget. This process is what influences your general feelings of pleasantness or unpleasantness and calmness or arousal (mood and energy levels.

If you want to feel good, then your brain’s predications about your heart rate, breathing, blood pressure, temperature, hormones, metabolism and so on must be calibrated to your body’s actual needs.

 If they aren’t and your body gets out of balance, then you’re going to feel yucky no matter what self-help tips you follow.

Here are my top tips for balancing your body budget

1.        Prioritise Sleep

2.        Eat foods that nourish your body and brain

3.        Move more and exercise regularly

4.        Be mindful of your posture and breathing

5.        Practice yoga

6.        Drink more water and avoid alcohol

7.        Set up regular lunch dates with friends take it in turns to pay

8.        Get morning sunlight and spend time in nature

9.        Read a compelling novel

10.  Have a massage

I know you’ve heard all this before; you know what to do but taking consistent acton it is another matter.  That’s because change is energy demanding. 

Start with one small step, repeat until it becomes easier and then automatic, then take one more step.  If you try and change too many things you will create more imbalance in your body budget.

If you would like help to rebalance your body budget so that you can feel and perform, and your best have a look at my brain health program here

If you are a coach who would like to integrate a neurobiological framework into their practice, have a look at my professional development masterclass here

If you are a business leader and what to empower your teams to optimise their performance, have a look the business leaders masterclass here.

If you just fancy and chat to find out more about any of the content I share book a free call with me here

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