Everything that is psychological is also physical!
Your brain evolved to keep your body alive and well so it can pass on its genes bottom line!
Your brain is a very are expensive organ. That three-pound blob between your ears costs you about 20% of your entire metabolic budget making it the most expensive organ you have. That’s because as a human we have multiple bodily systems, which all have to be coordinated to make use of the same limited resources. For this you need to have an organizer, your brain and it coordinates by running a body budgeting system.
Your brain of course isn’t budgeting money. It’s budgeting, glucose, salt, water, oxygen, and all the nutrients that your brain needs to keep you alive and well. You can think about some of the things that you do as deposits like eating healthily and sleeping. You can think of some of the things that you do as withdrawals like moving your body or learning something new. And some withdrawals are like investments for example exercise. Exercise even though it’s a withdrawal, the brain knows it’s good for its health because its supports memory & attention so it encourges you to do it.
Your brain is a prediction machine. That’s because it works on prediction not stimulus-response as it's a much more energy efficient way of keeping you alive and well. A prediction is your brain changing the firing of its own neurons in advance of receiving sense data. For instance, when you are thirsty you drink a glass of water and you’re not thirsty anymore. But this is prediction in operation because it takes 20mins for that water to reach your bloodstream and adjust your system which in turn tells your brain that there’s now more hydration there. So your brain is predicting based on past experience in the world that drinking a glass of water will rebalance your hydration levels.
Everything you feel and experience is in your brain. Your brain is always sending predictions to your body to control it and your body is always sending sense-data back to your brain. When your brain receives data from the body or from the world if it’s predicted that data, then it’s firing doesn’t change. But when things go on in your body or in the world that is not predicted, your brain has an opportunity to learn that new information and update its predictions.
But learning is metabolically expensive and in fact it’s one of the most expensive things your brain can do. So if you are metabolically encumbered, your brain simply will learn less well. From a body budget perspective, it the equivalent of deficit spending. It’s usually not a single big spend but more like lots of little tiny causes which all influence each other. Maybe your diet isn’t the best or you aren’t drinking enough water or you aren’t exercising. Some maybe outside your control like an accident or financial challenges. But either way when something adverse happens you pay a little tax. These little taxes, if you don’t take care of them, will add up over time.
Take the example of stress. In its simplest form it’s your brain preparing your body to make a metabolic outlay in other words - a cost. And most of the time this is the adaptive correct thing to do for example we need a stress reaction each time to breath in. But if you are under chronic or long term stress then it makes sense that your brain will 'continually' predict stress so it can kick in your nervous system to keep you safe either through our fight/flight or shut down systems. The real trouble happens when you simply run out of energy to learn from any prediction error and so the brain just keeps on predicting the same survival needs. Then your body runs out of energy for rest, digest & growth and it starts to get sick.
Your job now is to be the architect of your life in a way that presents the maximum opportunity for wellbeing.
By starting NOW to do things in advance or after the fact that can improve your wellbeing – you're making a deposit into your savings account of performance.
So sleep, eat & exercise well and see that account balance grow!
If this sparked an interest & you would like to find out a bit more about how you can build your resilience and perform at your best, then…I'd love to hear from you!
Give Frances a call on 085 862 3009