October 12, 2015

We all possess it, we all need it but we really don’t understand it. We have all heard of the term “adrenaline junkies” and we think of thrill seekers like parachuters and extreme sport performers.  What does it really mean?

Adrenaline is the hormone in our body that helps us react to fright and flight situations.   The brain signals the adrenal glands to release adrenaline and other hormones directly into the blood stream.  The response is immediate to systems in the body and there is a physical boost along with an increase of strength and speed and the ability to decrease pain. This surge of energy is the adrenaline rush.

There is a big difference between the fight or flight syndrome and stressful situations that are not dangerous. When there is a non-dangerous stressful situation the body reacts differently.  The adrenal glands will produce more glucose and may cause the body to feel edgy and irritable. Doing something with physical assertion will help relieve this feeling.

I believe we would all benefit largely as a society if we were able to harness this adrenaline rush into something positive.  I have my fears, such as public speaking, sky diving, swimming in the ocean, riding a large motorcycle…. those are fears and phobias that I may or may not attempt to face.

Trying to use ad adrenaline to your advantage can be a key to conquering your fears.  The skill comes in to how to harness your emotions, so the adrenaline can work it magic. For instance, you are in a situation when you have to confront somebody who makes you uncomfortable. Your fear might stop you dead in your tracks but if you are able block out the emotional response for a moment, the adrenaline with give you a surge of energy and exhilaration that can be to your benefit. The adrenaline rush will give a boost of confidence that will help you break that swarm of fear.

A lot of sport coaches realize that in the beginning of a contest there is a big rush of energy and adrenaline and they should try to use that for a quick jump start on an opponent.  The crowd at an event drives the edginess and nervousness to a high level and when the contest begins, the adrenaline zips through the athletes’ veins.  How that adrenaline rush is used can be the difference in a good beginning and sometimes the difference in the outcome.

I personally use my adrenaline in public situations that cause me fear and anxiety. I force myself to block out the fear for a fleeting moment and project myself into the situation.  The adrenaline does its thing to light my internal fuse and I can approach the situation with a little more swagger.  Next time you find the dance floor empty but know you are an awkward dancer, go for it and let it happen. Your adrenaline will carry you far as you want it, people may look and stare, but you will not regret your decision.