Neurochemicals That Make You Go Hellllllll Yeah
At Après Sessions, we are coming from a place where we constantly push ourselves, historically most often in the great outdoors, finding challenge in action sports, nudging ourselves right up to the edge and just beyond our comfort zones. We do so, not only physically and mentally, but with additional risk that instantaneously pushes the brain to produce specific neurochemicals that make you feel… well... there are no words to do that state justice.... just "Helllllll Yeah!".
Much like a “runner’s high” or being “in the zone” or the transcendent places meditation can take us, it feels amazing with the added mega-bonus feel good of gracefully riding gravity which can only truly be met in a few other select ways. But we will keep it rated PG for now.
For many of us, these experiences have saved us. For many, they become addictive and take many, athletes in particular, to a place of risking everything. We in fact lose many people to the high who can never quite get enough of the high. However, that bit of additional risk is what forces us to focus to the point where the brain drops into altered states of consciousness allowing for more creativity, much more efficient productivity, and seemingly extraordinary performance. These states of consciousness where you feel and perform your best are what some people chase for a lifetime, which can result in both positive or negative results, dependent upon checking ourselves day in and day out. With all of the research taking place as we speak, we are learning how to tap into these altered states in all realms of life in healthier and much more balanced ways for best results across the board while feeling freaking amazing.
The nitty gritty of it all is that that added bit of risk shuts down the frontal lobe of the brain so that we move away from beta brain waves (thinking, analytical, planning, assessing) toward alpha waves (calm, lucid, reflective mind, diffused awareness) and theta waves (deeper awareness, stronger intuition, from focus to meditation) that allow for a more self-trusting state of being, running on instinct, intuition, and toward best decisions.
When we are in beta brain waves, where we spend most of our days, we are thinking, analyzing, and struggling to a certain degree, and producing cortisol and norepinepherine/adrenline. These are not necessarily negatives, they are just what get us to come online, become alert and pay attention.
Then as we leave this phase, nitric oxide releases and next dopamine kicks in telling us we are onto something, our pattern recognition kicks in, this starts to feel rewarding. We follow that feeling and continue to pay attention. Endorphines follow, we start feeling really good, we feel no pain, and then there is a hit of anandamide that prompts lateral thinking. This lateral thinking is a step beyond our normal waking states of consciousness. So called downloads occur and we can connect dots in ways that we would not normally see. Breakthroughs occur. These incredible moments of arrival arise anywhere from within science to art to sport.
Why does this matter? Because the people reaching these states in balanced ways are the happiest people in the world. And most of these people have, unknowingly even, built their lives around this state of mind. This can look a lot of different ways and in fact just took me back to college days where we lived on State Street, a famous little street only a few blocks long in Baton Rouge, LA where friends in a college band penned the song, “State Street State of Mind”. While that song may not have referenced the most balanced state of mind, we have realized that this more harmonious way of living in a focused yet uber fun lifestyle is what will make this world a better place. We come together, we share, we learn, we train, we play, we create, we party, we move into a mode of being in these states as often as we can throughout each day making the time on earth its very best for you, your family, your chosen family, your friends, your teams, your life.
We all have not only the ability, but the right, to access and benefit from these neurochemicals because they are already there in our very own human design anxiously awaiting us to awaken and have some serious fun.