After the Adrenalin - Living the Let Down
Do you experience post-performance let-down after a highly focused activity?
Our hearts are pumping wildly as the blood courses through our veins. We lengthen our stride one more time as we round the last bend of the race. The finish line is the goal, and before we know it, the audience has risen to its feet. The applause deafens as the ribbon is broken. The race has been won! The victor's arms rise triumphantly as the runners gather around, offering congratulations.
The sweat pours from our brows as our chest's continue to heave, gasping for more oxygen to clear our minds and slow our pounding hearts. Some lean forward, others lie flat on the ground, and a few simply walk around, hoping to cool off.
Gradually, the excitement of the race is replaced by picking up and putting away. Colorful uniforms are exchanged for street clothes, slaps on the back give way to honking horns from harried drivers. The brilliant colors that were once flashing before our eyes are now replaced by a dozen shades of black and grey.
The race is over, but the real test of life has just begun. We have to live with the let-down. Whether a writer, businessman, salesman, athlete, musician, or actor, this phenomena is a part of the reality of our lives. The focused effort required for peak performance was a total body experience. The let down is nothing less.
The following issues are common:
- Hunger and thirst
- Feelings of emptiness
- Blurred personal boundaries
- Desire for physical intimacy
In this weakened state, we enter our homes hoping for a few moments of peace, only to be met head on by our household responsibilities. Our family members need love and attention. There are decisions to be made, bills to pay, and activities to attend.
In order for us to deal with the immediate issues at hand, we have to muster strength from somewhere. When the body is exhausted, we tend to default to one of three ways to keep us going: anger, chemicals, or escape behavior.
If we are impatient, irritable, or feeling self-critical, anger is usually the result. It increases our adrenaline momentarily but also increases our level of aggression. We end up bullying our way around. Unfortunately, our needs are met at the expense of our relationships with others.
If hunger, thirst, and feelings of emptiness are forefront, we turn to substances such as sugar, caffeine, or alcohol. With the ingestion of these chemicals, our blood sugar increases for a time, giving the illusion of increased strength. The high in these cases is only temporary, however, and we surely end up lower than we had been previously.
When exhaustion is accompanied by flash-backs, blurred personal boundaries and a desire for physical intimacy, we may turn to excessive media use, pornography, or step out with those who are not part of our immediate family. We try to fill the void with some type of mind numbing activity. This, too, has dire consequences for our family members, as we are not available when we are most needed, and end up doing things that we may regret later.
And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.— Ether 12:27*
There is a better way
What is the answer? How do we deal with these complex issues in light of what we must do on a daily basis? There is a way. It requires us to relinquish the desire for control of the outcome by depending upon our own strength. In other words, we have to admit our inability to solve the problem alone. We can:
- Accept and acknowledge the let-down as a time of weakness
- Humbly turn to God for assistance
- Allow his grace to work in our lives to bless others
In our moment of greatest physical and mental weakness, we can turn to God. As we do so, we acknowledge that we cannot make it on our own. In spite of all our knowledge and experience in the ways of the world, we do not have what it takes to save ourselves.
Reliance upon God allows us to be infused with his grace, or enabling power, giving us strength beyond our own. Tapping into the strength of God's power in our moment of weakness illuminates the path ahead as much as plugging in an electric lamp and turning on the switch lights our way in a darkened room. We see things we did not see before, and we are able to set boundaries for ourselves that keep us tuned in to the needs of immediate families.
Change of perspective
When we connect to God, whole new vistas of opportunities open before us. We find ways to make life more meaningful and serve our loved ones in spite of how low we may be feeling at the moment. We find that we are able to:
- Speak kindly to others
- Give affection generously
- Listen with love
- Patiently teach
We are enabled to give our family members quality time, even though we are physically drained and weak. We keep our perspective and look for ways to build and strengthen rather than belittling and tearing down.
These positive choices allow us to rest more peacefully when we lie down at night. Our bodies are not encumbered with addictive chemicals. Our minds are not filled with regret, remorse, and the ill affects of behaviors that have damaged our precious family relationships. In essence, we have greater peace of mind.
Build feelings of worth
The Emotional Survival Handbook teaches us that during the low points in our lives, we would do well to listen for messages in our environment that build our feelings of self-worth. These messages are called affirmations. Like emotional vitamins, affirmations give us strength in the form of truth. Each truth is a vital nutrient that builds our sense of self-worth.
Affirmations reinforce our emotional health up in such a way that the circumstances of our lives don't wear it down. We are able to recognize and refute distorted thinking patterns, make wise decisions, and use our talents and abilities to serve others. The following are examples:
- "I am needed" - when family members come to us for love, support, and companionship, we realize that we are needed, and that we have a purpose for being.
- "I am the gift" - our presence is a blessing in the lives of others. They respond with happiness when we smile, give affection, and show our love for them.
- "I build" - we have the opportunity to give strength and help to others, thus building their feelings of self-worth at the same time as we strengthen our own.
The greater our feelings of self-worth, the better able we are to rise above the difficulty of our current circumstances. The adrenaline low we are experiencing becomes just another incident in the passing moments of our lives, and we are able to see a higher purpose for living. We make those choices that are best for us and our families in the long run rather than those that please us in the moment.
*The book of Ether is in The Book of Mormon, published by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
© 2015 Denise W Anderson