RIDE THE CORTISOL! Training for Warriors Portland


Every morning, humans across the globe feel a similar phenomenon. When the dawn comes, each human is spurred to action by their own biological clock. Some individuals possess a rhythm that keeps them asleep for a few hours later (night owls), while others greet the morning with an unsettling amount of joy (morning larks). Regardless of personal tendencies, the common denominator is cortisol.

"5 more minutes, please!"  by Christopher Michel   Creative Commons   Attribution 2.0 Generic  https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Pug_lying_in_bed_with_its_head_on_the_pillow.jpg

"5 more minutes, please!" by Christopher Michel  Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Pug_lying_in_bed_with_its_head_on_the_pillow.jpg


Cortisol is a “stress” hormone associated with the sympathetic nervous system.

It governs the doings of things. If this were 50,000 years ago, cortisol is what gets you out of the cave to do your urgently important hunting and gathering.

While our generation doesn’t need to urgently leave the home and kill our own food, our body is still generating cortisol in the same diurnal tradition of using all the daylight for what it is worth. The result is a rising intensity about the tasks of the day, regardless of how mundane our labors may be.

An example from my own life from the not-too-distant past starts out simple.

My eyes glide open while I lie awake in bed. At first, I’m very sleepy, and then I’m awake. I’m still in bed, because I don’t HAVE to be “up” for another hour. As I lie in bed, I get to thinking about everything that I must do that day. Nothing dramatic, I had only a few work and social tasks floating around in my head. These thoughts become louder and louder, eventually giving me the impression that not only are the deadlines for all of my tasks NOW, but they are now equally important! Confronted with these intense ideas, I don’t know where to begin, and anxiety builds…

The polar opposite of that day is the very next day.

Same workload... only when I wake up, I simply leap out of bed and put on my socks and shoes. I make breakfast, drink water, and get ready to face the world. I haven’t thought for one second about the tasks in front of me, but I am already confident.

The key with handling cortisol...

...which is only rising in response to your environment (daylight, workload, physical/emotional stress) is to not think too much. The energy is there for you to literally work with, so USE it!

Get your feet moving, and you should drift towards the tasks which are intuitively more important. If you’re not doing that, then make a list; prioritize them by urgency and importance. Start from the top and work your way down.

I have heard that Buddhist Monks are told to not lie in bed. They can only be in bed if they are sleeping, and that once they awaken, they must get up and get going. Even if this isn’t the case when it comes to the Monks in Siem Riep, this philosophy has done me nothing but good.