I have spent almost three years in Kenny Kane’s Incubator of Intentional Sustainable Growth and Human Performance (“KKIISGHP” or “Oak Park” for short). In 2019, with the incubator turned up to “high” I started pecking my way out of my shell. I tumbled out of the shards of my once-comfortable shell into a year of massive and chaotic growth. Though I count all of the experience of last year as good – it was the best year of my life, hands down – that growth has been uncomfortable. Some of it has been really uncomfortable! In the midst of all this growth, I have been experiencing some anxious feelings. These emotions are new to me and lately have been occupying a lot of my mental real estate – to the point where it has felt like my usual tools for self-regulation – mindful breathing, journaling, time in nature, working out – were not really helping me cope with the anxiety. In fact, in the last few weeks my anxiety ramped up significantly and I was acutely aware of just how ungrounded and unsteady I was feeling.
But recall my blog post from last week: awareness trumps habit. Routinized behaviors can support growth, but routine itself only takes you so far. What happens when you are not paying attention and your new routine suddenly looks like 1,000 milligrams of caffeine per day? Well, what can happen is that your lack of awareness meets your mindless consumption of two and one-half times the FDA’s recommended maximum daily intake of a drug which, when over-consumed, can cause anxiety, nervousness, restlessness, insomnia, excitement, psychomotor agitation, and dysphoria. Oh, right. Pay attention. Actually pay attention. Pay attention to what you are putting in your mouth, because maybe, just maybe, your anxiety is not (entirely) because of your insecurities or all the change in your life. It could be that you are overdosing on an anxiety-inducing drug and making life, which is challenging enough as is, more difficult than it needs to be.
When I finally connected the dots and realized I have been spending far too much time at coffee shops in the last few weeks, I had a good laugh with Kenny about the outrageous amount of caffeine I was consuming. And then I cut it back. Way back. I’ve been tracking my caffeine intake and keeping it to under 200 milligrams per day – enough to enjoy the ritual of drinking a coffee, but not enough to cause the unmanageable panic of three weeks ago. New habit, new ritual, but now with more awareness. The anxious thoughts are still there, sometimes, but they are far easier to manage without the added stimulus (thanks for the pun Jamie!) of stimulants.
Pay attention. (PS – This sure sounds like it is related to that pesky concept of context.)
Find your 1RM Deadlift
A) Back Squat Tango Tempo
B) 3RFR&C :30:30