How many of you love to feel busy? It feels good. It is nice to be wanted and needed. There is a physiological reason why you like to feel busy. Your body is hard-wired to react to stress in ways meant to protect you against threats from predators and other aggressors. Such threats are rare today, but that does not mean that life is free of stress.
On the contrary, you undoubtedly face multiple demands each day, such as shouldering a huge workload, making ends meet, and taking care of your family. The problem is that your body doesn’t know the difference between a predator/aggressor attack and day-to-day demands.
When you encounter a perceived threat, your hypothalamus, a tiny region at the base of your brain, sets off an alarm system in your body. Through a combination of nerve and hormonal signals, this system prompts your adrenal glands, located atop your kidneys, to release a surge of hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol. We get a natural hit of cortisol. Cortisol is good for our body when dealing with low blood glucose as it increases blood sugar through gluconeogenesis.

Why does that matter? When our blood sugar is higher, we feel good. Just think of how you felt the last time you ate your favorite dessert. I bet you had plenty of energy! The problem is not the cortisol. The problem is when we stay in a constant state of busyness or stress; we feed our body a continual diet of cortisol and adrenaline. We are simply overmedicating our bodies by doing this. Don’t get me wrong, there is a season in everyone’s life with busy and less busy times. However, when we repeatedly put ourselves in the busy category, we end up in what researchers call cognitive overload.

Cognitive overload is the total mental effort used in the working memory. Symptoms of being in cognitive overload include indecisiveness, anxiety or agitation, moodiness, irritability, feeling overwhelmed, loneliness, and general unhappiness.
In a world that is always on, we must find a better way to relax. Our bodies are not intended to be in flight or fight mode constantly. What are some ways that we can put ourselves in a better place?
Block your time to work on projects- we often will task swap (formerly called multi-tasking) throughout our day. While doing this may be getting more done, researchers have proven that we can’t multi-task- we are simply starting and stopping projects consistently. Dedicated focus on one task allows completion more rapidly.
Decide what success for your day is. I usually define the top 3 things I want to accomplish in a day and consider the day a success if I get those done.
Plan time to be unplugged to do things that regenerate you.
Since each one of us is unique, working with a Coach can help you design the specific mechanisms that will help you decrease your cognitive load and increase your management of stress.