August 03, 2022 2 min read
What does it mean to be "mentally prepared"? How about "emotionally stable"? I think we all have a gut feeling about what these phrases mean--when we are thinking about the actions or behaviors that they imply
However, how do we GET mentally prepared? I will submit to you that the first step in being mentally prepared, emotionally available, emotionally stable . . . is to be metabolically stable and physically rested/recovered for the task.
Unsurprisingly being metabolically and physically ready comes primarily from sleep. During sleep your brain is getting rid of useless information. It is solidifying new useful information, and it is rehearsing and reliving emotional and stressful events from your life. Without quality sleep, these processes are hindered or all together lost. And, it gets worse: if things get mis-filed or mis-used during the night-time management of your thoughts and emotions, they may be permanently mis-placed. This is likely a significant component of how PTSD occurs.
You can exercise, eat right, control your stress, and do all the things "right" but, if you don't sleep well, none of those behaviors are nearly as helpful as they should/could be.
In a sense, your brain's base-line gets reset every night. We've all had the experience of life getting out of hand, and getting worse and worse every night we don't sleep well. Then we start worrying about not sleeping well, and that leads to worse sleep.
I've been saying this for over a decade. It is one of the very few things that I feel confident is "TRUE" in healthcare: Nothing will break you faster than poor sleep, and nothing will improve your life faster than getting good sleep.
It has been said that "fatigue makes cowards of us all''. Chronically poor sleep is nothing other than complete physiologic fatigue. It is the insurmountable roadblock that will crush your ambition, goals, joy, and sense of achievement.