Need ENERGY? My practical ways to generate adrenaline

Unfortunately, I thought that short of snorting adderal and chain smoking cigarettes, I was incapable of generating that quantity of brain juice to crank out my studies. Foolish me.

In truth, our body is a like a car with a gas pedal. Those drugs are like an angry backseat driver who reaches over to the drivers seat and PUSHES down on your leg to floor the gas. But we have an inane capability to push down harder on the gas pedal ourselves.

The constraints.

Now I first had to discover these methods because I put my body under severe stress: I am cutting weight (eating at a deficit) and pushing hard athletically, then working or studying for all the remaining hours of the day.

I cannot use food (because that contradicts my bodybuilding goals)

I cannot use stimulants (because, while they work, their side effects cause such large reverberations that impact my sleep, mental processes, and all other things)

I cannot use excessive caffeine (because I need to fall asleep at an exact time - which if I miss - destroys most of the following day)

I cannot use sugar (the blood sugar swings add a layer of difficulty in timing them correctly)

So what's the answer?

Well for a while I thought that short of conjuring willpower and energy out of thin air...I was fucked. The only way was to do it without any energy.

But...that's exactly that. If the drugs can induce it mechanically...could I manually coax the system to do it for me...ON COMMAND?

It turns out that's exactly what happens when you listen to high intensity music, or do a 100 yard sprint. External stimulus brings forth surges of dopamine and adrenaline

How to weaponize it.

I began cataloging stimuli of all forms and their effects. Like sipping random potions in a potion-shop, I began sampling things in life that fit my constraints. As soon as they had a "adderal-like" effect, I would immediately use it to crank out work/exercise/studying until the effects wore off and I went searching for more.

Things that work for me (no order)

  1. David Goggin's "Cookie Jar" method: I keep a list of times that I was slighted, betrayed, hurt. Whatever dark emotions they conjure - and I channel the anger they illicit to grind on my task (warning: AGAIN, these are just mental games! I ain't real, but it fuckin works on the subconscious )
  2. "Main Character" music playlist: I keep a playlist of songs that sound like the soundtrack of the main character of a video game. In fact, most songs are. It's no vocals, high bpm music, and no "tortured" or "pity me" sad-boy shit. This is just majestic music that make whatever I'm doing feel like the center of a movie.
  3. Positive Visualization: Big in the freediving community. Close your eyes and imagine, in real-time and vivid detail you doing the exact thing you need to be doing. Exercising, waking at 4am, grinding through that book you are writing. What's your visualization like? It's a fantasy, so if you are imagining you can imagine it with non-real characteristics. Imagine yourself blazing through it, imagine yourself smiling the entire damn time. It's a fantasy, so anxiety, "mental blocks" and all other things DON'T HAVE TO exist there. Which brings me to...
  4. Smiling: Yes, physically inducing a smile. The associations in your brain between the muscle positions for inducing a smile and the high-energy state associated with it are so strongly linked in most people that doing one induces the other. Think of it like...being touched in certain places induces sexual arousal — so smiling induces a high-energy mental state.
  5. Hypocapnia (decreasing CO2 levels in the blood) - Also called Wim Hof breathing. I generally leave it as a last resort because low CO2 levels in the blood actually DECREASE the efficient transfer of O2 from blood into the cells - this is why you can blackout and get lightheaded (the brain is being starved of oxygen), it's also why it works to induce adrenaline because your brain thinks you are dieing.
  6. High-rep exercise. Drop down and do 50 pushups. It's miserable, heart rate inducing. But once you reach the point of muscle failure, you'll be surprised to notice how you feel more awake and motivated. Sprinting, box squats and other things work too. But the easiest thing you can do in your bedroom without waking the neighbors, or putting on shoes is pushups.
  7. Hypercapnia (increasing CO2 levels in the blood) - This is lesser known - a form of Pranayama breathing. It's breathing but with an long pause holding your breath. At the right interval it's very difficult, and requires all your concentration at the CO2 levels in your blood rise and the discomfort comes - but it brings with it a profound sense of calm and soft feeling of accomplishment that I let trail into the rest of my day.
  8. Movies/Videos - I keep a log of things that I've watched that have had a profound effect on me. Certain documentaries, certain videos, certain talks. I've curated this over the years, and I reach into it like a snack bag when I need it.
  9. Books - There are certain books where I can reach two pages, get fired up, and then put the book away. This is highly personal and discovered thru Trial & Error. I found Jocko, Goggins write with the anger and intensity I need to get fired up. I literally read them up to the point I'm fired up, and then I put the book away. If I need a "top-off" mid-day I'll do that too.
  10. My own writing / recordings - In addition, I've accumulated essays and voice recordings of times when I was extremely fired up. Like a fucking squirrel burying nuts in the ground for winter, I like to bury pockets of energy from when I am feeling extremely high - for the times when I am in "winter" mode and need them. Again, trial & error for what works and what doesn't
  11. Early morning Sunlight - I'm really big on sunlight. Fuck the research papers, I just know myself and know that seeing sunlight and feeling the outdoors just makes me feel SO much better than rainy days or gloomy days. Maybe it's my biology but whatever, it works so well. And in places like Seattle, it literally kills the life in me. So I live in Bali now :D
  12. Weaponizing Social Media - This is a very specific way of using social media. Basically, after accepting that I'm a desireful creature and have intense desires when I see people having the stuff I want - I decided that I can use Instagram to create an account specifically about bodybuilding content. Then I use this in two cases
  • Right before beginning exercise, I scroll for 5 minutes and it sets my mind in the mode to give my training 100%.
  • Right before I want to do something stupid like binge eating a box of donuts, I scroll for 5 minutes and it reaffirms my goals and arrests the development of my desire.

NO OTHER TIME do I use this account. Social media is a sink of energy. I do not idly scroll. In fact, I delete the instagram app so I resist the temptation to scroll on this account other than for it's medically prescribed uses lol.

These methods work especially well when I discovered that if I eliminate certain dopamine-sinks (social media, entertainment, games, "thirst traps" on insta), everything else in my day felt sexier, more more fun. I can combine the two and like a video game, it's a +30% dopamine buff that I carry around all day.

And that's basically it. I feed off that shit multiple times a day. From the moment I wake, I go "Do I have the energy to do the shit I gotta do? No? Ok well, time to reach into my toolkit, create some energy and then channel it". Then mid-day when I'm starving, crashing from caffeine, tired, demotivated, I switch to another tool - maybe it's Music this time. Or maybe I read some excerpts from my own essays - it buys me a few more hours. Then after by the end of the day, I've exhausted and I turn to positive visualizations about the following morning - or do some hypercapnia breathing to feel accomplished and ready for bed.

Side note - My sister and I released our AI Coach as a Free beta that you can use to get persuaded to stick to your plans. You can load it up with the stuff I wrote above and then lean on the Coach to remind you of these little things when you're in a slump. You can try it out at betterai and give feedback for us to improve it :)