Your Body Budget
Did you know the brain is running a continuous budget for your body?
The brain is running a continuous budget for your body. The best way to keep a financial budget as you may know is to anticipate your financial needs before they arise and make sure you have the resources to meet them using Prediction. The Mind-Body is not budgeting money, but salt, glucose, water, oxygen and all the things our cells need to function to keep you alive and well.
Each action or process between mind and body spends resources, such as swimming, running, worrying or anxiety is like a withdrawal from your account. Actions and behaviors that replenish your resources, such as everything you eat, every time you sleep, every hug you get, or give is like a deposit. You are replenishing your body budget.
To return to our innate state of POWER one of the most valuable things we can do is honor our Mind/Body connection. To support the balance between our brain and our body it is necessary to maintain our body budget. Much like our actual bank account we can either operate from a place of sufficiency or from a place of deficiency. We can think about energy efficiency in the body like a budget. A financial budget tracks money as it is earned and spent. The energy budget of the body is no different.
At its most basic level, the brain’s main task from an evolutionary perspective is to keep you alive and well long enough to pass your genes on to the next generation and raise that generation to the place where it can pass its genes on to the next generation. However, we can experience this journey in several different ways. Part of the power of how we travel along this road is how well we manage our Body Budget.
Biologically this is called Allostasis. You may have heard of homeostasis in the body, which is a state of equilibrium, of balance within the organism. Whereas allostasis is the overall process of adaptive change necessary to maintain survival and well-being. Allostasis is a process of maintaining homeostasis through adapting change of our internal environment to meet perceived and anticipated demands. You want to have glucose available before you need it, if your brain predicts that you are going to go for a physical workout for example.
You see, your brain is monitoring every piece of information going on moment to moment in your body. If at any time, there is a deficit in your body budget you will get a signal in your awareness we call “Affect”. The deficit is generally never big. But, as animals evolved over time, we developed intricate internal systems, like respiratory systems that take in oxygen and eliminate carbon dioxide, cardiovascular systems that pump blood, and adaptable immune systems that fight infection. Systems like these make body budgeting much more challenging, less like a single bank account and more like an entire corporate account department for a sizable company. The expense you pay is always little, but it’s incremental and it’s cumulative. If you aren’t aware it will add up and you are eventually going to feel more poorly.
You can try to change your thinking, but your body has a grip on your brain. There is a conversation your brain is always having which is controlling your body. Your body is sending information from your body and its interaction with the world around you, back to your brain. Remember if we freeze the moment, your brain is representing what’s in your world and what’s in your body in that moment. That is what it uses to make the next prediction. This prediction influences what becomes your perceptions and your thoughts and totally influences your behavior. So, if your Affect (mood) is unpleasant what is your brain going to do? The brain has learned and guessed in the past. It is going to filter its prediction moving forward through this lens of unpleasant. In this moment, it’s going to direct you to something from the past, something that is like the present sensations it is interpreting, but through a filter of experiences from the past. This will influence what actions and behaviors you do next.
Do you know that uncertainty is stressful for your nervous system?
Now, stop for a minute and reflect on how often you are getting replenished in your life? When do you feel lifted or energized by what you do or who you surround yourself with? What if you don’t replenish, you don’t sleep well, don’t eat well or you live in social ambiguity (uncertainty)? Uncertainty is very hard on a nervous system. Really expensive. How well we eat, how well we sleep, how much and how well we move and the impact of these activities or behaviors influence whether we are making deposits or creating expenses to our body budget.
There is empowerment to this. This balance might be freed up by just getting enough sleep or paying attention to your level of intensity on any given workout. It might be replenished by the way you manage stressful situations, thoughts, or emotions. It might be freed up by providing yourself with new opportunities for different experiences. This allows us to direct our attention to the world around us and expand rather than contract inside of ourselves.
But if you are running a body budget deficit. As we said above, your body has a grip on your brain. It’s not simply a matter of willpower or thinking your way out of this disruption of physiology, disruption in your body budget. The solution is to develop resilience and perceptive agility. You want to be able to create new experiences for your Mind-Body interaction. The good news is you can teach your brain to predict differently. So, again the good news is, your brain can learn to respond differently, and it isn’t that difficult to change its own wiring.
What do you do when you are running a deficit in your actual bank account? You stop spending! Right? So, what does the brain do to stop spending? It creates mental and physical fatigue, and you stop learning, brain fog sets in, and you might even stop paying attention to the world around you by isolating yourself. You will pull inward and focus on your internal mode. Then the predictions that your brain is running are based mostly on your past experiences. You’re not even adjusting to the new information coming from your environment at all. This may be the beginning of depression, or the old familiar fear-pain cycle. We can’t change the past, but we do have control of the now experience and this will influence how the brain predicts. Those new experiences will shift how the brain predicts in the next new moment, which will influence our future.
You’ve Got this!!