Coping: With Monday Morning Brain Optimization

OK, the alarm goes off and you’re laying in bed wondering “What now?  Another Monday?”

Ah…perhaps, or perhaps a very different kind of week.  At least that’s what I tell myself when I get up on days like this, full moon still lighting up the yard like Vacaville prison lights.

How to do it then?

There are only a couple of small things that need to change (inside your head) in order to have an entirely different kind of week, I’ve found.  One is having crystal clarity of purpose, which is sort of like the whole book that Gary Keller wrote:  Picking out the ONE medium-sized thing you are 100%, unstoppably committed to getting done this week, and doing it.

The other is to “own” how you feel.

A lot of this “how you feel” stuff is pretty easily nailed down because a lot of it flow from consciously optimizing how your body and brain work. 

Everyone’s got an optimized state which they can achieve if they simply makes notes on, and use, the tools which are readily at hand for most folks.

I can tell you what my routine is in the morning, but I’m not sure it will help you, but there are some basics which may advance the cause a bit.  So here’s my morning”start-up” checklist:

1.  I try to get eight hours of sleep.  Not a lot more, but seldom less than seven.  There’s a optimum sleep amount for everyone and for me, 7 1/2 to 8 1/2 hours is ideal.  Some people work a lot better on more.  Elaine’s a 9-hour person.  And I know people who get along on as little as 5-6 hours on a continuous basis.

2.  I have a morning routine for meds, vits, and a bit of food:  It’s up, pass the overnight recycling liquids, dress, pills with water, half a cup of coffee while checking markets and breaking news headlines, and then finishing off the morning’s recycling with solids. 

3.  A couple of bits of something in the stomach.  This morning it was the egg whites from a couple of hardboiled eggs.  Other mornings it can be a slice of cheese and a slice of apple, just something really light to give the stomach something to work on.

4.  After that, it’s a 16-ounce coffee cup and over to the office.  The coffee is decaf (2 tablespoons) with a heaping teaspoons of Kona hard stuff (from my friend Hank in Hawaii).  I’ve learned that if I go any heavier on the Kona, the BP will get up into the 125-127 range.  Without it, the BP will be in the 115-120 range.  And pure Kona?  Well, the scatter chart says 135 is common with what’s now about 20-oz of high octane.

If this sounds a bit obsessive, yes, I suppose it is.  But getting the most out of a body and mind is not something that just happens.  Starving until you get a McMuffin is not my cuppa joe.

5.  When I get into the office, after a bit of dry food for the cats, is check the temperature.  I think best when the ambient temperature is 65F.  Any warmer than that and I get, well, just not as sharp.  Any colder?  Well, then the number of typos seems to increase as the finger dexterity is somewhat temperature-related.

6.  A check of ionizer is done, as well:  It is on, or did I turn it off while at the electronics workbench the previous day?  Blowing ozone in your face is not a good idea, but having a modest ionizer?

This is another one of those things which most people don’t understand  or pay any attention to:  Levels of ionization may have a HUGE impact on how you feel.

There’s an easy test you can give yourself, to find out if that’s you, or not.  Simply think back on some of the more pleasurable experiences in your life.  If you come up with things like “outside after a thunderstorm”, at the ocean with crashing waves, waterfalls, really looking forward to the daily shower (best in morning, again), then you may be ion-sensitive.

The whole detail level is in Ion Effect: How Air Electricity Rules Your Health by Fred Soyka and Alan Edmonds.  It’s an older book (1979) and in it, you’ll meet up with the Meltemis, Santa Anas, and Siroccos that are the positive ion winds around the world.  These are highly correlated to people active nutty and, sadly, in some cases suicidal.

A home or office ionizer doesn’t have to be terribly expensive.  Something like the FIVE STAR FS8088 Ionic Air Purifier Pro Ionizer Cleaner with UV, new runs less than $60.

7.  I don’t run incense, most of the time, but if you’re serious about brain optimization, the reason aromatherapy has a decent following, is there’s something there.  Incense is fairly inexpensive, and if you won’t mind people thinking you’re covering up a doobie or something, it can also add to mental clarity.  If they ask, tell them not to worry until you break out the patchouli.

Musk is something cited as a “balance and order” aid, Lotus is good for heightened intelligence, and vanilla might be good starting points to experiment with.

This may seem like it’s a bit elaborate, but these little “personal findings” continue throughout the day.

8.  Breakfast, more and more, is becoming a high protein affair.  Toast is down to a couple of days a week, and in its place, beans and meat, meat and eggs, eggs and beans or beans and cheese are becoming favored.

Here’s why:  I discovered in making personal notes about gout that one of the reasons I tend to run my body chemistry set “close to the line” is that there’s a mental place, just short of gout which is absolutely amazing.  I can work at what are (even to me) impressive rates.  If I modify the diet to get back too quickly to the  other side of a gout attack, my mental clarity fades./

No, I don’t get “stoopid” – it’s just that edge is gone.

The mind is a marvelous tool, and keeping it sharp and ready for action is (since everyone is different) a matter of experimental.

But for me, the “right” mix (since most of my work is done between 5 AM and 3 PM) follows this pattern with the carbs and veggies around noon and a high protein meal (fish and veggies is great!) for an early dinner with a glass of wine and then being up for several hours after eating so as not to go to bed on a full stomach.  That’s just asking for acid reflux, restful sleep, and putting on weight.

So there you have it.  Something you can do this week:  Optimize your brain a bit.  Watch television which focuses on thinking, even if it’s just episodes of Elementary, and see if you can’t find the time to do a Google search on “brain food” to see what things you can do to improve you’re brain function.

No, you’re not going to “Go Albert” overnight – it can take a couple of weeks to notice the difference.  A new route of research I’m into now involves seeing how I respond to a low glycemic index diet – you can find odds and ends about that around the ‘net, too.

If you’ve found any other ways to “brain optimize” (exercise and fresh air are givens, of course) please send them along.  If we get any worthwhile suggestions, look for more on this “brain optimization” stuff.  Nuts for memory and broccoli for cognition and vitamin K, for example.

The most important part, is to keep detailed notes on your experiments and give every morning’s “brain-check” (done about mid morning, which for me is right after my column is done) on a 1-100 scale (100 being high) and change variables for a week each and see if there’s any change.  It’s surprising how quickly things like excessive carbs, cals, or booze shows up in slightly lower scores over time.

You won’t have “best I’ve ever felt” every day, but you can move the numbers around and if you go through life doing that, it’s a pretty safe bet most of your coworkers won’t do it, so progressing upward becomes a lot easier.

Cream rises to the top, as they say.  Petty office politics, nepotism, and corporate bullshit aside, it goes without saying.

Progress!  In Airports?

As any long-time reader knows, I have been quite critical in the past of the crackdown in security around airports.  But when someone in TSA gets something right, I figure it deserves public mention far and wide.  Here’s a note from Arizona reader AJ who I reckon is referring to Phoenix’s Sky Harbor airport…

I have just returned from Mexico into our border state here in Arizona and there were some surprises, this time. As I de-planed  on my way to escalators down to  immigration  I was astonished to see that our normally stark, vacant and officious  corridors  of totally blank walls were now decorated with colorful art works having to do with our beautiful state.

As I moved through customs to the baggage claim area , sniffer dogs who patrol the luggage carousel were not there. Upstairs at terminal B I was met with more TSA agents than I had ever remembered stationed at that location..and apparently their tiresome queues had been simplified for passenger convenience and  numerous agents exuded a totally unfamiliar aura of  warmth and friendly welcome … as I proceeded on through to the security area, no one was encouraged to pass through  their toxic scanners, and a friendly sounding agent kindly informed us that we no longer were required to remove shoes and belts, computers can now remain in their casing and liquids and gels need not be separated from our belongings.  

While it could be that the recent shooting at LAX by a seriously pissed off citizen prompted some serious re-evaluation of an agency that has greatly offended and alienated our  good citizens who are just now beginning to push back… with cell phone cameras and now guns…from  increasing reports of invasive, humiliating attempts to intimidate innocent passengers, especially people of color, pregnant women and nursing mothers,small children,  elderly and disabled. And it could also be that this new face of  TSA is only a pilot project at  Phoenix airport or only one terminal at that airport…time will tell….

But like I said, this seems to be progress and hope it goes viral.

Like the old self-abuser said when asked why he was beating himself: “It feels so good when I stop…” 

Totalitarian Lite seems to feel that way, too. But we’re not complaining.

Peak Oil, Like It Or Not…

A number of readers sent me proverbial “poison pen” emails a while back when I pushed out some of the numbers from my friend Oilman2 which suggested that while fracking and the new generation of oil fields in the Dakotas, the born-again activity out in West Texas and some promising drills up in Utah look good for the moment, the reality was likely to be that we really are at Peak Oil and that shortly, the “last train out” on cheap solar, low energy input agriculture, along with several other life-changers (ultra high mileage, very small cars) will become de rigueur.

Expect it to be a five to seven year “saw-tooth” of good news and bad as we finish off the oil that’s easy to get.

Ure nuts!” was the general thrust – and accusations followed even more harsh, particularly as we’ve been pointing out that earthquake (not to mention pollution of ground water) are also the unhappy byproducts of fracking.

On point?  Reader Paul spied this:

“Frack This: …studies are proving fracking IS causing earthquakes in ngas states, so they have the Madrid all loosened up now and this :  $100 M in natural gas being burned off monthly in ND.

, I am not concerned with the money lost but the number of these burn off valves (estimated in the thousands or tens of thousands one can hardly be sure, with the uses of psyops operatives in local areas calming folks saying all is well….SO question is now why are they deliberately heating the atmosphere artificially and blaming it on human activity, we are a cancer on the earth I think their mantra is…there must be millions of these worldwide….why I don’t know but from what I saw in the sky about 300 ft from my eyeballs and about 300 feet up was so freaking big…I didn’t even see the whole thing, it could have been the tail end or half who knows but big enuff to scare the shit out of me…..lizards like heat so who knows anymore…

What about abiotic oil? was another common poison pen topic.  OK, sure, maybe it’s real, maybe not, but at what kind of level?  You put money in a bank account for 100,000 years and take it all out in 100 years?  Ha!  the numbers simply don’t wash no matter what.  Can it keep up the kind of well-sucking we need to keep up to feed and fuel 7-billion people? 

Not no, but hell no.

Oilman2 is sitting on a rig out in the Gulf at the moment, with a bit down several thousand feet and between the 12-hour rig shifts, where he still finds time to put emails like this in the inbox:

Remember I told you about decline rates? The drill or die way of new tech drilling  methods?

Read this link…”The Coming Bust of the Great Bakken Oil Field.”

These numbers are probably “forward looking”….

But sobering, nevertheless.

And in terms of planning a strategic life?  Investing in an ultra-insulated home, 50 MPG plus transportation, living within walking or driving distance of work?  All make sense now and, if things evolve as expected, some combination of these (and other) minimalist strategies now, will result in lowest operating costs in the future.

And that means what?  Higher disposable income down the road.

What key is to notice that sacrificing in the short-term in order to achieve the long-term gain, is an idea that never goes out of style.  Roustabouts, rig monkeys, and drilling engineers see it, yet it’s filtered. 

Keep an eye on the M&M’s – the Millennials  & Minimalists…they are the coming wave and their instincts are set to serve them well.

OK, off to a full week of adventuring…more tomorrow.  Write when you break even…