Among the countless hormones and neurotransmitters in the body, noradrenaline (often referred to as norepinephrine) is a critical chemical messenger which effectuates the transmission of signals across and between nerve cells. It’s an integral part of the nervous system and plays a crucial role in our stress responses.
It's, by all accounts, the most critical peak-performance-inducing hormone.
Neuroscience has recently begun uncovering the benefits of understanding norepinephrine as a catalyst for various cognitive functions — alertness, focus, memory — and the way in which it regulates blood pressure/flow throughout our system.
Things become more interesting when we consider the cascading effectuations brought about the body’s natural release of noradrenaline — blood flow and oxygen is increased to the musculature to afford greater strength and speed; glycogen in the liver is converted to glucose to deliver more energy to the physiological system; the lungs open up more allowing for better breathing and oxygenation into the blood and muscle systems; the heart pumps faster and the pupils dilate (allowing more light to improve vision).
In effect, the body goes into a state of optimal performative output.
Unfortunately, such changes are typically brought about during a fight-or-flight response mechanism to an imminent threat — not something that's voluntarily engaged in an effort to max out conditioning or achieve better results in a sportive event.
But from the way the body reacts, and from all the internal changes at play, there’s much to be gained from understanding how this all works, and especially from understanding the importance of nonadrenaline / nonepinephrine on performative potential.
So can we voluntarily increase norepinephrine, and, if so, how?
The short answer, is yes; the long answer is, well, long.
There are the tried and tested usual ways - better sleep, better diet, better exercise.
Then there are the more dedicated maneuvers - meditation, external-stimulation (i.e. music, an audience, competition), holistic hormone balancing acts of all kinds.
And then there's downright supplementation, which may seem appealing on its face but is only half the battle. (Borealism is currently partnered with Endorf to formulate a pre-workout in this regard).
But, ideally, we'd want to get a bit more creative.
Short of actually tricking ourselves into believing we’re being attacked, we have to consider where meaning and passion fit in the equation, along with all the other software-centric variables and intangibles.
The elite level athletes we see pushing the envelopes of human capability — they’re able to do so because their level of passion is unlike that of a regular participant. To them, every caught or dropped ball means the world; every effort under 110% is going to fester with them for much longer than it would the average person. They generate meaning behind their performative output to an extent that's almost unimaginable to most people in pursuit of, say, aesthetic ambition or financial compensation.
So maybe we shouldn't seek the easiest or fastest way to increase our levels of nonepinephrine - instead, we should determine what thebestway is.
Among the fast-track solutions, we want consider the scenic route.
Consider the goals we set — why we set them. Consider the motivation we employ and why it increases or diminishes. Consider all of the elementals behind purpose, intention, passion.
Why do we do what we do? Why do we not give it our all when do it? Why do we want what we're after?
It’s far too easy to get saddled down by routine and find ourselves engaging with certain things out of habit. Occasionally, we may be prompted to look beyond the habitual tendencies — say, if we’re moved by a performance or spurred by a health-scare.
But for those who freely navigate the in-between — for those who incessantly seek to redefine their limits of what they know to be physically or mentally possible, they’re the ones who are often rewarded with the scintillating realizations that we can do much more than we thought possible if we reconfigure the deeper things — the subconscious ideations or standards we operate atop.
Effectively, the more meaning[fulness] we generate, the more our body responds the way we idealize it to (the more we access hormones like norepinephrine), and the more we get out of, well, everything we do.