I have decided to dedicate a post on Thursday to therapy, and offer you the many tips I have learned on the couch. They will be a good reminder for me, as well, of something small I can concentrate on. Many of them are published in my book, “The Pocket Therapist: An Emotional Survival Kit.”
I’m not talking about rap, or your tempo on the drums. I’m referring to your circadian rhythm, the internal biological clock which governs fluctuation in body temperature and the secretion of several hormones, including the evil one, cortisol.
Here is how you establish good rhythm that assists you with the whole sanity thing: you live a boring life.
You have to go to bed at the same time every night, and wake up at the same time. Preferably with the same person. You can’t befriend Australians, or if you do, you can’t visit them. Because travel, in general, and especially travel to different time zones, will throw off your circadian rhythm. During the fall and winter months, I stare into my HappyLite for an hour a day because, fragile creature that I am, my brain mourns the sunlight that it gets in the spring and summer.
Folks with seasonal affective disorder and bipolar disorder have to be especially careful to prevent disturbances in the circadian rhythm in order to keep their friends and their jobs.
And long-term disruption can actually do mega damage, like messing with the peripheral organs outside the brain, and contributing or aggravating cardiovascular disease.
Chronic disruption of the circadian rhythm can suppress melatonin production, too, which has been shown to increase the risk of cancer.
So I suggest you get yourself an alarm clock and a light box right now.