Energy is the power that drives every human being. It is not lost by exertion, but maintained by it, for it is a faculty of the psyche.
“The single biggest difference between people who get what they want and the people who don’t is energy,” says Mira Kirshenbaum, psychotherapist and clinical director of the Chestnut Hill Institute in Boston. In her book TheEmotional Energy Factor, she wrote, “It is a misconception the energy we require is primarily physical. Yes, you need to sleep, water, nutrients and exercise. However, her survey of endocrinologists, nutrionists and sports medicine experts turned up an antagonist consensus: 70 percent of our total energy is emotional – the kind that manifest as hope, resilience, passion, fun and enthusiasm.” Kirshenbaum says, “You’re not just a body. It’s not just your body that needs more energy. It’s you, the whole person. The emotional side of you is as important as your body. So it makes sense there’s another energy source. It’s emotional energy.”
How often do you feel stressed-out, stretched thin and drained? Do you find yourself telling your family, close friends and even your doctor, “I’m always soooo tired”; “I just don’t seem to be able to shake it?” Once you have had all possible physical causes ruled out by your physician [a crucial first step], it is possible that you are experiencing an emotional energy crisis?
What Lights Up Your Fire?
Don't let your own wheels drive you crazy. Lighten up while you still can."
Emotional energy is defined by Kirshenbaum as “the preconditioned for everything we care about. Everything worth doing that’s difficult gets lost without it. Marriages fail when we run out of the emotional energy to reach one more time across the divide of anger and silence. Dreams die when we lack the emotional energy to hang in there in the face of all the obstacles.”When I came across the article, Solving the Emotional Crisis by Annie Gottlieb in O magazine, January 2003 issue, I was inspired to read Kirshenbaum’s book. As I started to read it, I felt as is if light bulbs lit up above my head. I could recall several periods of time that I experienced great challenge and adversity, times I felt emotionally exhausted.
And I could recall moments of challenge and adversity in which I felt strong and energized. I had an Aha moment! I recognized the benefit to our wellbeing when we are able to better manage our emotional energy.
How much time do you spend ruminating over your past or anticipating some future event? How much of your attention to your present is diverted by thoughts on your past and your future? Many of us spend too much time fretting over our past and hoping for better in the distant future. This unconscious habit devalues our present moments. We can learn from our past. We can prepare ourselves for a desired future state. We can only live and enjoy our present, moment by moment.
Kirshenbaum believes that if we keep our emotional tank full we will enjoy our life a lot more. She suggests the following two simple steps to help manage an emotional energy crisis.
1. First, plug up the emotional leaks in your life. Recognize the people, activities, situations and "habits of mind" such as fears, guilt, worry, indecision, self-doubts and envy that drain you. Take action to improve your attitude towards life and your relationships. Avoid or minimize the influence of people, activities, situations and "habits of mind" that leaves you emotionally exhausted.
2. Second, identify what fills your emotional tank. What activities inspire hope in your heart? Who do you know that always seems like a breath of fresh air when you are in their company? What activities bring your great pleasure and happiness that won’t cause you or someone else emotional or physical harm? What makes you laugh? When was the last time you treated yourself with something special…just because? How often do you engage in activities that bring you real peace of mind? Make it a point to begin to embrace activities, people, situations and habits of mind that invigorates you.
By identifying what makes you feel emotionally exhausted and what makes you feel emotionally energized, you can begin to say “no” to that which depletes you so that you create space in your life for saying “yes” to that which fuels you. I encourage you to to apply these simple steps in your life with the following quote: “Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.” –Oprah Winfrey.
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