Every human, regardless of our age, location, financial status, ethnicity, all have the same amount of time in a day: 24 hours, 1440 minutes, 86400 seconds. That sounds pretty straightforward. But why is it that some people seem to be able to do more, go on vacations, be fully engaged in all aspects of their lives, and still have more physical, mental, and emotional energy? How is it that they seem to have more time?
Meanwhile, most of us are just trying to get by. Our day doesn’t start without a cup of coffee (or two) just to wake up and conjure up the energy to get through the morning. In our busyness, we choose quick and fast foods so that we can get onto our next meeting, activity, or task.
The pressures and demands at work cause us to lose patience. We are irritable, reactionary, rushed, thus, making careless mistakes or forgetting simple things. By the evening, we feel so drained. We just want to lay on the couch, disengage, relax with a glass of wine (or two, or three). We feel like there just isn’t enough time in a day, overwhelmed and drained.
Does any of this sound familiar to you? You might think, “well, if only I had more time…”
According to Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz in the book The Power of Full Engagement: Managing Energy, Not Time, Is the Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal, it’s not actually about managing your time, it’s about managing your emotional energy.
According to them, “the number of hours in a day is fixed, but the quantity and quality of energy available to us are not. It is our most precious resource. The more we take responsibility for the energy we bring to the world, the more empowered and productive we become.”
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What Is Emotional Energy?
As simple as it may sound, emotional energy is the energy we source from our emotions. Simply put, our energy comes from our emotions and different emotions vibrate at different frequencies. I know this might sound a bit “woo woo”, but hear me out.
Take a moment to think back at a time when you felt elated and full of energy—like you were on top of the world. Maybe it was a promotion or raise at work, the first kiss with your partner, traveling to a new country, or just laughing till your stomach hurt with your best friend.
The emotions of joy, love, passion, enthusiasm that you felt at that time are considered high-frequency vibrations. In those moments, you felt like you had an unlimited source of energy—you could go all night! Because your emotions were high-frequency vibrations, your energy was abundant. You were operating on high-frequency vibes!
On the opposite end of the spectrum, some of the lower frequency vibrations are fear, grief, depression, insecurity. When you think back at a time in your life when you broke up with someone you really loved, let go from your job, were depressed or sad, your emotional energy was low, wasn’t it?
What Drains Your Emotional Energy?
Here are the most common things that drain your emotional energy.
- Excessive worrying
- Lack of healthy boundaries
- Negative rumination
How Can You Increase Your Emotional Energy?
Our energy comes from our emotions. In other words, the emotions we feel become the energy we put out into the world and we tend to attract the energy we put out. “Like attracts like”, “birds of a feather flock together”—it is simply the law of attraction.
If you take an honest look at your life and the people you surround yourself with, would you say they are mostly negative or positive influences? Do they complain or are they uplifting? The external world is your mirror. It just reflects what is going on you on the inside.
This is neither “good” nor “bad”. There is no judgment here—it simply “is”. It is important to note that this is not a time for self-judgment. It is simply an assessment of what is.
Take an honest evaluation of your circumstances, finances, friendships, or whatever area you want to focus on. Is it everything you wished for and imagined it to be? If not, it’s important to examine some of the beliefs, thoughts, and emotions relating to those areas. The good news is, it is up to you.
If our energy comes from our emotions, this means that you have the power to change your emotions and thus, change your energy. The Latin derivative for the word emotion, “emovere,” literally means “move out, agitate”—to set energy into motion.
So, let’s get that energy into motion! Here are five ideas on how to manage your emotional energy for mental well-being.
1. Do Things That You Love and Enjoy
This sounds simple enough. Think back—when was the last time you intentionally set aside time to do things you love and enjoy? If you’ve been feeling overwhelmed and drained, I bet it’s probably been a while. Try scheduling in a few hours this weekend and do something that you truly love and brings you joy. You deserve it.
2. Surround Yourself With Positive People Who Lift You Up
Next, surround yourself with positive people and remove toxic friendships and relationships. If the toxic relationship is a family member, try limiting the amount of time you spend with them and keep the interactions positive. This may be difficult at first, but if you are operating on high-frequency vibrations (see chart above), then your energy will raise the vibrations of that interaction.
3. Learn How to Say “No” Without Feeling Guilty
It’s okay to say no. Saying “no” to others is saying “yes” to yourself. And you are the most important person in the world. If there is no you, there is no one to take care of those you love. Put your oxygen mask on first before assisting others. Self-care is not selfish.
4. Stop “Should-ing” Yourself
I believe words are very powerful, and how we phrase and use words has the power to create our experiences. Eliminate the word “shouldn’t” from your vocabulary. The word carries so much weight, burden, regret, and judgment.
Remove the word “shouldn’t” and see how it changes these sentences:
- “I shouldn’t have watched so much TV.” ➡ “I watched so much TV.”
- “I shouldn’t have wasted time on this.” ➡ “I wasted time on this.”
- “That shouldn’t have happened.” ➡ “That happened.”
Removing “shouldn’t” makes the action or event completely neutral. It moves it from something “negative” to just a matter of fact, neither good nor bad—just what is. From that neutral place, it allows you to move to a sense of responsibility. If it’s something you shouldn’t have done, ask yourself, “what did I learn?”
When you keep “should-ing” yourself, events, or actions, it keeps you stuck in the past. We can’t change the past (surprise!) and keeps you in victim mentality or self-blame.
A more important question you can ask yourself is “what could I do instead?” Learn, reflect, and move forward. “What will I do in the future?”
Replace “should” with “choose to”. Watch how these words shift how you experience these phrases.
- “I should go for a run and exercise.” ➡ “I choose to go for a run and exercise.”
- “I should stop this negative self-talk.” ➡ “I choose to stop this negative self-talk.”
- “I should be more patient.” ➡ “I choose to be more patient.”
Replacing “should” with “choose to”—all of a sudden, you are in control. You are empowered. You get to choose to do something. You get a choice, not just an “I should” and then do nothing about it. “I choose to” allows you to take ownership and responsibility.
5. Meditation and Mindfulness
is the practice of bringing attention to the emotion that comes up, not identifying it as part of self but simply noticing it and getting curious. When there is curiosity, there is no space for judgment. When there is no judgment, acceptance is much easier to follow.
Many research studies show that mindfulness meditation is effective at reducing stress and can improve physical and mental health by changing the brain and biology in positive ways. Researchers reviewed more than 200 studies of mindfulness among healthy people and found that mindfulness-based therapy was especially effective for reducing stress, anxiety, and depression.
“The more we take responsibility for the energy we bring to the world, the more empowered and productive we become.”—Jim Loehr
The energy that you put out is your responsibility. When you realize this, it is empowering. It means that you have the ability to control your energy and mental well-being—not the environment, not other people—you! You get to be in the driver’s seat of your life.
So, are you ready to drive?
More Tips on How to Manage Your Emotional Energy
- 4 Signs You’re Emotionally Drained (And What To Do)
- 17 Things People With Emotional Strength Don’t Do
- How to Stop Letting Your Emotions Zap Your Energy
Featured photo credit: J’Waye Covington via unsplash.com
|||^||Online Etymology Dictionary: emotion|
|||^||American Psychological Association: Mindfulness meditation: A research-proven way to reduce stress|