This is something I learned powerfully some time ago, when I was experiencing debilitating fatigue. While it was a physical condition, I began to become aware of the different ways I was leaking energy and identify what was draining me of it. By understanding this and finding some alternative ways of approaching what I was doing and how, it allowed me to regain some much-needed energy and vitality, which helped me to heal.
Whether we are relaxing in a deckchair, or doing something that requires more energy like going for a walk, completing some work, or socialising, it’s how we do it that has the greatest impact. The ‘how’ being how we are thinking, feeling and acting as we do it. In NLP terms this is referred to as the ‘state’ we are in.
The problem comes when we are sitting in that deck chair to rest but we just don’t feel relaxed. Or we are going about our work but notice that we are tense and stressed. Or we are spending time with friends or family but find it hard to be present and enjoy the moment. There is then this mismatch between what we are doing and how we would ideally like to be feeling.
It could be that we are experiencing any of the following:
- Habitual ways of doing things, that are unconscious and not so healthy for us.
- Unhelpful thinking, such as negative internal chatter, running commentaries and critical thoughts, or unhelpful stories about the past and imaginary predictions about the future.
- Emotions and traumatic experiences that we haven’t been able to process.
- Limiting beliefs, about ourselves, or situations we find ourselves in, or about other people and the world that are disempowering.
- A sense of disconnection, from ourselves and our bodies.
It’s common to experience some of these things to varying degrees. The problem is when we notice them negatively impacting our experiences and getting in the way of living more fully. At its worst, these things can make us feel weighed down as though we are carrying a heavy backpack of bricks around with us, or like we are caught up in our own personal storm. Over time, these things can deplete us, impacting our health and wellbeing, and blocking our healing.
But the good news is that they don’t have to. Once we become more aware, we can identify with curiosity and compassion what is draining us of energy. With support, we can start to explore and unpack it. Then we can choose different ways of being that support and positively affect how we feel. Therefore freeing up energy. In this way, we begin to change how we relate to ourselves, to others and the world around us.
My physical health struggles provided the catalyst for me to identify my own personal blend of these things, and also the motivation to work through them. And it is an ongoing practice, that has rewarding results. It doesn’t have to be a health crisis that necessitates it. It could simply be a desire to have more energy and to live more fully. When we work through what is holding us back, we can be more present in our bodies, our relationships, our lives, no matter what we choose to spend our time doing.