Change Your Energy, Change Your Life
It’s a little embarrassing, but…
I broke my lap top last Friday. Not due to an accident, nope, due to a burst of temper.
I had been in a super-high, super-creative, get-shit-done (#gsd) mode all day long. In the afternoon, my laptop started acting up (grrrr!)—running soooo slow, losing internet connection, etc. My frustration began to build until finally—in a fit—I slammed my laptop cover down and walked away.
Well, turns out, I slammed the cover hard enough to irreparably damage my harddrive--buh-bye laptop. Umm, yeah. That’s not good.
BUT a valuable lesson (well worth the $250 and hours of time it took me to purchase and set up a new laptop):
As soon as I sensed my mood shifting to a negative emotional state—in this case, frustration—that was my *clue* to take a break.
A fine example of energy dynamics in play…
So, this seemingly simple chart* (above) has been blowing my mind lately!
It shows 4 different energy/mood states based on whether our physical energy is high or low and whether are emotional state is positive or negative.
Most of us love hanging out in the top right quadrant where we have high, positive energy. In this state you are likely to be productive, high-performing, on your game, and life seems easy—you are in the flow. What’s not to love?!
The problem is…it is not a sustainable state. We can’t be up, up, up all the time. We naturally shift out of this energy state.
Many times we move (like I did) to the left from high positive to high negative energy. Our physical energy stays up, but our mood takes a downturn. We become easily frustrated, impatient, and highly reactive.
It’s pretty common to vacillate between these two high energy states, until—boom—you crash…
Dropping into the bottom left quadrant, your mood stays negative and your physical energy has been depleted. When this happens you might just feel DONE—discouraged, unmotivated, and everything may seem like a huge effort. In this state you just want to put a big DO NOT DISTURB sign on the door and hide away.
A lot of people stay in this cycle of the two high energy states followed by an inevitable crash.
This is not ideal.
The negative energy side of the chart is where self-destructive behaviors—such as, overeating, drinking too much, spending too much, and critical self-talk—occur.
Obviously, we want to limit the amount of time we spend in a negative emotional state.
So how do you stay on the positive side of the chart? How do you continuously shift between high positive energy and low positive energy?
By purposefully and deliberately recharging in the low energy, positive mental attitude state…
I call it a "preemptive recharge".
This is where self-care exists.
Resting, recovering, and relaxing allows us to replenish our physical energy while staying in a positive emotional state.
You might need to set yourself some kind of reminder to step into the lower energy state. The high energy state is pretty compelling and it can be hard to leave.
But the idea is if you do not choose to give yourself regular breaks, you will be *forced* to take a break and it might not be pretty.
Try incorporating the following into your daily routine:
Every 2 hours or so check-in with yourself…take 5 minutes to stretch, read something uplifting, listen to music with your eyes closed, or anything that allows you to calmly recharge.
Every day schedule in an hour or so of down-time…yoga on your lunch break, coffee with a close friend, or a just-for-the-fun-of-it class on something you enjoy.
Does this seem impossible with your busy, busy schedule?
I know it sounds counter-intuitive, but this scheduled down-time will actually make you more efficient, productive, and responsive.
What do you think? Does this idea of planned rest and recovery in your daily life resonate with you?
*From The Power of Full Engagement by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz