Energy zappers. We’ve all experienced them, but how can we deal with them?
Energy is expressed and felt through our emotions and our choices, and it is affected by how we fuel ourselves – physically and mentally. And so, the way in which we fuel ourselves will affect the energy that we feel.
Fuel goes in, energy comes out.
If we don’t have enough fuel, or when don’t have the right kind of fuel – e.g., its toxic, unfulfilling, harmful even, then obviously our energy is going to be negatively affected by that.
There are a number of things which can influence our energy, and generally these can be broken down into internal and external factors.
We are probably all well aware of the effect that too much low-nutrient foods or alcohol or late nights have on us. We feel sluggish and dull afterwards.
But there are also some less obvious influences that we might not be giving a lot of thought to.
One of the most important influences on our energy is the environment we spend our time in.
This includes how we live, who we live with, where we spend most of our time and who we spend the most time with. And if this is an environment that isn’t supporting our wellbeing and growth, then our energy will suffer.
And we might not feel as though we have a great deal of choice – especially if we’re in a job or a family situation which is causing an imbalance. We may well know that we’re in an unhappy or unfulfilling situation that we know isn’t helping us, but it’s not always as easy to get out of them.
But we can try and be more conscious of the effect the situation is having, and try and minimise how much we are affected by it. You might want to ask yourself: Are there situations in my life now where I feel ‘less than’, not good enough, or on edge? Do you notice that you’re changing how you present yourself so that you fit in? Do you feel that you can’t be yourself around certain people?
Noticing how our energy shifts, for better or worse, when we’re in situations and around particular people can be really telling.
Of course, every relationship that we have with another person will involve give and take. There will be times when another person needs our support and their needs will take priority, and vice versa. The whole point of inviting people into your life is to share experiences and support each other.
But when a relationship or friendship feels as though it’s only ever one-way traffic, or the conversation is often negative, then we need to ask ourselves whether this is the right fit for us. If the other person is blinkered to what is going on with you, how you are feeling, what you’re excited/worried/nervous about, and the focus is only ever about them, then that’s a good indicator of where the energy isn’t balanced.
I’m sure we can all recognise times when we’ve felt like that, whether we’re experiencing it now or not, but when this type of situation goes on for some time, it is so draining.
And it will have a big impact on our confidence, our motivation and it will become really challenging to change, the longer it goes on.
But there are also things that we can do ourselves to make sure that we fuel our body and mind with enough of the good stuff, to counteract what comes at us from outside.
We all know what energy feels like within our own bodies. We know when we feel happy, excited, raring to go. And we also know when we feel depleted, tired and lethargic.
Our bodies are finely tuned machines – and they have an in-built alarm system to tell us when something is out of whack. Listen to your body and what it is telling you…if it needs rest, better nutrition, hydration, it will let you know. And it will keep letting you know until you listen to it, usually!
It is really difficult to give our best efforts with something, or even just go about our daily tasks if we have consistently low energy.
But it’s not just about our physical wellbeing. We also need to be aware of our mental fuel.
One of the biggest energy drains on our mental health these days is social media. Love it or hate it, the messages and energy we consume by watching other people living their lives is immense.
And it can affect even the most grounded of people.
We all have insecurities and self-doubt, but these can become magnified when we flood our brain with images of other people. We imagine other lives we could be living, or worry about things we ‘should’ be doing. The comparison trap is one of the most harmful things to fall into – we compare how we look or what our life looks like, with images that are carefully curated and filtered and well, fake. We trick ourselves into believing they are real, and it’s so easy to start comparing ourselves against impossible perceived benchmarks.
If social media and FOMO is something that triggers you, then try and limit the amount of time you expose yourself to. Have allocated time for a digital detox – set an alarm or limit on your app. Or switch your phone off completely, and put it in a drawer for a while. (If this idea brings you out in a cold sweat, then it’s a good indication you might just benefit from it!).
And there are a range of other negative emotions that, if left unchecked, will drain our energy. There are the obvious ones such as anger, resentment, or regret, that may have stemmed from a specific experience, but there are also the more subconscious ones like fear, uncertainty, or jealousy.
Listen to what your emotions are telling you. Where are they holding you back? What are you missing out on or avoiding? We may feel triggered in certain situations, or by people, without knowing why.
In summary, our energy isn’t just something that we need to function and progress, we can also influence how much of it we have. By identifying such energy zappers and being aware of what we are consuming, physically and mentally, and when we are feeling triggered, we can start to bring more balance.
And in next week’s post, I’ll be switching the focus to looking at how we can bring better energy to our interactions, so stay tuned for more.