'Where do you find the energy to do the things you do?'
'Wow, you are full of energy!'
'I just don't have the energy to do it!'
These are phrases we all use and have often heard expressed about others and perhaps even ourselves. Like it or not, the more science delves into our bodies and our surrounding world, the more we understand that we are pure energy. We vibrate at certain frequencies that effect our surrounding world and our internal world. But where does energy come from and how can we harness it? If only energy came out of a tap!
I was discussing with my son this morning, the basics of hydroelectricity (thanks Google) and it got me thinking about how energy is manufactured, how it changes and how it can be utilised. Without energy we wouldn't have electricity, we wouldn't do anything and our bodies and brains wouldn't run effectively.
Think of the quick energy you gain from eating chocolate, having a coffee or going for a run. Often these sources of energy are temporary and help us get through our days, but we also have other more lasting sources of energy. Some of our organs and cells require quick sources of energy, others take our food and convert it into energy for a longer time, lasting over a few days.
Where do you gain your energy from? Here are some of my favourite sources. These energy taps are things we often take for granted but are real energy sources.
Sleep is an excellent source of energy and something we really undervalue. I have been involved in a wellness measurement program called First Beat, which uses a device that measures stress and regeneration across a week. It shows when you are 'recovering', that is regenerating and gaining resources but also when you are under some stress. It is based on Heart Rate Variance and using specific algorithms, measures bodily stress, exercise benefits and shows you over a week how you use your resources. MY finding was that I am in greatly need of daytime recovery. I don't regenerate at all during the day and while this is not bad, if I don't recover well in the evening and overnight during sleep, I am depleted for the next day. Over the course of a week my resources are often really depleted if I don't sleep well. Food intake, alcohol and simple late nights also effect these measurements. Sleep is therefore important, as a source not only of rest, but to gain energy and to recharge your resources. I now make it my mission to go to bed early. There is no shame in it!
Another place I gain energy sometimes is through fasting. I find now, I don't need to eat as much food as I used to in my 20's. As I approach my 40's I think my body is changing and so consuming meal after meal leaves me feeling full on top of full. At the moment, I am trying not to eat each day after 7pm in the evening and only eat again at 12pm the next day. This allows my body to fully use up the resources it has and to use the energy from the food I have eaten. It also gives my body a break from the extra meal or two and the snacking. I find that I actually have more energy when I don't eat as much. I eat when I am really hungry and not at the first sign of hunger. I am not suggesting this is the way for your but trying some fasting and engaging in a conversation with your Doctor to find out more could be an option. There must be a reason why all major religions have some form of fasting. The 5:2 diet was also something I tried a few years ago to great benefit.
Can you remember the last time you have a lovely heart to heart with a friend, where you both came away from the conversation feeling the love and energy of connection? Conversations with good friends, can also give energy. It doesn't have to be with a romantic partner to achieve this kind of feeling but when we really listen and feel listened too, we create an energy and uplift each other. Science talks about mirror neurons and actually becoming more in sync with each other and I am sure this is true. Genuine connection helps me. I am trying to commit this year, to have at least one of these conversations a week with someone I care about. To really listen with empathy and awareness and to just be there. To connect and see where the conversation could go. We all crave connection and being heard. Imagine if this could happen more easily. Where would your life go?
Music, like I mentioned in my last blog post on playlists, is another big source of energy for me. At the moment, I am really loving some of the music from 'The Greatest Showman'. I get a lump in my throat at a couple of songs which clearly resonant with me. They give me energy and inspire to keep expanding my abilities, delivering content such as this post and to expand my network. Living in a foreign country is not easy but is made easier with energy and music!
Create your playlist, add to it, be inspired and listen everyday. The effect might not always be the same, but music makes life more interesting!
Finally, consider doing exercise and getting into nature. Why not combine the two? I don't do this often enough but at least living in Vienna, nature is on our doorstep and we have many available walks and paths to explore. I have a gym membership which I regret buying as I am not motivated to use it, but for some gyms are an essential part of their day. The energy they gain from using their resources and working their bodies is great. Being around others who are also working out can increase out motivation and energy. Group exercise is popular as there is a collective sense and spurring each other on can be a good thing.
Our bodies are energy instruments we can control with exercise, sleep and diet and we can achieve a lot with physical energy, but don't forget the mental and emotional aspects of energy, where we can gain energy from friends and family, great nurturing conversation and music.
Finally, don't be stingy with your energy, give it away for free. Pour your energy into things that make your heart sing and topics that you are good at. This will fuel your passions and purpose and you might find that energy simply appears, you find flow and you achieve more than you think you can!
David Corcoran is a Executive Voice Coach. He helps people take responsibility for their communication. This Blog contains his regular musings, thoughts and ideas. He is based in Vienna, Austria.