The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Raising Emergy

Raising Energy

All other things being equal, no single goal will do more for improving the overall quality of your life than simply "I will double my energy level."

Now, it is difficult to quantify a statement like this, but it operates as a vector. Let's take a look at two different things:
1) Why to increase energy
2) How to increase energy.

All right. "Why" first. Let's define it. According to Wikipedia, "In physics, energy (Ancient Greek: ἐνέργεια energeia "activity, operation"[1]) is an indirectly observed quantity that is often understood as the ability of a physical system to do work on other physical systems.[2][3] Since work is defined as a force acting through a distance (a length of space), energy is always equivalent to the ability to exert pulls or pushes against the basic forces of nature, along a path of a certain length."

Applying this idea to the motivating force that drives our mental and physical lives, it is clear that when we have "a lot" of energy all of our actions are facilitated, and when we have "little" energy everything in life becomes more difficult. Now, having energy is a separate matter from exerting it efficiently or effectively...but those are subsequent to actually having plenty of that quality children seem to have in abundance, and that we seem to have less and less of, on average, after the age of about 35.

A) Why increase energy?

1) it is almost impossible to change habit patterns when your energy is low.
2) "Fatigue makes cowards of us all"--low energy leads to states of fear and depression.
3) Energy makes it possible to generate ideas, leading to enhanced problem solving capacity
4) Energy in general makes life more enjoyable
5) ...enables you to accomplish more in a day, or in an hour
6) ...can be refined to produce clearer and more elevated perspectives on life, which are often considered "spiritual" values.
7) Projects to those around you as confidence and charisma, increasing your attractiveness. Ths is critical both in interpersonal relationships and building mastermind groups.
8) Increases sex drive, which both enhances health, improves our relationships, and is...well, just a lot of fun.
9) The ability to withstand failures, and begin again and again if necessary.
10) Our energy lifts up those around us. If you want to help your loved ones change and thrive, be a beacon of love, light, and energy. They will tend to resonate to your energy, just as depression can be contagious, so can optimism and passion.

Ten Ways to Improve energy.

There are so many, but I'll cluster them according to four different categories: Physical, Mental, Intellectual, and Spiritual. Within those, the most important core areas are Exercise, Diet, Rest, and Motivation. Each could be a lifetime discipline (and I discuss some of the factors in the 101 PROGRAM)

1) Improve the physical machine. This includes revving up the cellular energy mechanisms, achieving an ideal body composition (anything you carry that doesn't enhance performance in some way detracts from it), decreasing tension, improving posture, etc. Exercise needs to have joint recovery, stretching, strenghening, and balancing the body. And in general...break a sweat every day. Every day you eat, you should move your butt.

2) Dietary patterns. Quantity of food, quality of food, timing of meals. So much. As a general rule, you should eat today to recover from yesterday and prepare for tomorrow. If you simply pay more attention to how you feel the day after your meal, and experiment, you'll solve much of this for yourself. There is no single diet that works for everyone, all the time, in every situation. But if you put less attention on how it tastes, how you respond emotionally, how you feel an hour later...and more attention onto that 24 hour delay, over the course of months and years of attention and journaling you'll work it out.

3) Rest. Quality and quantity of sleep. I am always saddened when talking to people who lack energy, feel depressed, ache, fight with obesity and so forth...who talk about how they get 5-6 hours of sleep a night. Or less. This is one of the most basic and simple "fixes". When in doubt, get 7-8 hours of sleep a night.

4) Focus. The key to motivation is to have multiple reasons to accomplish something. Most people who have a difficult time maintaining a diet, stopping smoking, finishing a book or whatever don't have many reason to do it. One or two reasons, usually. What these people need is to get CRYSTAL clear on what they want, and have dozens of reasons for why they want to do it.

 Think about it: "merely" concentrating on generating or sophisticating energy can affect every aspect of your life, all aspects of performance, enhance all relationships and change depression to optimism.

1) In whatever way you define the terms, how would you evaluate your physical energy? Emotion? Intellectual? Spiritual? Sexual?

2) How would you evaluate your physical training program? The quality and quantity of your sleep? The quality of your diet? The clarity and specificity of your goals and plans?

Just 1/2 hour going over these questions in your journal can reveal "leaks" in your performance, leaks that could be simple to prevent, but hard to fix if ignored for too long.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for this post Steve! Reading your blog is better and cheaper than seeing a therapist- in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this post Steve! Reading your blog is better and cheaper than seeing a therapist- in my opinion.