May 052008

There’s at least three kinds of energies that you use every day: physical, mental and emotional. There may well be a spiritual energy, too, but I haven’t spent enough time exploring it. Understand that anything you do requires energy can help you do it better by managing your energy.

Physical energy is the thing that we’re all most familiar with. Are you feeling tired, or energetic? Physical excersize improves this sort of energy overall. That may seem strange, because excersize takes up energy, but it actually unleashes more energy than it takes in, a bit after you’ve rested.

Mental energy is also fairly obvious: thinking hard can take up a lot of this energy. Ever felt burnt out after a long test or exam? That’s it.

Emotional energy may not be that obvious, but there are many things which are physically easy but emotionally difficult. For example, your body can handle excersizing for ten minutes a day (I like to start things in a low-commitment way, something you can easily do) but can your mind? Emotionally, you may feeling afraid of judgment or failure, or just feeling lazy.

You can think about this for a second: things in our reality have no emotions attached to them. The emotional response arises from the interaction between your consciousness and that thing. That’s how different people can have different responses. Cold-calling, for example, may energize someone else while it drains me of all energy. It’s physically easy: I pick up the phone and move my mouth a bunch, but emotionally, it’s draining to deal with the rejection and to feel like I’m wasting the time of so many people in a very intrusive manner.

So, here’s a trick that you can accomplish after some practice. Mentally separate the physical actions required to do something and the emotions that result when you think about it. It’s not easy until you get some practice at managing your emotions and recognizing that between stimulus and response there is a gap, and with practice that gap can grow. If you master this trick, though, you can easily do things which are emotionally difficult or even fear-inducing.

Here’s a very important point: All of these kinds of energies are related. I split them up for the sake of analysis, but it is a capital mistake to ignore the fact that if you start to excersize regularly, not only can you think better, but your emotional control and self-esteem also improves. After a long exam, I’m not only mentally exhausted, but also emotionally and physically, even though all I did was pick up a pen and scribble a bunch. I certainly didn’t run a marathon (the brain, however, does use about 20% of the body’s energy, and more under stress).

  One Response to “The Three Kinds of Energies”

  1. The idea that different areas of our life are interrelated is very important – taking care of one of these areas – physical, intellectual, spiritual – without noticing the others is a clear and present danger.

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