During our workshops, we ask: “Who feels they have enough energy each day?”. There is usually a resounding silence and a lot of head shaking. The fact is nearly all of us would like more energy for the things we want to do each day.
When we ask “What drains your energy over the day?”, the answers often include: conflict at home or work, frustrations like traffic jams, or feeling anxious about a meeting coming up. The common thread is the experience of negative emotions – and the longer they hang around us, the more they deplete our energy.
Scientific study into emotions has shown that positive emotions build our resources and help us be at our best. Clearly, feeling appreciation, gratitude, pride, serenity, joy or love is a nicer way to experience the day and the more often you feel these emotions, the more you will build your capacity for creativity, connecting with others and for problem solving.
However, positive emotions can also be used to renew your energy over the day. Research by the HeartMath Institute, amongst others, has shown that our emotions strongly influence a very important aspect of heart function called Heart Rate Variability or HRV. Negative, or energy-depleting emotions, create an irregular and inefficient HRV pattern. Positive, or renewing emotions, help to create a much smoother, healthier and more efficient HRV pattern known as coherence. This smoother pattern is a signal for other internal systems to come into alignment, allowing us to operate in an energy- efficient and healthy way. Using MRI scans, we now know that this smoother HRV pattern sends a signal to the brain to increase the use of the frontal cortex, home of key resources like logical thinking and creativity.
So the message is, if we want to manage our energy intelligently over the day, we need to manage our emotions effectively. We need to learn to switch depleting emotions into renewing ones. Particularly useful times to do this are when we are preparing ourselves for a challenge, or just having had a bad experience or when we have to adapt quickly to difficult circumstances.
For example, if you find yourself anxious about a presentation coming up, you can help yourself to feel more resourceful by deliberately thinking of 5 things you feel grateful for in life. Alternatively, you might appreciate the good qualities of someone who is important to you. If you have recently had a difficult encounter with someone, you can shift yourself away from the depleting emotions by savouring and appreciating something beautiful in your life. And if you simply need to adapt to the fact that you are stuck in that traffic, then you can choose to enjoy music, remember a great holiday, smile about something funny in life.
Each time you shift from depleting to renewing emotions you are creating more energy in your day. That in turn helps you to be more resilient and proactive, whatever challenge you face. To find out more about intelligent energy management watch this video https://www.heartmath.org/resources/videos/importance-of-resilience/