Recognizing Those Who Give Energy from Those Who Drain It
by Jenny Patton
Electricians will install new outlets in the 1960-built building where I work to accommodate modern power needs. But how do we give ourselves more energy? And how do we reduce the drain of energy vampires in our daily lives?
The first step is awareness of the energy givers and drainers in our lives, such as tasks, people, activities, places, food and work. In your journal or on your computer, simply start a list. What exhausts you? Place energy vampires on the left under a minus sign. What excites you or promotes peace? On the right, beneath a plus sign, list your energy boosters. You can then identify which side of the list is longer for you at this specific time in your life.
Now that you’ve got a list of what fuels you, write down thoughts about changes you can make to boost your energy. What can you increase? After all, maximizing energy-giving elements in our lives contributes to our happiness—and isn’t that what we really want?
We can’t eliminate all the drainers, but perhaps we can make small changes in our lives to reduce our exposure to them.
Take the time to write down your thoughts, as writing moves problems into a different dimension of consciousness. “You actually change the problem by framing it and moving it into an area of your experience more involved with problem solving,” according to Dr. Sheppard B. Kominars in “Write for Life: Healing Mind, Body, and Spirit Through Journal Writing,” published by Cleveland Clinic Press. Writing triggers a different assessment process, enabling you to tap into a storehouse of understanding that promotes healing solutions.
The Ohio State University student Kaitlyn Ambrose found this to be true. “Writing down the energy drainers and boosters helped me see the things I need to cut out of my life. I identified several energy vampires that I am in the process of eliminating, and am actively trying to bring more energy boosters into my everyday routine.”
Kathleen Quinn, an OSU student who had been suffering from a lack of sleep, says this writing exercise allowed her to face her problem and figure out different ways to address it. Emily Erossy, an OSU senior, says some stresses, like roommates, are inevitable; writing, however, helped her recognize that she “could counter these with happy things like taking more bubble baths.”
For many, the act of writing itself becomes an energy booster. “Once you discover how significantly writing benefits your life, you look on it in a different way,” Kominars writes. “Just as you feel better after physical exercise, you feel energized after writing – a mental exercise.”
Jenny Patton co-leads Yoga-Life Writing workshops, and shares writing prompts with her OSU students to promote wellness. Connect at Patton.firstname.lastname@example.org.