We often hear about time management, and less about energy management. If you think about, though, much of what we confront is not just an issue of time, but the quality of our energy during the time that we have.
Many things can affect our energy, sleep, of course, is primary. Other factors include our interactions with others, what we put into our bodies, and what goes on in our internal head space. All of these are energy exchanges.
Mindfulness will help us to see if these exchanges are beneficial — leading to increased energy.
Notice how you feel after your interactions with others. Do you feel energized or drained? Do you feel expansive or contracted? Do you feel open our closed? If the latter of these couplets, what was the quality of your attention? Were you fully present for the interaction? Were you connected to your breath and body? If not, try being more present next time you encounter this person. If you were mindful in the interaction, can you make a different choice next time? Sometimes our interactions are determined by necessity and at other times we can exercise choice. The poet, David Whyte, urges in his poem, “The Sweet Darkness,” that “anything or anyone/that does not bring you alive/is too small for you.”
The same set of considerations apply to what we put into our bodies and what goes on in our internal head space. When it comes to ourselves, we have more flexibility. We determine what we eat, whether we use substances, etc. We have the ability to intervene with our thoughts, redirecting attention to the present moment. Anything–whether food or thoughts–that does not bring us alive is too small.
Most of what we do during the day requires good quality energy for success: work, relationships, play, creativity. Television does not require energy and this is why, perhaps, it is so appealing as an emotional babysitter after a long day of work. It is doubtful, however, that watching television is energizing. Notice if this is the case for you.
Mindfulness practice can lead to increased energy as well, as we relate to ourselves in the exquisitely attuned way that unfolds during practice.