It takes a lot of energy to succeed over the long haul. And my clients who are most successful have the magical trifecta of mental, physical, and emotional vibrancy. It’s the key force that helps them perform better in many areas of their life. When you intentionally invest in and capitalize on these energies, the world is yours.
Do you notice patterns in your energies throughout the day? How closely do you relate to the following statements?
- I have the mental stamina to be present and focused throughout the day.
- I have the physical energy I need to achieve my goals every day.
- In general I feel cheerful and optimistic.
Or, do you identify more with the inverse?
- My mind feels slow and foggy.
- I am physically exhausted too often.
- I feel a lot of negative energy and emotions.
Energy is not just physical, but mental and emotional too. All three have been correlated with overall success. In fact, the lower your energy…
- The lower your overall happiness,
- The lower your enthusiasm for taking on challenges,
- The lower your perception of your own success versus your peers’ success,
- The lower your confidence in the face of adversity,
- The lower the degree of influence you’ll have with others, and
- The lower the likelihood that you’ll eat well or exercise.
Energy is also positively related to educational and professional attainment, creativity, productivity, and assertiveness. Increase your energy, and you improve all those factors. That’s why everyone, and leaders in particular, should get very serious about developing their own and their team’s energy levels.
The good news is you can dramatically increase your energy and performance with just a few simple practices. Your energy is not a fixed mental, physical, or emotional state. This means you don’t have to “wait” for energy, joy, motivation, love, excitement, or any other positive emotion in life. You can choose to generate it, on demand, any time you want, through the power of habit.
One of the easiest, fastest, and most effective ways I help my clients increase their energy is to teach them how to master transitions. Every day, people lose tremendous amounts of focus, will, and emotional energy by poorly managing their transitions from one major activity to another. They also lose the benefit of greater mental and physical stamina throughout the day. Consider the following:
- Do you ever carry over any negative energy from one activity to the next?
- Do you ever feel depleted but still plow into your next activity without a break, even though you know you should take a breather?
- Are you losing a sense of presence and appreciation for life and others the further you go in your day?
So, what can you do about it? Master your transitions between activities. Every time you move from one major activity to another, try this:
- Close your eyes for a minute or two.
- Focus on the word RELEASE. As you do, instruct your body to release all of the tension that you’re carrying. This is also called a Body Scan Practice; begin by focusing your attention at the top of your head and then move down the body, or vice versa. Release your eyes, then your jaw, then your neck, then your shoulders, and so on and so forth. This doesn’t have to take long, just focus on each part of your body and breathe deeply to release.
- When you’ve released some of the tension, then set your INTENTION. Ask, “What energy do I want to bring into this next activity? How can I do this next activity with excellence? How can I enjoy the process?” Set an intention about what you want to feel and achieve as you move into the next activity.
Regardless of how you choose to take a break, meditate, or otherwise deal with stress, the idea is to form a habit and stick to it. Most meditation practices can lead to significantly less stress and anxiety, causing a bump in attention, presence, creativity, and well-being. Neuroscientists continue to find that people with more meditation experience show increased connectivity within the brain’s attentional networks, as well as between attentional regions and medial frontal regions that are critical to such cognitive skills as maintaining attention and disengaging from distraction. The positive effects of meditation don’t happen just during meditation but continue to be evident in daily life as well. One study saw the positive effects (such as decreased anxiety) from just a few months of meditation last more than three years.
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