It is tempting to look for that silver bullet when we are faced with complicated challenges in life but the answer is rarely one-dimensional. We are complex human beings with multiple dimensions that are interdependent of each other. Our psychological, emotional, physical, sexual and spiritual dimensions work as one whole system – what impacts one dimension often impacts others. The more we fuel our energy within these five dimensions, the greater the likelihood of feeling a sense of wholeness, exercising our power to take action on what is within our control and letting go of what is outside of our control.
Feelings of powerlessness are inevitable when we are in a constant state of stress, change and uncertainty. When external forces leave us feeling powerless, the primary source of power we have in our control is our internal power. When we feel energetic, we feel motivated to connect with others, engage with the world and have a strong sense of self. When our energy is low, we are most susceptible to feeling moody and irritable with others, have a tendency to isolate and feel disconnected from our sense of self.
Food may be our primary resource for refueling our energy but intangible resources like our thoughts, emotions and beliefs also have the power to deplete or boost our energy. When we view our relationship with energy in this way, we can begin to intentionally choose activities and conversations that help us refuel our energy and access our infinite source of internal power.
Each of the five dimensions below includes a brief description along with practical tips on how to refuel those sources of energy and take back your power. Discover what feels good for you.
Pay attention to the thoughts and stories that are occupying your mind. Our brains are hard-wired to focus on the negative when we are under stress – it’s part of our survival instinct. If you hear yourself saying a lot of negative things to yourself or other people, switch gears and focus on positive thoughts:
– Read an uplifting book or inspirational quotes
– Watch positive affirmations videos or listen to self-development podcasts
– Connect with a trusted friend who can challenge your negative thinking
– Speak affirmations like “I am strong” while exercising
– Write out your negative thought and reword it into a positive statement
Difficult emotions can be triggered in a nanosecond by the thoughts (usually unconscious) and the stories we tell ourselves about the things that happened to us. Emotional responses are temporary and just want to be acknowledged. When we suppress, minimize or distract ourselves from being with our emotions, over time it can deplete our energy. Find ways to be with your emotions:
– Remove judgment from your feelings – instead of labeling your feelings as good or bad, embrace the gift as an alert system that invites you to to pause and reflect
– Acknowledge your emotions throughout the day – write out your emotions on a sticky note if you’re busy, put it aside and journal about it later
– When feeling intense emotions, walk away and engage in mindful breathing exercises (i.e. inhale through nose for 4 seconds, hold for 7 seconds with tongue at roof of mouth, exhale through mouth for 8 seconds)
The laws of science tell us that energy can neither be created nor destroyed; it can only be transformed from one form to another. Pay attention to your physical sensations when under stress. That energy you sense in your body (anxiety, overwhelm, nervousness) is your system’s way of preparing you to fight or flee in the face of real or perceived danger. Find a way to transform and release that energy out of your body:
– Move your body in a way that feels good – strength training, yoga, dance, walking
– Put focus on where you feel the emotional intensity and sensations in your physical body – sit quietly, give it space to be and allow the sensation to release itself
– Feeling angry, frustrated, annoyed? Ring a dry towel, scream into a pillow, hit a punching bag until you feel the energy release from your body
– Feeling sad, disappointed, lonely? Put on an emotional movie or tv show that will help you access those feelings and motivate the tear ducts to free flow out of you
As sexual beings, there is much written about our sexuality being innate, natural and instinctual. But the information we receive about our sexuality, and the codes of sexual conduct and behaviours deemed appropriate are all socially learned. Through family, religion, school, media and personal trauma, we internalize messages about our sexuality that often has shame attached to it. Sexual shame is an emotion that works directly against our sense of personal power. Find healthy ways to reconnect to your personal power by cultivating a positive sexual relationship with yourself:
– Explore your relationship with pleasure by connecting to your five senses and allow yourself to fully experience what feels good in your body – warm water on your skin, the smell of fresh cut flowers, the beauty of a sunset
– Explore your romantic fantasies through visualization in your mind and connect to the pleasurable feeling in your body of what resonates with you
– Play has no outcome or goal except pure pleasure – play an instrument, play a sport or find a creative hobby
– Take yourself out on a date and explore self-pleasure in all its forms
Reaching low moments in our lives is an inevitable part of our human journey. What, who and where we turn to in our darkest moments can uplift and feed our spirit and soul, the non-physical part of us that feels connected to a Higher Source that reaches beyond the confines of our material world. Whatever you call that spiritual source – Higher Power, The Universe, Divinity, God or gods – there are many ways to connect to that part of us that keeps us connected and moving forward:
– Connect with those in your community that share the same faith
– Practice yoga and meditation to connect to your Higher Self
– Surround yourself with family and friends who embrace your authentic spirit
– Listen to music, do a dance class, participate in an art workshop – activities that encourage you to surrender to the moment of free-flowing energy
– Take a walk or hike in nature or spend time by the water and breathe in the natural, universal energy that surrounds you