With the best will in the world to live from your core, and the most conscientious attitude towards living a high-energy lifestyle, you may have no idea just how many factors can still drain your energy. Some, such as the way you eat or how much exercise you get, are fairly self-evident. Others, such as the invisible electromagnetic fields that surround you, are more tricky to fathom. The most elusive of all are the silent attitudes and beliefs you hold within. These inner drainers can affect your energy at any moment of the day without your even being conscious of it. When they do, the smallest challenge or inconvenience becomes a tremendous burden, your stress levels soar and your energy levels plummet. Use the following exercise to help identify your inner energy-draining attitudes.
1. How do you usually feel when you wake up in the morning?
|I just want to go back to sleep
|I am excited about the day ahead
2. When you look in the mirror do you...
|Fret over my wrinkles/grey hairs/ blemishes and feel down about myself?
|Feel pleased about myself and good about the way I look - imperfections and all?
3. When confronted with a difficult task at home or at work do you think...
|What a pain, perhaps if I avoid it someone else will do it?
|Here's a good challenge - a way to really stretch myself?
4. Looking forward to a romantic evening do you...
|Create a scenario of doom in case things work out badly - that way I won't be disappointed?
|Enjoy imagining how wonderful the evening is going to be?
5. When you have an argument with your partner do you say to yourself...
|This is typical, he doesn't understand my needs. I'll never have a decent relationship?
|Maybe getting things out in the open can help us understand one another better and feel closer than before?
6. When you get a cold do you think...
|Just my luck! I always catch a cold at the worst possible moment?
|My body is obviously run down. Let me see how I can change my diet or my lifestyle in order to better support my needs?
7. When someone pays you a compliment do you...
|Dismiss it as untrue and then try to work out what their ulterior motive is?
|Accept the compliment graciously and thank them for their kindness?
8. What is your attitude towards your job?
|I hate it. I'm overworked and underpaid, but I have to stick it - there's so much unemployment about I can't expect to find another one?
|I enjoy my work. It gives me a chance to use my talents in a fulfilling way and I feel personally and financially rewarded?
9. You are tired and decide to spend a restful evening alone. A friend calls feeling down and asks you to go out with her. Do you...
|Go out with her even though I don't want to because I feel I should - this is the second time she has wanted to get together?
|Tell her I'm too tired, but I would be happy go out another night and enjoy my evening alone?
10. You are invited to a family christening which you don't want to go to. Do you...
|Go because I'm expected to. My family make such a fuss if I don't - I hate family gatherings?
|Either excuse myself because there is something else I want to do or go because I would enjoy making my family happy?
11. When you look back on your past do you
|Feel resentful about the opportunities I didn't have and regret many of the things I have and haven't done?
|Feel grateful for the circumstances that have made me who I am and feel that if I could go back I wouldn't change a thing?
12. Do you feel your future happiness depends upon...
|Finding the right relationship, the right job, earning lots of money and hoping that not too many things go wrong?
|Continuing to live from my core and allowing my life to unfold with optimistic anticipation?
If you identified mostly with the attitudes in the left hand column it is likely that you suffer considerably from the Inner Energy Drainers. Make a note of your beliefs and assumptions - write them down - with regard to some of the key issues in your life:
1. Your physical appearance - Do you believe that you can look the way you'd like to? If not, why not?
2. Your health - Do you believe that you can enjoy good health? If not, why not?
3. Your relationships - Do you believe that you can have good relationships with your friends? Your family? Your lover? If not, why not?
4. Your Home - Do you believe you can live in your ideal home? If not, why not?
5. Your work - Do you believe that you can have a satisfying, enjoyable and well paid job? If not, why not?
6. Your purpose - Do you believe you have a purpose in life? If so, what is it? Do you believe you can fulfil it? If not, why not?
It is important to realise just how much the negative beliefs you hold about yourself and your life can limit not only the amount of energy you have, but also your potential for happiness and personal fulfilment. By becoming aware of any limiting belief you secretly carry inside, you can begin the process of melting it away. Then your inner draining attitudes can become inner strengthening ones instead.
HANDLING THE EMOTIONAL DRAINERS
Just as it is common to hold negative beliefs, so many of us harbor negative feelings which deplete us of energy. A common one is anger. Anger in itself does not drain energy. It can be the driving force to achieving a goal. When anger is held in, however, it can turn into depression or resentment - both significant drainers. Another common energy drainer is fear or anxiety. Here are three techniques useful for clearing negative emotional drainers. The first - The Forgiveness Letter - is especially good for anger or resentment. The second, Give Away, is good for dealing with fear and anxiety when they arise. The last one, Rewrite Your Past, helps you to reorientate the way you see yourself and your life in order to release any chronic negative feelings you may carry.
THE FORGIVENESS LETTER
Harbored negative feelings corrupt your perspective on life, and lead you to attract negativity from others. They also make you feel bad about yourself. Getting rid of this energy drainer means recognizing your negative feelings and actively choosing to let go of them. Here's how: Write to any person towards whom you feel particularly resentful or angry (or even to "life" itself). List all the offenses you can think of. Don't hold back from telling the person exactly how you feel. At the bottom of the letter write: "I (your name) hereby forgive you (the person's name) entirely for the above grievances. In so doing I bless you and wish you well, I release my ill feelings and honor my right to be whole, to be free and to trust in myself and my life." When you have finished, read the letter out loud to yourself. Then burn it, letting the flames dissolve any remaining negative feelings.
Beginning to live from your core can be daunting. As you access deeper parts of your being it is not uncommon to experience feelings of fear or anxiety. Although it can be disconcerting to find yourself in a state of anxiety, once you recognise it you can use this simple technique to disperse your fearfulness. The Give-Away exercise is based on the American Indian tradition of offering gifts to Mother Earth. It can help you release negative emotional energy and gain comfort by reconnecting with the earth. Here's how: Stand or sit cross-legged on the floor. Notice your feelings of fear or anxiety, and try to locate the area in your body where you experience them most strongly. Breathe into this place, and each time you breathe out, imagine your feelings flowing down your body and into the ground beneath you. Make an offering of your fear to Mother Earth. As you do, you will feel calmer and more clear.
REWRITE YOUR PAST
Feeling unhappy about your past can be a real block to living the fullness of the present and the future. When you feel hard done by because of something that did or didn't happen to you, much of your energy gets tied up in feeling resentful or victimized. Just remember, your past belongs to you. Although the events in your past may be fixed
in your memory, how you feel towards those events can change. For instance, let's say that you always had a dream to travel the world, but because you got married and began a family early your dream was sacrificed. Either you can feel sour about never getting to do what you wanted to, or you can look at all the richness the pathway you did take has brought you. Think of something in your past that makes you feel victimized. It may be the way you were treated by a parent or lover, some career advice you were/weren't given, an accident or "misfortune" that befell you. Write about your grievance as fully as possible, remembering the details as well as you can. When you have finished, look at the grievance again. This time ask yourself the questions, "Why did I choose this circumstance? How has it served me? What has it taught me? What strengths or qualities has it helped me develop?" Record your answers in your journal. See if you feel any different about your past (or your present and future) at the end of the exercise.