Breathe in.., breath out; we do it about twenty-thousand times per day, without thinking. Were it to stop, we would be unconscious in two minutes and dead in ten. It’s obviously important.
Life is fueled by exchanges; breath, food, water, and innumerable others. These exchanges manage the flow of energy in the body.
Theoretical physicist, Matt Strassler defines energy as a property of objects that characterizes their behavior and their relationships to one another. Its interesting to reflect on that in the context of our own life-energy.
Breathing is automatic. Our overall energy management is not. Let’s consider an example:
Prior to retirement, I had an office job that came with a fair amount of stress. By the time I got home in the evening, I was exhausted; Mj knew better than to “engage me” when I first walked in the door. But, after a four-mile run, I was completely recharged! Wait.., what? How is it that after being completely “spent”, I could expend additional energy and be refreshed?
Everyone knows exercise reduces stress. But, there’s more to it than that. Energy must continuously flow for balance to be maintained. When this flow is restricted, energy builds up, like steam in a pressure cooker, until it’s released, as stress, anxiety, mental exhaustion or negative emotions.
Let’s try an experiment. Take a deep breath in and hold it as long as you can.
How long did you hold it? Not long, right? Our body doesn’t like being thrown out of balance! When you attempted to restrict air flow, your body said “no dice” and pretty quickly forced a large exhale.
The word emotion derives from the Latin word emotere, which means “energy in motion”. Trapped energy upsets our emotional balance resulting in stress, anxiety, anger and mental exhaustion. Our well-being is determined by how we manage energy in motion. One way or another energy flows! Remember your big exhale?
Rather than asking you “how’s it going”? I might ask, “how’s it flowing”! Are you “holding your breath”? The easiest way to tell is if you are feeling stressed, anxious or emotional. These are telltale signs of restricted energy flow. Exercise relieves stress, but we can’t always go for a run. What we can do is pay attention throughout the day to our life-energy balance. When feeling stressed, take thirty seconds to purposefully release pent up energy with a few cleansing breathes. Alternatively, simply practice “letting go” and relaxing into the moment. Being intentional about our energy balance is not as easy as it sounds, but small actions can sum to a huge improvements in well-being.
Key Principle: Bringing life-energies into balance (Mind-Body-Spirit)
Key Question: How is your energy flowing right now?
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