May 18, 2024

Power Outage: Energy and Your Mental Health

 “In the end it is not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” Abraham Lincoln

When I see clients who are depressed, I often wonder which came first the depression or the lack of energy. Either way, energy is our most important resource. We need to maximize energy to stand up to depression or anxiety in daily life. Energy is the path for a life with meaningful activity. Without energy our lives are empty.

How do you supply energy to your body? Often we are careless with the quick fixes of sugar or caffeine. On the other hand do you take a daily walk, spend quiet time or routinely socialize with friends?

Energy is more than the physical type where we typically focus. Energy is created by four separate but related sources: 1) physical, 2) emotional, 3) mental and 4) spiritual.  

Physical energy can be understood as our physical fitness. Emotional energy is related to dealing with stressful situations and the need for security. Mental energy has to do with focus and self expression. Spiritual energy is related to the meaning we have for our lives.

We can train in each of these areas. Yes, you read that right; training is possible in each of the four areas. Training includes reasonable stress and followed by proper recovery.   

How can we properly stress the resource and yet make sure we have adequate recovery? Take patience as an example; by gradually dealing with situations that incrementally require more patience, you can train yourself to be a little more persistent, a little more tolerant. We instinctively know that if we over exercise, some part of our body may break down with injury.  It is similar to gradually adding pounds as we lift weights. How can we properly stress the resource and make sure we have adequate recovery?  Don’t lift on successive days or start the quest for patience with a traffic jam on the Dan Ryan in Chicago.

 Ask yourself — “In what area am I most fit? What area needs the most training?” Consider taking an Energy Audit at to determine your strengths and weaknesses.

Training in each aspect will be discussed in future blogs. (Source: Way We are Working Isn’t Working by Tony Schwartz and The Power of Full Engagement by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz)