Updated: Feb 5
“The energy of the mind is the essence of life.”...Aristotle
Energy is the strength and vitality required for sustained physical or mental activity. That is the scientific definition, but what does that mean ?
What it means is everything we do whether it be a physical or mental, exercise or activity is fueled by energy. So what then is the fuel ? Fuel can be your attitude, people you surround yourself with, your surroundings in general and what we put into our bodies. Just as easily as the right song can fuel your mind with the energy necessary to finish that last mile, the wrong person can bump into you and suck that energy right out, so it is important to pay attention.
Most often when I write I create characters who are representations of myself. Today I am going to use me as the example because energy is one of my favorite topics.
One of the questions I am asked most is, “Where do you get your energy from ?”. If you are wondering why people ask, go and check out one of my workout or instructional videos and you will search no further.
Let’s explore what gives us energy from a scientific standpoint before getting into the spiritual side of things. I ran the NYC marathon just over a week ago, which takes a ton of energy and that is the reason I am using a personal account to explain energy to you today.
During my training for the marathon I was able to identify what food worked best and worst for my body. For example, I figured out my stomach does not handle oats well and that my energy level was much higher when running on the healthy fats and protein in fish and carbohydrates in fruits and vegetables. It is important to take the time. Figure out the best food sources. Find the foods your body processes best. The only way to do that is to experiment with different sources of energy, try different things that push your body mentally and physically and make mental notes about what happens to your body when you try different things. I know I know it sounds like a lot, but nobody said understanding the body’s energy levels was going to be easy. You should take physical notes as well to help keep track. Anything tracked improves and that is a fact.
We are all different, so nobody can tell you exactly what to do and eat, though there are some of us who can point you in the right direction, like nutritionists and personal trainers.
After the marathon I went into a week long celebration. A cheat week I would call it. I ate pizza, pasta, cookies, snacks, chips, cakes, donuts, etc… Anything I could get my hands on. What I learned confirmed what I already knew. All of these foods and snacks I was treating myself to were heaven going down and sewage coming out. My energy level was down, my skin was worse than usual, and my stomach was in shambles. Not really a treat when you think about food in terms of fuel and energy. Premium fuel burns clean and supply’s the body with sustainable energy.
I also mentioned the energy you can get from people, music, and surroundings. I would consider these the spiritual side of harnessing and producing energy. As I ran through the five boroughs I heard different music, waved at different people and saw different sceneries. When I heard someone yell my charity’s name I sped up, or I heard a person say my name I sped up. Those people inspired me. They energized me.
I began the race on the Verrazano Bridge and got to see Manhattan from a different lens than ever before. It wasn’t the sound of music or the crowd in those moments. It was this sense of beauty leading the way. That I cannot explain, but it happens to us all on different levels whether we notice it or not.
The tricky part is managing the energy. We know where to get it. We know what it does. Now how do we conserve it ? You manage your energy levels by doing the things you can control. Take control of your eating habits. Take note every time you snack and over time you will snack less. Take control of of your sleeping patterns by taking mental notes about how you feel when you get 6 vs. 8 hours of sleep. Instead of expending energy talking do more listening. Listening is just as important and takes less energy. When you run take the uphills slow and attack the downhills. Be smart with the energy you worked so hard to obtain. Energy is our most precious commodity and deserves our respect.
Energy deserves your attention. Pay attention to what you are doing with the energy obtained through fuel, surroundings, people and activities. Listen to your body when it speaks to you. It knows what it needs, whether it’s sleep, food, music, books, love, meditation, or relaxation. Remember needs are different than wants. For instance, right now as I type, it’s late and I want a cookie. What I need is to sleep, haha. Forget the cookie and go to bed. Recharge for the day to come and that is exactly what I am going to do.