One of the underlying principles of my self-improvement journey is removing the negative and adding positivity in the resultant space. I especially love thinking about this principle with respect to energy. I’m a huge proponent of any habits that will help me conserve previously wasted energy and use it in other ways.
As I come up on my 300th day of my 365 day challenge, I’ve been thinking more and more about the primary lessons I’ve learned in this last month. Energy is what I keep coming back to. I’ve felt so much more energy this month than I can ever remember feeling in my entire life. I’m sure I’m forgetting how I felt back when I was a kid, but I’m definitely not complaining about the added energy boost I’ve been feeling this past month. There have been some other somewhat strange side effects like my hair and nails growing super fast but that might be an entirely separate issue.
I have been having so much trouble sleeping this month, because no matter how little I sleep I feel so insanely energized. So where is all of this energy coming from? I’d say that over time, in the process of building up a system of routines and habits, I’ve felt my energy levels slowly increasing. For starters, I really believe that any time we are using a routine to perform a given set of habits, we are saving ourselves a lot of energy. Because traditionally, we would have to use willpower to make decisions at every single step along the way, but now all we have to do is initiate the routine, and then everything flows smoothly with as little effort as possible. Secondly, I feel like any time spent on internal work/journaling in general helps us face our inner demons. It might seem like you can just avoid your problems forever, but I personally think that avoiding problems and holding tension in our bodies really does absorb energy that we could be using in other places. So while I’ve been feeling my energy levels increasing slowly over the past few years, this month was different. This month it felt like they just skyrocketed out of nowhere.
I should also say that I am naturally an extremely high-anxiety person. So much so, that I sometimes don’t even notice the anxiety and/or thrive under this type of pressure. However, as I have been working through these feelings more and more, I have started feeling all of the energy that is usually channeled into anxiety, leaking back into my everyday life in other ways.
Now obviously all of this is just conjecture, I don’t know anything about the research behind “energy” or what even quantifies our energy levels, but what I’m realizing is that factual evidence might not be that important in this case. Because if I feel energized and am able to do more things in my day, does it really matter if it’s fake or not? The point being, if I could take a placebo every single day of my life to feel energized, happy, fulfilled, etc… I totally would. Because why not? If it works, it works.
To get into the nitty gritty, I feel like there are some more tangible things that I do contribute to my daily energy levels. Exercise, eating well, getting outside, getting enough sleep.. I know these things are boring, but since I have so much time I’ve been focusing a lot more on consistency with these habits. Consistency is game-changing. And while I’ve always thought that doing things over and over again is super boring, as long as I focus on how I feel and the benefits I’m seeing, it’s usually enough to convince myself that’s it worth it. And by convince myself I mean just convince myself that those habits deserve a place in a routine.
From the beginning, sleep has always been my number one most important habit, but I’ve noticed a change in my focus this past month. Because I’ve been exploring lucid dreaming, I’ve become a lot more focused on getting high quality sleep (for hopefully more REM) instead of just a certain number of hours in bed. I’ve also been placing more emphasis on unwinding with my night routine before bed and starting my day slowly each day. I feel like I always knew on some level that these types of changes would be “good for me”, but it was so easy to let them slip through the cracks in favor of the bigger, better “more classic” habits.
However, energy is a huge motivator for me. Feeling more energized during the day is a very explicit benefit that I can experience every single day, almost like a compounded version of the usual “feeling good” that I attribute to my habits. Furthermore, I connote energy with being alive. I will say that I’ve had more moments where I just feel so alive this month than I ever have before. And this isn’t just because I’ve been doing really exciting things lately, because quite frankly, I’ve been at home and have been doing pretty much the exact same things every single day. I honestly think it’s because, in doing so much internal work and self-exploration, I found some buried treasure trove of energy and finally gained access to it. It now supports me in feeling crazy energized no matter what I’m doing. I’ve felt that sense of awe in what I guess Abraham Maslow would call a “peak experience” while walking Rocky, deadlifting, and even just sitting on a couch outside. It has been truly weird and simultaneously incredible.
I’ve also been exploring concepts like enlightenment and spirituality way more than I ever have before. I don’t know if this is necessarily connected, I just want to highlight this fact to myself. Before, I found these concepts a bit “out-there” and unapproachable, but the Power of Now has really been forcing me to question my assumptions. I know this type of philosophical thinking isn’t for everyone, but what better time to pick up a book on a topic you’ve traditionally shunned? While they may be hard to find, we do have some unique opportunities in these times.
I’m not saying I don’t miss the world the way it used to be before lockdown, because I definitely do. I’m just trying not to waste energy sending into that wish, and instead using it to make the most out of what I do have today.