Running Into Low Energy

Let’s face it: every one of us sometimes has one of those days when we feel “low in energy”. Guess what? Yesterday was one of those days for me. Although, I could restore (in part) my energy by meditating, going for a walk outside, or simply chilling for a while, I started to ask myself “What does it actually mean to feel low in energy?” What is energy in the first place within our body? Yes, I am becoming a bit philosophical :).

We all know that for our body to properly function, it needs some sort of fuel to keep all our physiological and biological activities running. Whether it is typing this article or you reading it, we need the energy to make it happen. As we fuel our body by ingesting and processing food, ultimately there is one molecule that makes everything happen: it is called ATP. Scientists define it as the body’s energy currency. To make an analogy, it can be compared to money. To be able to buy whatever item you wish, you need money in exchange for it. Similarly, to be able to walk, I need to fuel my muscles to contact via providing ATP.

Did you know that our brain consumes about 25% of the total energy we use daily? It is one-quarter of what our body needs to function and stay alive. This is interesting because thinking requires energy or better said ATP currency. At this point, you may ask yourself: what does this have to do with feeling low in energy?

In an attempt to understand why I felt, the way I felt, I had to look back at what was the cause of my feeling low in energy. Was it a hard training session? Was it that I did not eat enough? Was it that I had a sleepless night? Or what is it that my mind was spinning out of control due to a situation that has been bothering me for a while? It took me a few minutes to realize that the latter was to blame.

Although we produce energy from what we eat, its supply is limited. In other words, we produce a certain amount of ATP daily based on many factors including but not limited to diet, lifestyle, and any other activity that might influence the daily ATP pull. It is like the money you have in your bank account. If one lives off of a fixed salary, we will have a limited amount of money available every month, based on what the paycheck looks like. Therefore, as I spend my money, the remaining amount gets lower and lower. In an ideal world, the more I spend, the more I should control what I buy. In reality, we often allow ourselves to spend more than we can afford using credit cards as a tool to be in a negative balance. The results? Being in permanent debt with ourselves and the bank.  The worst part is that the more we get used to being negative, the more normal it becomes to push ourselves beyond lines we should not be crossing in the first place.

Having said that, let us turn back to our thoughts. The question is how much energy are your thoughts taking out of you? Experience tells me that we often allow certain situations to act as credit cards: they make us cross lines, we should not be crossing. You see, when we are under stress and/or we live with unprocessed emotions, our head spins and spins consuming a great deal of energy that is continually pulled from our ATP storage. Unless we find a way to get our thoughts and emotions under control, we will end up exhausted, drained, and in low energy.

How do I handle energy-draining days? By becoming aware of the triggers, accept the situation and let it be naturally processed. I tend to take a break from my activities, engage in deep breathing and reach natural light. When under pressure or stress, we deal with emotions that tend to shrink us. Just observe the posture of a frustrated or a sad person versus someone who is joyful and relaxed. The former will tend to forward rounding the upper back and shoulders, placing the arms towards the center of the body, and putting the head down. The totally opposite occurs to a person in a joyful mental state. So, when feeling down, literally lifting yourself up and looking up does help. It is getting out of an invisible but yet thick shell we place ourselves into. Open yourself to new energy to flow back into you. Allow positive thoughts to replace negative ones. And never forget that no matter what happens in your life, you are in charge. You are in charge of smiling. You are in charge of staying positive. You are in charge of doing something about it. You are in charge of changing yourself while refraining from changing others.

I will end this short article with a quote from Les Brown

“Life is a fight for territory and once you stop fighting for what you want, what you don’t want will automatically take over.