We are like rechargeable batteries that need to plug into a power source from time to time – and the way we recharge is an important and often overlooked topic. Personality tests such as the Meyers-Briggs suggests that extraverts are energized by interacting with others, while introverts are energized by quiet time. In truth, we all need some of both, but the ratio of others-to-quiet varies greatly between these two poles. There is nothing wrong with one way of being or the other, despite our cultural celebration of the extravert.
On a deeper level, our culture does not yet recognize the significance of energy exchanges between people – yet we can all feel when a conference room has a “bad vibe” following a tense meeting, or when we’re part of a team that seems to be positively “on fire” working together. Our batteries are drained or powered by the group’s vibe. Whether your day involves giving a high profile keynote address or playing games with your kids, collaborating with your team on a tough problem or dining with your family, making a pitch to an influential new client or coaching kids on the finer points of basketball, you put yourself out there where your power can be drained.
Most of us know this, and we might have a few healthy habits that keep us feeling a little less drained – like getting regular exercise, drinking plenty of water, journaling, or spending time doing something fun with people we love. These are all wonderful ways to care for ourselves, yet sometimes they just aren’t enough. And when you’re walking into that tense conference room, or standing in the world’s longest grocery store line, you can’t easily drop everything and go for a run.
So what can you do to restore your power while in the midst of life’s daily challenges?
When you’re experiencing a power leak, first try to get a sense of what’s happening to your energy in that moment (remember that emotion is energy in motion). Below are descriptions of a few challenging energy conditions.
Challenging Energy Conditions:
- Low and Slow – I’m yawning a lot, feeling tired, bored, and unable to concentrate on what I’m doing here.
- Highly Charged – I’m irritated, frustrated , angry or uncomfortable with the situation. It’s taking a lot of my energy to keep a lid on it.
- Flying High – I’m anxious, agitated, or nervous. My energy is directed at talking, thinking and worrying about what might happen.
- Antsy-Pantsy – I’m super impatient with the situation and distracted by all I have to do. I spend a lot of energy moving around, multitasking, and switching my focus between tasks.
Each of these conditions describes different types of power leaks that we all experience from time to time. You may relate more with one of them than the others. Whether you’re feeling Low and Slow, Highly Charged, Flying High, or Antsy-Pantsy, the same simple grounding exercise can help you restore your energy and get a good vibe on. And when you’re feeling pretty good, this is a great practice for expanding that good vibe. If you’re an introvert, try this during your alone time. Extraverts, try it while sitting on a crowded beach, or in a busy sidewalk cafe.
The key is to indulge your imagination as you do this exercise by engaging your five senses in the process. Do this practice wherever you happen to be when the situation triggers a power leak. With a little practice, you’ll find you can do this and continue paying attention to those around you, never giving away that you are in the midst of an emergency recharge!
Ground Your Power:
Standing or sitting with both feet flat on the ground, feel the earth beneath your feet. Notice the soles of your feet pushing against the earth, and then notice the earth lifting your feet, then lifting your whole body. Imagine the dense, musty scent of rich black soil. Sense that instead of simply standing or sitting on the earth, it’s actually the earth that is holding you. Now, imagine that your legs are roots growing from your hips all the way to the center of the earth. Your roots anchor you into the solid earth, creating a channel for energy to flow. Inhale and exhale through these roots. As you exhale let all tired, frustrated, irritated, anxious, worried or distracted energy flow into the earth. As you inhale, welcome renewed, fresh and calm energy in it’s place. Take at least three deep breaths while imagining this flow, repeating silently the word “release” with each exhale, and the words “receive and restore” with each inhale. Relax into the power flow with gratitude.