"STRONGER TOGETHER" is a weekly column where Tanya explores key issues. This week Tanya focuses on energy, understanding what it is, how it impacts us and others.
By Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services' Managing Director
Energy has many different definitions. It is everywhere, and people are no exception.
As it is understood in physics, energy cannot be created nor destroyed; but it can be transferred and transformed.
On a psychological level this can be likened to a theory of emotional contagion – yes, you can get a bad vibe, and no, you don’t have to accept that energy if you don’t want to.
This notion of emotional contagion is how experiencing someone else’s emotions and behaviour can impact our own.
Unfortunately, just like the flu, people can spread their negative emotions onto others, resulting in people unconsciously creating a ripple effect by taking on others negativity and spreading it.
Humans can be both a source and a blocker of energy when we’re attune to our experiences and our desires.
This constant check in is particularly important when it comes to emotional contagion, and what or who depletes our energy.
Consider different types of people you associate with. Do either of these types of people ever cross your path?
Person 1: When you are around them, you start feeling heavy. You don’t know why it is, but after being around them you feel drained, exhausted and like you just went down a vortex of negativity and hopelessness.
You feel like you have literally had the life sucked out of you and after talking to them you notice that you appear to have a low mood and you feel more negative.
If we are honest, we all have at least one of these people in our lives.
In comparison, when you’re around Person 2 you feel uplifted, rejuvenated, and empowered.
Their presence is infectious, and they leave you feeling like you have just settled into the warmth of a cosy doona through their energising connection and lightness.
When speaking with them you feel immediately re-charged, optimistic and hopeful.
Sound familiar? If so, why does Person 1 drain you and Person 2 lift you up?
The answer is linked to energy, more specifically the energy they are emitting into the world through their words, their actions, their body language and their view of themselves and the world around them.
This is personal energy at its best, and fortunately we have a choice. We can retain these people in our lives, or we can choose to change the relationship if it is not serving us.
Increasing your energy levels can be multifaceted and often correlates to your wellbeing.
Eating food that is good for your body, maintaining good sleep hygiene and drinking plenty of water daily can contribute to your physical energy levels.
When it comes to recharging your mental, emotional, and even wellbeing, understanding values, maintaining boundaries and adapting your self-care needs accordingly work to protect your energy.
This also seeks to promote a more positive energy output of your own.
Some people have their social battery drained through meaningless conversations or being in a public setting for a long period of time. Others thrive off social interaction and new connections. Your energy is yours to monitor and protect for use in areas of your life that are important to you.
Regardless of whether you find that you tend to naturally be more introverted or extroverted, understanding your energy with the knowledge of your values, can help determine where you want to spend your energy, your current capacity and when to fiercely protect it.
Imagine if we all took a moment to reflect on our energy and the potential ripple effect that it could create before we go to a business meeting, interact with a stranger, or even catch up with family and friends.
Imagine the positive shift that could be created if we all took accountability for the energy that we put out, armed with the knowledge that situations might unfold differently if we are more intentional in the way we show up.
One of the simplest ways to experience more positive energy is to release those things that are not ours to fix. What could you let go of today?
If it is a person, would changing the relationship that you have with that person increase your energy levels?