If you were trying to stay warm indoors on a cold winter’s night, you probably wouldn’t turn the heating up to full blast and then throw open all of the windows. In the same way, if you were setting out to drive in the most economical way from London to Newcastle, you probably wouldn’t decide to take a detour through Wales.
These days we’re all a lot more conscious about the need to use energy wisely and it’s exactly the same when turn our attention to our thoughts.
The idea that certain kind of thoughts drain energy that we could use for something else might sound a bit woo woo, but it’s actually supported by scientific research in a way that actually makes common sense.
In a New York Times article, a psychologist called Dr. Baumeister is reported to refer to lab studies that reveal a link between self control and blood glucose levels. In one study, groups of participants watched videos. Afterwards, the blood glucose levels of one group that was asked to repress any reactions to what they saw were measurably lower than the other group in which participants were free to respond naturally. Their blood glucose levels didn’t change at all.
Dr. Baumeister uses such findings to explain why, when we’re tired or hungry, our willpower flies out of the window. Rather than us just being weak willed, it’s an indication that we are trying to run our brain on empty fuel tanks.
That’s important to understand, and I think we can take this one step further.
Your brain runs almost entirely on glucose and it can’t store any reserves of fuel. It uses up to 20 per cent of the overall energy used by the body.
When we understand that our thoughts and in particular mental effort, such as repressing a response, sucks up the energy available to the brain, we can understand the importance of making sure that energy supply remains steady and that we use the energy that we have in the most efficient way possible, especially if we are working with manifestation.
So what can you do to make sure that you are conserving and using your energy wisely?
Nurture yourself – especially if you are going through a tough time. Make sure that you eat good food, drink enough water and get the right amount of rest and exercise. These things can drop down your list of priorities when you are stressed or worried, but this research shows how important self care is. Sticking with simple routines that support us can make a huge difference in how we are able to think and consequently how we feel.
Be an Eco-Warrior of love – check how you are ‘spending’ your daily energy allowance. Imagine your total daily energy as a pie chart that you divide up according to how you notice the pattern of your thoughts panning out. If you notice that you’re spending most of your ‘budget’ on regret, shame, worry, going back over the past or thinking about everything that might go wrong, you can change how you expend your energy.
Other research that I’ve also talked shows that spending just ten minutes writing out your worries can have a huge difference in how well you do at tasks or tests. So if you’re going through a few challenges, allow yourself half an hour a day to think about everything that’s ‘wrong’. Keep a journal and write out your thoughts, fears and worries. Then consider it done for the day and free your mind. You’ll find that you’re a lot more able to think of creative solutions to whatever you are dealing with.
Along with that, work in tune with your energy levels. If you know you’re tired, hungry or otherwise flagging, that’s not the time to make important decisions or push yourself to go on as it’s unlikely you’ll be at your best. The demands of life means that we can’t always play for time when we know we need to, but we often just assume we have to respond immediately when we can at least ask for a break. So the next time that you find yourself staggering to respond to something when you know that you’re on your emotional knees, get a good night’s sleep and see how you feel in the morning.
Loads of love
New York Times article
Learn more about your brain
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