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What Rosie the poodle has taught me about managing my energy

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My parents’ poodle Rosie has taught me three things:

1. The hair of a black poodle can turn grey when they are a puppy.
2. No amount of toilet training can stop an excited poodle from peeing when she first sees you.
3. Energy is a finite resource.

Allow me to focus on no. 3.

If you throw a ball for Rosie to chase, she will exert all the energy she has in a 20 second period to get the ball in her mouth. I have never seen legs move as fast as hers do when we throw her the ball! After she has chased the ball a few times she is utterly exhausted. She will lie on the ground for the remainder of the day, legs stretched out and eyes closed hut. The only thing that will get her moving again is the promise of food.

Rosie, like many of us:

  • Does not know how or when to slow down
  • Exerts a lot of energy in a very small space of time and is left feeling exhausted for the remainder of the day.
  • Needs to be reminded that energy is a finite resource and that is we expend it too quickly, we are left with very little in the tank for the rest of the day.

 

As highlighted in this Harvard Business Review article, the good news is that energy can be systematically expanded and regularly renewed by establishing rituals and behaviours that are regularly practiced.

A regular meditation practice each day (10 – 30 minutes) combined with regular mindful moments can assist you to slow down and manage your energy throughout the day. One of the most effective practices I was ever taught which I continue to implement and share to this day is the S.T.O.P practice.

S: Stop
T: Take a breath
O: Observe sounds, smells, colours, etc
P: Proceed to the next moment mindfully.

I find myself using the S.T.O.P practice to preserve and manage my energy – while walking to a meeting, while in a toilet and while waiting for a train. It is also instrumental in getting me off autopilot and into the present moment.

Another practice that can be done mindfully is an afternoon walk. I was reminded just recently of the value of this sort of activity in this article.  Not only does a 20 minute walk provide a mental and emotional breather and some exercise, it can also be the time when you get your most creative ideas. This is because when you walk you are not actively thinking, which allows the left hemisphere of the brain to give way to the right hemisphere with its greater capacity to see the big picture and make imaginative leaps.

I’d love to know your strategies for managing energy throughout the day. Share in the comments below.

If you’re interested in learning how a regular meditation practice as well as SPOT mindful moments can help you manage your energy better, consider coming along to one of our upcoming Learn to Meditate or Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) courses. Register here.

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