No B.S Friday: Sometimes emotions are just energy stories.
Are you depressed, or just resting?
Think about it.
Why do we describe moods as ‘buoyant’? Why do we say things like “her smile always lifts me up” or “I’m feeling down”?
Why do we think like that – like there’s some vertical scale with negative emotions down the bottom, and positive emotions at the top.
Why do we talk about getting ‘high’? (I mean, not me personally, but you know what I mean.)
Why do we give emotions this ‘direction’.
Emotions aren’t directional. They’re not going anywhere right? They’re not traffic.
But this is how we talk about them, and this is sort of how it feels.
My theory, and I’ve talked about this before, is that often when we talk about emotions, what we’re actually talking about is energy.
When we’re “lifted up”, we are given more energy. We become more energized.
If someone brings us down, then we’ve lost energy. We become de-energized.
Emotions – and maybe not always but definitely sometimes – are just the stories we tell to explain our energetic state to ourselves.
Coffee is the classic example. If I have a coffee, I start enjoying anything I’m doing. Suddenly going through the quarterly accounts is awesome. So much fun.
I tell myself a story about being happy. I like these numbers. I like doing this task. It’s nice to be working in the office.
But I’m not happy. I’m energized. My adrenals are firing up to deal with the caffeine and my energy levels spike.
I’m not happy, I’m energised.
So back to my original question. How do you know the difference between being sad and being tired?
Are you depressed or just resting?
I do think these are distinct things – that they are qualitatively different states of being.
However, I think often when we’re feeling sad and down, what we’re actually feeling is tired and depleted.
And we live in a world that keeps us constantly chugging on the treadmill. We’re all burnt out.
And depression is epidemic.
I think there’s a connection there.
And I think it is useful to remember that what we really want isn’t necessarily to be happy – it’s to be energised.
A happy life is an energized life.
And if you think about it like that, then you start to get much more protective of your energies – you become much more careful about where your time is going
And you become less interested in what makes you happy, and more interested in what energizes you.
Food, nutrition and exercise is obviously important here, but so is living with purpose, having autonomy over your time, and having exposure to people and things that stimulate your soul. Things like that.
Maybe it’s not about ‘managing emotions’. Maybe it’s about cultivating energy.
So remember this. Sometimes emotions are just stories we tell ourselves to help us understand our energetic state.
But they can just be stories.
Energy has to be one of the central focuses of our lives.