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Energy Cycles and Mental Health

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Honoring Your Own Energy Rhythms-

Our lives are an integral system that consists of these four areas: spiritual, emotional, psychological/mental, and physical expression of energy. In this series of 3, our last two blogs discussed how our eating patterns and our nutrition, and our sleeping patterns can affect this energy system.  Indeed our healthy nutrition habits and our healthy sleep habits are crucial to maintaining a healthy balance in our integral energy system. Now, we will look at identifying our daily energy patterns that are unique to us as individuals.  We will look at how we can use this information to make choices about how we time the activities in our lives to better harmonize with our own unique daily energy cycles. Read on, and you will be guided in developing your own self analysis for this purpose.

You will want to gather some paper w/light binder or a journal  and a pen/pencil, and plan to devote an entire month to recording personal data.  It might be helpful to begin this self analysis at the beginning of the month.  You will being a new entry each day.  For each entry, write the day of the week, and the date.  Then use a separate page for each of these four categories: Spiritual, Emotional, Psychological/Mental, and Physical.  (You can use small page stickies for each set of 5 pages, if that is helpful).  For each category write in the time of day you usually wake up in the morning, and then go down the page and provide a space for each of the hours of the day until you usually go to bed. It will be easier for you if you can create a user friendly template using a chart/table on your computer, or one on paper that you can photo copy.

Next, you will want to review each category and give yourself an energy value for each category for each hour.  You can use the 1-10 scale that you are likely already familiar with. For example: 1= Extremely low    5= neither low nor high   10= extremely high.  We are talking about energy levels, not mood. This means that if you have a high energy number for emotions,  you are experiencing emotions more acutely- as if you are feeling them more; they have high energy whether they are positive emotions, or negative emotions.  At other times, you might be completely unaware of any kind of emotion and not be feeling anything at all, because you are in a high mental energy state.   So, we are not measuring level of crisis, or level of mood , but rather, our own sense of intensity of energy of these different categories.  You don’t need to stop everything you are doing each and every hour of the day, but rather, when you think of it, sit for a moment and fill in your chart/table and this will take only a few moments. At the end of the day, before you go to bed, fill the rest in (or the whole thing if you haven’t filled anything in) by memory.  Below is an example:

TIME Spiritual Emotional PsychologicalMental Physical Date:
6:00 am 8 2 1 1 Notes:
7:00 am 8 4 1 5
8:00 am 5 5 3 5
9:00 am 2 5 5 9

Continue your Chart/Table through all the hours of the day.  Once you have collected a weeks worth of energy measurements, look for patterns by averaging them out.  You will want to carve out some time once a week to complete your calculations. Take all of the numbers for the spiritual category at 6:00 am, and average those, you will have your average Spiritual energy number for 6:00 am that week.  Do this for all of your categories and times. You will likely find that you sustain a level for one to three hours at a time for some categories. Do this for four weeks, calculating your average numbers for each category and for each hour of the day. Now you will have a set of four averages for each hour in each category, (one for each week).  Put those side by side and you should get a very good idea of what time of the day you have high energy for each category, and what time of day you have low energy.

Now, you can use this information and structure your actives to match the energy levels.  For example, schedule your weekly finance/budgeting/pay bill time to coincide with your high psychological mental energy time. You know you will be alert and sharp and will be able to think clearly and creatively and make good decisions during this time. Schedule your meditation or prayer time during your high spiritual energy times.  Schedule your exercise time during your high physical energy times. Arrange daily tasks according to energy and try to structure your day to synchronize with your energy times as much as you can. You know which tasks require high emotional energy for you, etc. Another example of how to use this information; you might want to cook meals and store them during a high physical and high mental energy time, and eat them at your regularly scheduled meal times that are determined by your own metabolic structure as mentioned in the first blog of this 3 blog series. If your regular meal time occurs during a high emotional energy cycle, but a low physical energy cycle, then you will be happy with yourself for having already prepared your food (or have at least gone grocery shopping during a high physical energy cycle).

If you take the time out of your busy world to evaluate your energy cycles, you will be able to honor each of the integral aspects of yourself and your awareness will assist you in maintaining balance.  It sounds allot more complicated than it is.  Once you dive into this, you will see.

Let me know if you have any questions by leaving a comment.  Also, let us all know how you are doing with this activity if you decide to try it.

Energy Cycles and Mental Health

Dr. Barbara Bachmeier


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APA Reference
Bachmeier, D. (2015). Energy Cycles and Mental Health. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 23, 2019, from https://blogs.psychcentral.com/bipolar-update/2015/03/energy-cycles-and-mental-health/

 

Last updated: 1 Apr 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 1 Apr 2015
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.