Quantum Happiness Series: Endless Energy

 Benjamin Franklin Said:
“Energy and persistence conquer all things.”

women working out for energy
I remember being in labor with my youngest child, when the OBGYN looked at me and said,

“You only have so much energy, and you are wasting it.”

At the time, I thought he just wanted me to stop screaming, but I often reflect on those words. Much like time, energy is a finite resource. It can be replenished with proper nutrition, exercise, and rest, but when it’s gone, it’s gone.

By wasting this precious resource on self-destructive, stressful habits we burn out. Stress is a vampire draining us of positive, productive energy and replacing it with crippling anxiety, toxic fear, and exhaustion.

Sources of stress
Some stress is self-induced by poor time management, lack of planning, over spending, etc., while other stress is brought on by the outside world and circumstances beyond our control.
Passive stress is an invisible but destructive breed of stress caused by things left unattended:

·        check-ups

·        home or auto maintenance

·        stacks of bills or junk mail

Like spores of ennui in the atmosphere, passive stress slips under our radar. We don’t notice, but it works in the background to irritate and frustrate us, usually rearing its head late at night and in quiet moments when we should be resting. This insidious breed of stress creeps into our lives unannounced draining us of valuable energy while nourishing the blooms of ennui.

We can combat these self-destructive stressors with:

·        Deliberate detection: Pay attention. Look for passive stressors.

·        Proper planning: Prepare for predictable stressors in advance.

·        Sensible scheduling: If it happens with regularity, schedule it.

o   Grocery shopping

o   Gassing the car

o   Self-care (haircuts, check-ups, exercise, etc.)

By paying attention, planning, and scheduling, we put these mundane tasks squarely on our to-do list because:

·        If we wait until we have time to go to the grocery store, we end up dining out or making unhealthy choices because we don’t have what we need to cook healthy meals.

·        If we wait until we have time to gas the car, we must make an unplanned stop and possibly be late to an important event.

·        If we wait until we have time to get a haircut, have a checkup or visit the gym; we end up with bangs in our eyes, anxiety about our health, and stiff joints from lack of exercise.

Nothing to it but to do it

Our property taxes are due in mid-January but can be paid as late as April 15th. I tend to put payment off until at least April 1st and then scramble to pay them before the deadline. While paying the bill is not a problem, I just resist the few minutes it takes to get it done. Therefore, I keep it on my to-do list and dread it for months.  

Paying the tax bill takes less than an hour and is a nuisance regardless of whether I pay it in January or April. But the earlier I pay it, the sooner I can cross it off my list of passive stressors. 

So, next year I’m going to create a new habit of paying that bill in January. It’s already on my calendar, and I’m going to schedule it alongside renewing one of our vehicle tags that already renews in January. I have no excuse not to take care of it while I’m there.

What do you need to do?

Is there anything on your to-do list that has been revolving for too long, creating passive stress and draining you of energy without your even recognizing it? If so, either commit to getting it done, delegate it, or ditch it completely. If you don’t want to do it, and you don’t have to do it, there is no shame in cutting it loose and crossing it off the list for good.

Using eustress

Not all stress can be avoided, nor should it be. We need a certain amount of productive stress, otherwise known as eustress, in our lives to remain alert and motivated. Eustress makes us ambitious, helps us grow, and motivates us to set and achieve goals.  

So, instead of trying to eradicate stress from our lives, let’s invite the bright blooms of ambition eustress provides, while we choke out passive stress by poisoning its roots with detection and proactive planning. 

Tackle transitions

Before I broke free of ennui, I unconsciously struggled with the transition between work and home. If I was stressed at work, which I usually was, that negativity would creep into my time at home, making me tired, grumpy, and distant while draining me of valuable energy.

I had to actively learn how to leave my workday behind and change mental hats from Grumpy Gertrude to Happy Homemaker. My family needed me to be happy, healthy, well-adjusted, and energetic whether I felt that way or not.

Since I can’t be stressed in my jammies, I have learned to reach for them as soon as I walk in the door.  That is my transition tool.

I’ve interviewed hundreds of people about their transition tools and found: 

·        Some meditate before going in.

·        Others hop straight in the shower to literally wash the day away.

·        While other brave souls leave their phone or briefcase in the car.  

One creative businesswoman that I interviewed sat down an imaginary suitcase full of work worries outside the door whenever she arrived home.

Whatever your transitional technique is, identify it, craft it, and hone it into a customized tool to prune the ennui vine from your life. 


Engagement exercise 1:

List three things causing you passive stress that you can either delete or delegate.


Engagement exercise 2:

Choose a transition tool that you feel will help you make the transition from work to home and practice it for one week. You may use one of the tools listed here or invent one of your own. If you are unsatisfied with the results, use another tool for the next week. Repeat as needed until you find the right transition tool for you.

What is your preferred transition tool?


What others might you try?






 featured photo by bruce mars on Unsplash