“Mindful self-regulation. When you are about to engage in an activity or a meditation, it’s good to be clear about which mode you are going to be in, and what the objective is. Are you trying to achieve something but expend energy, or trying to restore energy, or something that is a bit of both?”
Dear Integral Meditators,
Too much output of energy without enough input leads to a burnout. This weeks article explores how to start regulating your energy levels and manage them better by being more mindful.
The subject of the article is also the subject of this weeks Tuesday & Wednesday meditation class, if you enjoy the article, then do feel free to join us either online or live!
In the spirit of self-regulation,
Why am I doing this? Mindfully self-regulating your energy
There are three types of activity essentially:
- Energy expending – Where you are doing an activity that involves expending energy in order to achieve something
- Restorative – When you are doing something relaxing in order to regenerate and build your energy
- Net neutral – When you are doing something that is both taking a moderate amount of effort, but also giving back some energy to you in some way, so maybe you might say it is a ‘net neutral’ activity
In any given day, you want to be monitoring these so that, overall you are doing enough restorative activities to not run out of energy. Too many days (running into weeks, months and years) of energy expending without recharging essentially leads to burnout.
This is also true for your meditation
- You can do meditations that involve visualization, emotion and thought that are actually quite hard work, but that lead to an achievement or capability. This type of meditation takes effort and energy
- There are some meditations that are relaxing, but require some focus and work
- There are others that really emphasize relaxation, regeneration and minimum effort/energy expenditure and creating energy for recovery
So, when you are about to engage in an activity, or a meditation, it’s good to be clear about which mode you are going to be in, and what the objective is, are you trying to achieve something but expend energy, or trying to restore energy, or something that is a bit of both?
To conclude, here are three sample meditation techniques. The first is a net neutral one, the second energy expending, the third restorative. If you were feeling you had energy on any given day, you could do mainly one and two. But if you were feeling really exhausted at the end of a hard day, you could do mainly or exclusively the last (links to further details of each technique are included).
- Free form breathing
- Visualizing yourself as an adventurer in life
- Relaxing into safety & brain relaxation
Free form breathing means to just allow your body to breathe as it wants to breathe in order to release stress and move towards balance. All you need to do is allow your body to do what it needs to do, and keep your mental attention on the breathing as the body goes through its process.
Visualize yourself as an adventurer in life, meaning confident in the face of your challenges, feeling enthusiastic, energetic, strong, courageous. Visualize yourself for a few minutes like this, viewing from the first person (in your body as the adventurer) and third person (as an observer). Build the feelings and visuals clearly and specifically! This should feel good, but it takes some effort
Relaxing into safety and brain relaxation. For the final section, recognize that you are safe in the moment (no immanent threats to your wellbeing), and relax your physical brain. Imagine it goes into sleep mode, like a computer – Still switched on but functions minimized! Try and make yourself as relaxed as possible, almost asleep but still a degree of awareness. Less effort more ease and regeneration…
So, there you go, that’s an example of the three types of meditation that you can try.
One final point here is that you can also do one meditation in three different ways. For example, you can do the free form breathing in a way that is really emphasizing focus and clarity, or you can do it in a more relaxed way, not worrying so much about effort, just emphasizing release and flowing into restfulness.
Life-fullness – The Integral Life-Coaching Program with Toby
Are you looking a coach who can help you to:
- Meet the challenges, stress and changes that you face in a more effective and mindful way
- Become happier within yourself, in your relationships and at work
- Be actively accountable for finding a sense of balance/well-being in your life and fulfilling your personal potential?
- Guide you to find and operate from a deeper sense of meaning, motivation and connectivity in your life?
All upcoming classes and workshops at IMA:
Ongoing on Wednesday’s, 7.30-8.30pm – Wednesday Meditation for stress transformation and positive energy with Toby (Bukit Timah)
Ongoing on Tuesday evenings, 7.30-8.30pm – Tuesday Meditation for stress transformation and positive energy with Toby (East Coast)
Starts Tues 16th /Weds 17th August – An Adventure in Consciousness – The What, Why & How of integral & engaged meditation practice
Saturday September 24th, 9.30-11.30am – Monthly Qi Gong & Taoist Breathwork Clinic & Mini-retreat
Saturday September 10th, 9.30-12noon – Full Moon Zen deep-dive mini-retreat
Integral Meditation Asia