The next time you find yourself in a foul mood, ask yourself how much it relates to what’s going on around you — and how much it relates to your energy level.
Entrepreneur Darius Foroux was trying to figure out why he was in a bad mood on some days and in a good mood on others. After doing some journaling, he made an interesting observation:
[...] I finally discovered a pattern. How I feel is determined by my energy.
- High energy? Good mood, feeling confident, looking forward to the future, chest up, smiling, enjoying myself, and doing whatever the fuck I like.
- Low energy? Bad mood, sad, afraid of the future, timid, shying away from eye contact, worrying, etc, etc.
Now, you might think that’s pretty obvious. But no one ever taught me to manage my energy. Not in school, not at work, and not in business. But managing it has made a big impact on the quality of my life.
Before we go any further, I want to clarify that energy is not the only factor that affects mood. Chemical imbalances, hormonal shifts, persistent external stressors, jobs that provide you with a lack of control or agency, financial worries and so on can all contribute to the way you feel about yourself and the world.
But many of us have had the experience of looking at an overtired, tantrumming toddler and thinking, “We really shouldn’t have skipped naptime today.”
It’s worth asking if the same thing applies to you.
Not that most of us get to take naps during the day, of course. But we can still examine our lives and see if there are ways to better manage our energy levels.
To quote Foroux again:
- “What activities destroy my mood and drain my energy?”
- ”What activities make me feel good and give energy?”
He reminds us that some kinds of activities — hard, focused work; housecleaning; exercise — may not return the corresponding energy boost until they’re complete. Likewise, some kinds of activities may give you a 10-minute feel-good boost before making you feel worse than when you started.
And sometimes, nothing will restore your energy except good old-fashioned rest.
But I know exactly what Foroux means when he says that low energy days make him more anxious, more afraid of the future, and so on. Some mornings, in fact, I use my own little mantra: “You have not slept enough to trust your feelings.”
What about you? Some people use the HALT check, for example, to ask themselves whether what’s “really going on” (for lack of a better term) is that they’re hungry, angry, lonely or tired — and then take action based on what they discover.
If you have similar tricks or techniques for managing your energy and/or your mood, let us know.