Updated: Apr 12, 2022
We are energetic beings. The body is a vessel of energy. It acts as a container for our energy and can allow energy to flow in and out. The energy provides the life force and a sense of well being to the body. Our energy impacts our sense of vitality and wellbeing but has been disregarded in modern life. A greater consideration has been given to the gross matter of our physical bodies (i.e. the bones, organs, tissues, muscles of the body) rather than the subtle energies within and around us. We must recognise that the physical and energetic parts of our being are interconnected. When we ignore our energetic reserves, we allow ourselves to become depleted, running on empty which can eventually lead to chronic illness or burnout. In order to thrive, energy must be well balanced in the body. It is more difficult to be of service to others when our tank is not full.
Our breath carries energy in and out of the physical body. The energy is taken in from the universal energy field and brought inward to fuel our system. The inhale is a chance to nourish and heal our being. The exhale is a chance to release what our system no longer needs. This cycle of the breath, receiving and letting go, is an energetic exchange. How we breathe will determine how we exist. However, many of us don’t breathe properly and have dysfunctional breathing patterns. Functional breathing emphasises the use of the nose to breathe. Nasal breathing allows for the incoming air to be filtered, warmed and moistened for optimal absorption. Physiologically, breathing through the nose has a calming and relaxing effect on our heart rate and the nervous system. In fact, the breath is the gateway to our nervous system. When we soften the belly, letting go of tension and tightness, we can take the inhale to the lower parts of the lungs. Then we can activate the parasympathetic nervous system also known as the relaxation response. When the relaxation response is activated, we can slow down, self-regulate, become calmer, more centred and grounded. Our breathing is slower and deeper and we can replenish our energy through rest and digestion.
Dysfunctional breathing patterns make it more difficult for us to relax. Some of us hold a lot of tightness and rigidity in the abdomen and this makes it more difficult for us to allow the breath to reach the lower parts of the lungs. We might reverse breathe (holding the belly in on inhale and pushing it out on exhale) which means our breathing is shallow. We may also be chest breathers, keeping the breath in our upper lungs. This results in the overuse of the secondary breathing muscles and causes chronic tightness in the chest, neck and shoulder muscles. When we breathe functionally, we use the diaphragm as the primary breathing muscle. The belly moves out on inhale and draws into the spine on exhale. When we don’t breathe properly, we may feel like we are not taking enough air into the body. This can make us feel stressed and, in some cases, we can experience panic and anxiety attacks.
How we breathe can induce stress on the body. But crucially external stressors can impact our breathing and make it harder for us to relax. Living with low grade stress has a chronic impact on our physiology and the emotional and mental fluctuations. Our sympathetic nervous system is over activated. This is widely known as “fight or flight, the body’s reaction to a perceived threat (real or imagined). When we don’t feel safe, the sympathetic nervous system turns stored energy into movement to fight or run away. Stress hormones are released to help us survive, our heart rate increases, blood pressure rises, our breathing becomes more rapid and shallow, our pupils dilate and the blood is sent to the big muscles of the body to help fight or run. During the stress response immunity is suppressed and the blood supply stops going to the digestive and reproductive organs.
When the system is in a state of stress it is in protection and survival mode. It shuts down growth at the cellular level and inhibits immune function. Decision-making is less rational and more short-term. We draw on old judgement patterns and become less open minded and more defensive. This is designed to be a short-term response but what if the stress response is chronic and there is no release of these symptoms? This can be described as “fear-based living.” An accumulation of these symptoms over time leads to disease. We need to be able to release stress and move into the parasympathetic response to switch off the stress response. The relaxation response allows for growth and repair of the body. It is a chance for healing and for more energy to come into the system offering restoration and balance.
What we consume also impacts our energy. Less processed food, derived from the earth is more nourishing for our energy. Water also fuels our tank. Highly processed food with chemicals and toxins adds more stress to our system. Along with nutrition our digital diet also impacts our energy. Media content such as news, social media, music, television, books etc. all impacts our thoughts and our energy. We can ask ourselves does the consumption of this content move us towards fear or towards love?
Our relationships are also energetic experiences. When we begin to consider ourselves as energetic beings, we come to know that everyone has their own frequency and vibration. Each interaction we have is an energetic exchange. As our awareness develops, we can notice if a situation is containing, enhancing, or depleting our energetic reserves. We also notice if our thoughts, behaviours, and patterns are taking energy from others. With consciousness, we can actively choose experiences that enhance and replenish our energy bank and reduce experiences that diminish our energy.
We must look after our energy so we are resourced. When we are fully resourced, we have more to share and give. When we listen to our energy levels, we know when to rest and sleep, when to play and when to work. There may be times when we need to protect our energy. This requires a sense of discernment about how we spend our time and with whom. We may feel drained when we are out of alignment with someone or out of sync with their energy. We can leave their company feeling less energetic than before as our energy shifts to a different vibration. A sense of obligation, shame or guilt can see us return time and time again to situations that deplete our energy.
Intention is a powerful indicator of the outcome of our energy and the ease or struggle that we experience in any given situation. When our intention is to be of service, to be useful in a situation then our energy is refuelled by that act of service. However, if our intention is driven by a feeling of obligation or a desire to please others at the cost to ourselves then our own energy is drained. Over time these experiences may affect our health and vitality. It is vital for our wellbeing to surround ourselves with people and experiences that revitalise us and increase our energy bank.
Sometimes we can block our own energy when we focus on areas of our life where we sense a lack of love. If we didn’t receive love as a child, we can give it to ourselves now. We can offer ourselves that gift. We don’t have to wait for anyone else to do it. We can heal and transform ourselves with self-love. When we offer ourselves acceptance, kindness, and compassion we make a radical shift to take care of ourselves. This nourishment of the ‘Self’ is critical to replenishing and maintaining our energetic wellbeing. Love is the ultimate renewable energetic resource. We give it and we receive it. It never runs out.
When we connect with our subtle energy, we regulate ourselves to be a calm presence in the world. Living from this centred, grounded space we are more self-aware, able to feel fear and release it. Imagine the ripple effect in the world if each of us was more regulated, living in a calmer state with a wider perspective and more rational decision-making abilities. We would move away from “fear-based living” towards “love-based living”. In this grounded, resourced energetic state, we have something more to give others. By sustaining and enriching our vital energy, we raise our vibration and become more useful and purposeful in the world.