The Rejuvenating Power of Relaxation By Brian Tracy April 26, 2008 Excerpt From: Personal Success
Most successful people can be characterized as having very high
levels of energy. Since energy is the fuel with which everything is achieved,
there seems to be a direct relationship between energy levels and levels of
accomplishment. It is hard to imagine a tired, burned-out person achieving much
in life. On the other hand, energetic, positive, forward-moving individuals seem
to get and enjoy far more of the things life has to offer than does the average
We have been led to believe that there is basically one kind of energy. We
supposedly replenish this energy by sleeping at night, and during the day, we
use it up again. It is as though we are machines powered by batteries, and each
night we recharge our batteries for seven or eight hours. However, there are
some problems with this view of energy. The biggest problem is that it does not
deal with the fact that there are actually three different kinds of energy, each
of which is necessary for maximum performance.
The three main forms are physical energy, emotional energy, and mental
energy. Each of these energies is different, but they are interrelated, and they
depend on each other.
Physical energy is raw energy, coarse energy, bulk energy, what we call
"meat-and-potatoes" energy. Your physical energy is what you use to do physical
labor. It is the primary energy applied by men and women who earn their livings
by the sweat of their brow.
Physical energy is an unrefined form of energy. People who work at hard
physical jobs usually eat large quantities of food and burn up this food energy
in the course of their working day. At the end of the day, they are physically
tired, and they spend the evening and night replenishing themselves with food
and rest so that they can get up and work again the next day. This is the
situation of more that three quarters of the world’s population.
The sad fact is that if you use up all your energy in physical work, you have
no energy left for higher purposes.
For example, imagine that physical energy is bulk energy, and if you do hard,
physical labor, you require 1,000 units of physical energy from food and rest
each day to do your job and perform your natural functions. If you use up your
entire 1,000 units by the end of the day, you will be too tired, emotionally or
mentally, to do much more than sit around and watch television during the
evening. However, if you do not use up all your physical energy, thanks to
laborsaving devices, machinery, automation, computers, and so on, the remainder
of it will be available for higher purposes.
The second form of energy is emotional energy. This is the energy of
enthusiasm and excitement. This is the energy that lends sparkle to the life of
an individual. This is the energy that is necessary for feeling love, happiness,
and joy. Largely, it is your emotional energy that makes life enjoyable for you.
In fact, almost everything you say and do is determined in some way by an
emotion, either positive or negative.
And here’s the important point. Positive emotions give you energy, while
negative emotions deplete your energy. When you are excited and happy and are
interacting with people you love and enjoy, you sparkle with energy and
enthusiasm. When you are angry or depressed, or negative for any reason, you
feel tired and frustrated and, eventually, burned out.
To continue the example of energy units, if it takes 1,000 units of physical
energy to operate your body and you do not do physical labor, that physical
energy can be refined in your body to produce 100 units of emotional energy.
Emotional energy is a far more refined form of energy, and it is absolutely
essential to healthy emotional functioning.
We all have had the experience of exerting ourselves so hard physically,
perhaps playing a sport, that we were emotionally flat. We were unable to become
angry or excited about anything. We were completely tired out. However, in our
knowledge-based society, most of us do very little physical labor. Our kitchens
are full of appliance to help us do the work of preparing our food. We drive
cars to work. We take elevators up to our offices. There, we sit in chairs for
most of the day. And we have to force ourselves to take a walk or exercise at
the gym just to keep our bodies in motion. Because of this knowledge-based
lifestyle, we have much more energy available to fuel our emotional centers.
If you do not consume all your energy units in the expression of negative
emotions, such as fear, doubt, anger, and resentment, your emotional energies
are conserved. If your energy is conserved at one level, your body continues to
refine it into higher and better energy. 100 units of emotional energy thus
conserved will be refined by your body into 10 units of mental energy.
Mental energy is the energy of creativity, of problem solving and decision
making. You use mental energy to make sales, write reports and proposals, plan
your day and your week, and learn new subjects. Your level of mental energy is a
major determinant of the quality of your life.
The reason why most people fail to realize their potential in life and work
is because they burn up their energy at the emotional level, or the physical
level; therefore, they have very little energy left over for mental activities.
Most people burn up their emotional energy through the expression of negative
emotions. Negative emotions are like a fire that burns up their energy so
quickly that they have very little left with which to think positively and
constructively. In fact, one five-minute uncontrolled outburst of anger can burn
up as much energy as an average person would use in eight hours of work.
You’ve probably heard someone described as "shaking with anger." When a
person is shaking with anger, it is an indication that he has burned up the
glucose or sugar-based energy in his system, and he is actually weak from his
Another characteristic of very successful people is that they keep themselves
calm much longer than the average person does. They are more relaxed, more
genial, and more in control of their emotions. They are very aware that
expressions of negative emotion deprive them of the energy they need to be
effective in the more important things they do. They don’t allow themselves to
become upset or angry over little things, or even over large things. They remain
objective and detached. They stand back and refuse to take things personally.
They do not allow themselves to get drawn into arguments or other people’s
problems. They save their energy for more productive purposes.
One of the most important things you can do is to consciously and
systematically build up and conserve your energy so that you have it available
to use to create the kind of life that you sincerely desire. If you want to do
really well financially, which requires mental energy, you get help in doing the
things that require higher quantities of physical energy. You delegate physical
work. At the same time, you preserve your emotional energy by keeping positive
most of the time. And you use your mental energy carefully and skillfully by
being well organized and clearly focused on your key tasks. You don’t waste your
energy on low priorities.
The whole purpose of physical relaxation is to allow yourself to
recharge your emotional and mental batteries. You don’t engage in physical
relaxation so much to relax your physical body, because you likely don’t work
that hard with your body anymore. The aim of rest and relaxation is more to
build up your mental and emotional energies and thereby improve the overall
quality of your life.
Here are some techniques for relaxing physically that are used by the most
successful and highest paid people in America.
First of all, work only five or six days per week, and rest completely on the
seventh day. Every single study in this area shows that you will be far more
productive in the five or six days that you work if you take one or two days off
completely than you ever would be if you worked straight through.
During this time off, do not catch up on reports, organize your desk, prepare
proposals, or do anything else that requires mental effort. Simply let your mind
relax completely, and get busy doing things with your family and friends. Maybe
work around the house, go for a walk, engage in physical exercise, watch
television, go to a movie, or play with your children. Whatever you do,
discipline yourself to shut your mental gears off completely for at least one
24-hour period every seven days.
Second, take one four-day vacation every three months, and during that time,
refrain from doing any work. Do not attempt to catch up on even a few small
things. If you do, you keep your mental gears in motion, and you end up neither
resting nor properly doing work of any quality.
Third, take at least two full weeks off each year during which you do nothing
that is work-related. You can either work or relax; you cannot do both. If you
attempt to do a little work while you are on vacation, you never give your
mental and emotional batteries a chance to recharge. You’ll come back from your
vacation just as tired as you were when you left.
If you are involved in a difficult relationship, or situation at work that is
emotionally draining, discipline yourself to take a complete break from it at
least one day per week. Put the concern out of your mind. Refuse to think about
it. Don’t continually discuss it, make telephone calls about it or mull it over
in your mind. You cannot perform at your best mentally if you are emotionally
preoccupied with a person or situation. You have to give yourself a break.
Since a change is as good as a rest, going for a nice long walk is a
wonderful way to relax emotionally and mentally. As you put your physical body
into motion, your thoughts and feelings seem to relax all by themselves.
Also, remember that the process of digestion consumes an enormous amount of
physical energy. Therefore, if you eat lighter foods, you will feel better and
more refreshed afterward. If you eat more fruits, vegetables, and whole-grain
products, your digestive system will require far less energy at the physical
level. This energy will then be available to you in the form of emotional and
mental energy that you can apply to higher purposes.
Since your diet has such an impact on your level of physical energy, and
through it your levels of mental and emotional energy, the more fastidious you
are about what you put into your moth, the better you will feel and the more
productive you will be. We know now that foods high in fat, sugar, or salt are
not good for your body. The lighter the foods you eat, the more energy you have.
You can get the very most out of your time off by getting lots of sleep—take
a nap whenever you feel like it—engaging in light physical exercise, such as
walking or cycling, eating healthy foods, and limiting your alcohol consumption.
Let yourself go, completely, just as if you had parked yourself in a garage and
hooked yourself to a battery charger. Let your mind, your emotions and your body
rebuild themselves so that you will be ready to perform at your best when you go
back to work.
The key to achieving the success you desire is to be positive, alert, and
clearly focused on your work and your objectives. Being at your best mentally
requires being at your best emotionally as well. High levels of positive
emotional energy depend on your remaining calm, positive and optimistic about
yourself, the people around you, and your work. Refuse to express negative
emotions, either to yourself or others. Resolve to be cheerful, and refuse to be
knocked off course. Play your own game, and remember: Less can be more.