Margin in emotional energy is critical. When we are emotionally resilient we can confront our problems with a sense of hope and power. When our emotional reserves are depleted we are seriously weakened.
“Emotional overload saps our strength, paralyzes our resolve, and maximizes our vulnerability, leaving the door open for even further margin erosion.” Richard Swenson pg. 79 “Margin”
If we find our emotional energy gone, how can we get it back? What are the factors that will not only protect our emotional reserves from unnecessary depletion but will replenish the supply at regular intervals?
10 ways to restore margin in emotional energy
(from “Margin” by Richard Swenson pages 86-92)
1. Cultivate social supports
The existence of intact, functioning, healthy, nurturing systems of social support are as good a resource for replenishing depleted energy reserves as can be found.
2. Pet a surrogate
Pets are capable of bonding, are extremely loyal and often exhibit deep appreciation for our affections – exactly the kind of responses needed to increase our emotional reserves.
3. Reconcile relationships
Broken relationships are like a razor across the artery of the spirit. True reconciliation is one of the most powerful of all human interactions.
4. Serve one another
One of the best ways to heal your own emotional pain is to focus instead on meeting the needs of others.
Get away occasionally. Escape. Relax. Sleep in. Take a nap. Try setting aside time regularly for some quiet and rest. Rest restores.
Laughter is the best medicine. This isn’t just a platitude it is true! People who laugh readily heal faster. Try laughing every four minutes. I guarantee something positive will happen to your emotions.
Crying is a form of emotional purging. Laughter lifts; crying cleanses. Both are partners in the process of emotional restoration.
8. Create appropriate boundaries
Boundaries are about establishing a perimeter around the personal and private spaces of our lives and not letting the world come crashing in uninvited. This is not an issue of selfishness but instead of self-care.
9. Envision a better future
We all must have a purpose bigger than ourselves to live for. We must have something we can believe in, something we can give ourselves to. When we do, every expenditure of emotion will have meaning and every expenditure of emotion will be reimbursable.
10. Offer thanks
In everyone’s life there is much to be grateful for and also much to be unhappy about. Realistically acknowledging both ends of the spectrum is appropriate. Unfortunately, most of the time our emotions dwell on the problems and forget about our obligation to gratitude. All people have within their grasp much to be thankful for. Gratitude fills. Grumbling drains. The choice is yours.
What else would you add to this list? What has helped you to restore your emotional energy?
I am continuing on in my book club discussions of Richard Swenson’s book “Margin.” This week I read Chapter 7: Margin in emotional energy. Whether you’ve read the chapter or not, please share your thoughts!