What Gives You Energy and What Drains It?

by Denise Douglass, Doctor of Medical Qigong (China)

10-31Patients often ask me after a Medical Qigong treatment, how do I keep this wonderful feeling of peace and balance in my life?

Your body, mind, spirit, emotion and energy are all integrated and inter-connected. They all effect one another. Keeping yourself in balance helps you to be more effective in all areas of your life- work, family, relationships, spirituality, health and wellness.

In our culture, we sometimes get so busy in our lives that all we have time to do is- just function. Building a life of balance and contentment involves learning more about ourselves and making conscious choices to align ourselves with our core beliefs and values- and to walk our talk.  The thing is, you first need to be aware of what you value; and then observe and be conscious of the way you are currently proportioning your life’s time and energy.  How?  I’d like to share a great beginning exercise to help you observe the things that give you energy in your life and those things that take it away. Give it a try! I challenge you!

Start to observe and make a List “A” of all the things that give you energy- things that make you sparkle, feel peaceful and content, balanced, happy.

Everyone’s list will be different.  Some people need more alone time, some people are energized by other people. Some folks need a higher level of activity, others are restored more by being in nature or simply having things peaceful and quiet. We all need a balance of both active/ social time and quiet/ alone time. Everyone’s optimal balance is what is right for them-there’s no right or wrong, no better or worse. In fact, that balance will likely change for the same person at different times in their lives.  The important thing is to learn to observe and notice what gives you energy and record it, so you can consciously choose to spend more of your precious daily time surrounded by things that give you energy. (I myself keep a list on my phone that I check from time to time as a reminder of my observations.)

If you’re stuck about how to start, begin with the things you know right off the top of your head  give you energy and then add to it as you notice them in your daily life- they can be big or small. You might want to begin with your five senses.  What pleases you to touch and feel? What gives you great enjoyment when you look at it? What smells lift your spirits. What tastes tantalize your palate? What sounds make you want to dance or smile?


After you’ve gotten your “A” List going, start a second List “B” of those things that leave you feeling drained, tired or exhausted, unbalanced, or not right. These things can be little things. They can be big things. Start with the things you know and then add to your ongoing list as things occur in your day to day life. Pay attention. Record them.

Here’s the key.  Now consciously choose. DO MORE FROM YOUR LIST “A”, AND LESS FROM YOUR LIST “B”.

As you look at your “B” list.  First, ask yourself, do I really have to continue this is my life? You’ll see that some items on the list, you might be able to eliminate, but many others that you can’t, like  a regularly difficult family member or co-worker, or work your job requires.

If you can’t eliminate an item in column B, can you make any kind of change that would improve it or reduce the amount of time you spend with it? You may have a family member that leaves you feeling exhausted- can you reduce the visits or shorten the time you spend in each visit? If driving in traffic with crazy drivers upsets you, can you alter the time of day you drive, or take a less congested route? If not, could you plan to play relaxing music for those drive times?

If you know you’re going to have a tough week of “B” List items, or especially if you are healing from disease or injury, or are exhausted, this is an incredibly important time to listen to your body and take super good care of yourself!  During these times, make sure you proactively protect yourself with the best level one self care you can: rest and adequate sleep, excellent nutrition, appropriate hydration, appropriate exercise or movement AND up your “A” List activities. Look at your list- some of them only take a few moments. Whenever you can, try not to let too many of your “B” activities bunch up together.

Again, pay attention to and work on the balance of what gives you energy and what drains your energy. Do more of those things that give you energy and less of those things that deplete your energy.

Here are some ideas from lists of students and patients (and mine):


“A” List Sampler: Things That Things Give Me Energy


Listening to beautiful music
Candlelight epsom (or Dead Sea) salt bath
Favorite exercise: Swimming, dancing, lifting, kayaking, boating, running, walking, skiing, Qigong exercises, biking, skiing,  yoga
Inspirational books or movies
Reaching an important goal
Nutritious food
Good nights sleep
Deep, meaningful conversations
Being in nature
Meaningful sexual union
The ocean
A gentle breeze of sweet fresh air
Loving touch
Having a clean orderly home
Someone’s kind or thoughtful gesture
Watching the sunset
The pleasure of being with your pet
The joy and love of being a parent
Bird song or frogs singing
Looking at the stars at night
Support from close friends or family
Creative work or activity- art, music, woodworking..
Sleeping under the stars
Hanging out with your BFF
Real hugs from (child, partner, friend)
Receiving an unexpected gift
Some crystals or stones
Wearing special clothes or jewelry or certain colors
Having art in the house that makes you smile
Diaphragmatic breathing
Eating a favorite meal
Vacation down time
A no responsibilities, nothing scheduled or planned day-

spontaneously choose as i go

Fragrant flowers on the table
A warm cozy fire on a cold blustery day
Doing an act of kind service for someone
Receiving relaxation therapies








































































As you look at the sample lists, you may notice other people’s “A” List of things that give them energy, would actually deplete you of yours; or perhaps things that are listed on their “B” List that deplete their energy, but might boost yours.  Again, remember people’s energy is effected in different ways. Your lists will be very personal to you.



If your “B” Energy Depleting List ever gets to the point where it feels overwhelming, or even if you feel stuck in one or two things- think about getting some help with that! We all need some help from time to time. Bhakti is an integrative clinic with many outstanding therapies and experienced professionals that would be glad to assist you with your healing and wellness intentions.  Consider Medical Qigong, Naturopathic Medicine, Mental Health, Psychotherapy, Chiropractics, Egoscue Postural Alignment, Massage, Cranial Sacral, Allergy and Immunology,  Health Coaching, Homeopathy, Micro-current, or Acupuncture services to help you get “unstuck”.