Living fully

Stock Exchange Metro 5 Stockholm

“What we actually do with our time from moment to moment, from hour to hour, from one year to the next, can be a very powerful influence affecting our general well–being and our ability to deal skillfully with the stress in our lives.”

Last week I attended a professional development class on managing stress and living with full engagement. Dr. Lynn Rossy, the instructor, has taught and researched mindfulness-based interventions targeting stress, pain, cancer, depression, and eating since 1999 and works for the university. Be sure to check out her site, Tasting Mindfulness.

Dr. Rossy pointed out that how we manage our “energy” – rather than time – is the key to performing our best.

She highlighted four areas that are key to high levels of energy:

  1. Physical capacity
  2. Emotional flexibility
  3. Mental endurance
  4. Spiritual strength

Paramount to this concept is an understanding of energy capacity. “You don’t want to expend too much energy without recovery or too much recovery without sufficient energy expenditure. Balancing engagement and recovery is critical to high performance bothStock Exchange Spanishale Attractive woman in white meditating by still water individually and organizationally,” wrote Rossy.

She suggests developing positive energy routines that become as automatic during your day as brushing your teeth. “By developing positive energy routines for managing energy we will be able to live more fully engaged and with sustained high performance in all areas of our lives.”

This really challenged my idea of managing stress. Could I help myself by changing the idea to managing energy?

The class was so good that I want to dedicate a few posts to the content. To start with, I encourage you to spend a few minutes on this Energy Inventory quiz from Rossy. It’s simple and easy, so no excuses! This is written mainly for a work environment, but you can easily adjust most of the questions if you are a student, mom, work from home, etc. Just take “at work” off of the question and answer as it relates to you.

Brief Energy Inventory

Rank each item from 1–5.
1 = Never or to a Very Small Extent
2 = Sometimes or to a Less than Average Extent
3 = Average
4 = Often or to a More than Average Extent
5 = Always or to a Very Great Extent

Physical Energy
___  I have a high level of physical energy at work.
___  I get some physical activity daily.
___  I feel fully rested when I wake up.
___  I eat a balanced, healthy diet.
___  I take breaks every 90 – 120 minutes during work.

Emotional Energy
___  I feel happy and satisfied at work.
___  I get along with my boss.
___  I get along with my colleagues.
___  I feel that my successes are sufficiently acknowledged and recognized at work.
___  I feel confident at work.

Mental Energy
___  I am able to focus and concentrate at work.
___  I feel more engaged and motivated than frustrated and aggravated at work.
___  I manage my time efficiently at work.
___  I feel organized and mentally prepared to do my work each day.
___  I am able to think clearly and logically at work even under conditions of high demand.
___  TOTAL

Spiritual Energy
___  I feel a sense of purpose and meaning in my work.
___  I am passionate about some aspect of the work that I do.
___  I take actions at work which are consistent with my deepest values.
___  I feel my work is personally fulfilling.
___  I am able to truly leave work behind at the end of the day.
___  TOTAL

___ GRAND TOTAL SCORE (all four areas)

85 – 100: You are fully engaged and full of energy! Keep up the good work.
55 – 84: You’re about average, but you could feel a lot better. Work on the areas where you know you could improve.
21 – 54: You energy and productivity is less than adequate. It’s time to make significant changes in all four areas.
20: Your engagement and energy is on empty. Do something NOW to make steps in a positive direction. Your health and your job are at risk.


9 thoughts on “Living fully

  1. Thanks for sharing this Larissa! I’m excited to check out her page and take the quiz tonight… this stuff is right up my alley. Looking forward to your subsequent posts!

    • Yes! Unfortunately, I did not take the photo. I found it on, a royalty–free photo site. I’ve never been to Stockholm, but I would LOVE to go. On a list of many places I still want to visit… 😉

  2. I’m perplexed a little by the contrast between the last section and the other three… The first three sections suggest that the work we do should be energizing, motivating, and satisfying. Then we’re supposed to leave it behind without another thought at the end of the day?
    Actually, I do think we should be able to separate our value from the work that we do. I think our work should NOT define us. So maybe it’s the first three sections I have issue with. If the spiritual section is in place; if our value is found in God and if we are in a right relationship with God (our spirit can commune with His), then we can gladly do the work He has prepared for us in advance to do. Our work then becomes an outflow of who we are in Christ.
    Practically speaking, this may play out very similarly to what the quiz suggests. But the Source of our energy makes all the difference, doesn’t it?

    • The confusion makes sense. The questions are written for a work environment, but I think what she’s really going for is balance. We should be motivated and satisfied with our work, but we also need to be able to step away from it for other areas of life. Certainly, those lines are much clearer when work takes you away from home.

      I think I disagree that work should not define us, at least for me. I know I REALLY struggle when my work is not something I truly care about. It has to have meaning, impact some greater good, for me to be satisfied with all the time and effort I spend. Obviously, *how* we work is a reflection of character – or defines us – but I know I only thrive in a setting that inspires on a deeper level.

      I also think perhaps you are defining “spiritual energy” more specifically that the course content was written. You are talking about faith, about our relationship with God. Certainly, that is spiritual. And certainly that influences our “spiritual energy” as discussed in the post. But I really think Dr. Rossy is intending the term “spiritual” to have a broader meaning in this context.

      I know that doing a devotion with Jon over breakfast increases my spiritual energy, or spiritually refreshes me. I also know that going for a walk and taking care to enjoy the natural surroundings is spiritually refreshing, whether I specifically thank God for it or not.

      I’ll flesh this out a little more in a later post. 🙂

  3. Pingback: Physical capacity | Piloting Paper Airplanes

  4. Pingback: Get control of your emotions! | Piloting Paper Airplanes

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