Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Effects of Physiology on Energy Levels - Where's the Threshold?

We have times in life when our energy levels simply evaporate into thin air. And when this happens and we’ve still got more to do, it is ironically and especially taxing.

I find personally that this happens mostly when I have relationship conflict and many cares to boot--an awkward combination of people to please and tasks that must be done. When all of this happens at once, my energy levels can become severely compromised, and the effects are broad from a case of ‘mental fog’ to complaint, to what I’d call ‘mood-meltdown,’ a.k.a. a depressive episode. Most times, however, we’re resilient enough to cope.

I don’t know about you but I don’t like it when my mind stops working momentarily; but I see God in it, simply reminding me of my limits--and his strength then has a way in.

And how can we explain this phenomenon of disappearing energy? Is there any science that might shed light on the causes or effects on our energy levels when the demands outweigh supplies (our own coping resources)?

There is a psychology-based paradigm that I think explains, at least in part, the factors involved which adversely affect the brain’s ability to cope with, or avoid, an incident or undesirable event.

o Speed—reaction time
o Drugs and alcohol
o Fatigue
o Frustration
o Cognitive processing
o Things on your mind (TOYM)

Any of these factors or a combination of them consume the available ‘units of consciousness’ that are part of our normal cognitive (logical thinking) capability. It is said that the average human being has seven (7) of these units.

Now, wonder (or wander if you prefer) with me into a scenario. Take it you have a highly responsible job with quite a number of cares and you also have many and varied family responsibilities. This is ‘situation normal’ for most people.

These things alone possibly take maybe five (5) of those available units of consciousness at any one time; add to this mix the complexity that comes with most if not all relationships from time to time, or a temporary rise in workload, and it is easy to see how our energy levels can wane significantly in a short time. Most people in this age will feel stressed as a result and probably weekly, or at least monthly.

An old friend said to me once, there’s the ‘Lego-block theory’ regarding relationships. We can only ever invest so much time. We can only handle so many Lego blocks on top of our own Lego block stack. Once the stack gets too high, the stack will fall over.

And I believe this is what happens in our lives with busyness and many responsibilities and cares. We overload and try to do too much.

We must learn to limit the load of Lego blocks on our own stack and make available room (units of consciousness) for those most important to us, as well as our jobs, interests and passions.

No comments: