Increase energy gains; decrease energy drains*

Are you full of pep and energy, ready to do more? Or do you feel drained and exhausted? After giving at the office, is there nothing left to give at home? Do you feel as if you are on a treadmill that will never stop, that more things feel draining than energizing?

Feeling chronically drained is often a precursor for illness and may contribute to errors; conversely, feeling energized enhances productivity and creativity and encourages health. An important aspect of staying healthy is that one’s daily activities are filled more with activities that contribute to our energy than with tasks and activities that drain our energy.  Energy is the subjective sense of feeling alive and vibrant.  An energy gain is an activity, task, or thought that makes you feel better and slightly more alive—those things we want to or choose to do. An energy drain is the opposite feeling—less alive and almost depressed—those things we have to or must do; often something that we do not want to do.   Energy drains can be doing the dishes and feeling resentful that your partner or children are not doing them, or anticipating seeing a person whom you do not really want to see. An energy gain can be meeting a friend and talking or going for a walk in the woods, or finishing a work project.  Energy drains and gains are always unique to the individual; namely, what is a drain for one can be a gain for another.  The challenge is to identify your energy drains and gains and then explore strategies to decrease the drains and increase the gains. Use the following five step process to increase your energy:

  1. Monitor your energy drains and energy gains. Keep a log of events, activities, thoughts, or emotions that increase or decrease energy at home and at work.
  2. Identify common themes associated with energy drains and energy gains.
  3. Describe in behavioral detail how you will increase your energy gain and decrease the energy drains.
  4. Record your experiences on  a daily log.
  5. After a week assess the impact of your practices.

1. Use the following chart to monitor your energy drains and gains at home and at work by using the following chart.

Energy Gains (Sources)

Energy Drains

2. Identify one energy gain that you will increase and one energy drain that you will decrease this week

Energy Gain (Source)

Energy Drain

3. Describe in detail how you will increase an energy gain and decrease an energy drain. Be so specific that it appears real and you can picture how, where, when, with whom, and under which situations you are performing it.  Be sure to anticipate obstacles that may interfere with your plan and develop ways to overcome these obstacles.

Write out your detailed behavioral description for increasing an energy gain:

Write out your detailed behavioral description for decreasing an energy drain:

4. Record your experience on a  daily log. By recording your experiences you can assess the efficacy of your changes.

  • Day 1
  • Day 2
  • Day 3
  • Day 4
  • Day 5
  • Day 6
  • Day 7

5. After a week, review your daily log and ask yourself some of the following questions:

  • What benefits occurred by increasing energy gains?
  • What factors impeded increasing energy gains?
  • What benefits occurred by decreasing energy drains?
  • What factors impeded decreasing energy drains and how did you cope with that?
  • What strategies did you use to remind yourself to decrease the energy drains and increase the energy gains?
  • If you could have done the practice again, how would you have done it differently?

*Adapted from: Gorter, R. & Peper, E. (2011). Fighting Cancer-A Nontoxic Approach to Treatment.  Berkeley: North Atlantic Books, 107-200.


2 Comments on “Increase energy gains; decrease energy drains*”

  1. jamesmcahill says:

    Excellent post, Erik. I can see this as so very valuable and practical, and most importantly, doable for so many of our trainees, including me! Well done, again!

  2. […] Identify and resolve stressors, conflicts and problems that negatively affect you and drain your energy. Keep a log to identify situations that drain or increase your subjective energy. Then do problem solving to reduce those situations that drain your energy and increase those situations that increase your energy. For a detailed description of the practice see https://peperperspective.com/2012/12/09/increase-energy-gains-decrease-energy-drains/ […]


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