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2 Tricks to Combat Energy Vampires

April 24, 2013

After you’ve recognized an energy vampire, the next step is to learn to deal with him or her. To ward off mythical vampires you need wooden stakes, holy water, and garlic, but to ward off energy vampires you need one thing: to stay centered.

energy vampires

Energy vampires operate by keeping you off kilter. When you’re off kilter, you can’t think clearly and the vampire is in control of the interaction. If If you stay centered, you’re able to think clearly about what your options are and exercise them, keeping you in control of the encounter.

Here’s two tricks to keep you centered and in control:

1. Breathe.

It may sound simplistic, but breathing can be a hugely helpful tool to center your energy. Deep breaths oxygenate the blood and help keep energy moving, so you’re able to think more clearly. If you know you’re going to encounter one of those energy suckers, make some time to take a few deep breaths. If you find yourself in the middle of an encounter, remember to take three deep breaths to center your energy. It helps more than you can imagine!

2. Plan Ahead.

It’s hard to combat an energy vampire when you’re not at your full strength. Take care of yourself by getting enough sleep and staying hydrated. That way you’ll have more energy to deal with them. And plan some escape routes ahead of time when you’ll be in meetings or family gatherings with an energy vampire. For example, if you know your Aunt Mildred is an energy vampire but you have to see her for Grandma’s birthday, plan to limit the time you interact with her, and have several polite but workable excuses on hand to disengage from her. (If all else fails, disengage by excusing yourself to use the restroom. No one can argue with the need for a bio break.)

Staying centered will help you better stay alert and energetic for encounters with energy vampires. Try these two tricks to help you combat their influence to stay energetic and strong.

What tricks do you use to combat energy vampires? Leave your tricks in a comment on this post so we can all learn them.

Stay energetic and strong,

Jennafer

Jennafer Martin

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How to Recognize An Energy Vampire

March 29, 2013

When you think of the people in your life who lift you up, who immediately comes to mind? I’m guessing that whoever it is—whether it’s a friend, family member or coworker—you usually leave conversations and interactions with him or her feeling peaceful, energized or happy.

Unfortunately, interactions with others can sometimes have an opposite effect. And if you leave interactions feeling drained of your life force, it’s a good indication that you’ve just been in contact with an energy vampire.

I know it’s a dramatic archetype: the vampire. But it’s a very fitting one. Mythical movie vampires suck your blood, but energy vampires suck your energy. And since all of our interactions are energy exchanges, it’s important to prepare yourself so you’re able to protect your energy level and wellbeing.

mythical movie vampire

Spotting a vampire in the movies is relatively easy because of their pale complexions and fanged teeth. But spotting an energy vampire on sight is less easy because they could be anyone, whether a stranger on the train or your favorite cousin. You’re more likely to recognize the effects of an encounter with an energy vampire before you recognize the vampire him or herself, which, according to Dr. Judith Orloff, are:

1. Your thinking becomes clouded, confused.

2. You feel like the rug was just pulled out from under you.

3. Your mood is suddenly really down.

4. You feel tired (zero energy, eyelids getting heavy, ready for a nap).

5. You feel put down, sniped at, or agitated.

energy vampire attacks can leave you agitated and depleted.

Aside from feelings as indicators, you’ll learn to spot energy vampires because their interactions with you take on patterns that place them in common vampire types. Some of these include the criticizer (who finds fault with everything and offers unsolicited advice), the victim (who has a “poor me” attitude and complains often), the drama queen/king (who exaggerates small incidents into extreme crises and seems to thrive on chaos), and the blamer (who berates and accuses).

Look for these signs and patterns to start learning to identify the energy vampires in your life, which is the first step towards protecting yourself against their attacks. Look for more tips in a future post to help you stay energetic and healthy.

love & light,

Jennafer


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2 Tips to Manage Your Energy

September 24, 2012

The power to manage so many aspects of our lives is in our hands. Some of them we’re aware of and do pretty regularly, like managing our households, workloads, and finances. But there’s one important aspect of our lives to manage that many of us don’t think of often: our personal energy.

Each of us starts out each day with a supply of personal energy, and we choose how we spend it throughout the day. Managing our energy so we feel healthy and energetic, rather than depleted and exhausted, gets easier when we know a couple of tricks to help.

Tip #1. Choose activities & interactions that energize you.

All activities and interactions—from the conversation you have with a coworker in the break room to the jog you take each morning to the kinds of music you listen to—are energy exchanges, so each we engage in throughout our day either increases or decreases our personal energy. Choosing activities and interactions that energize you is the best way to ensure your energy is strong throughout the day.

How do you know if an activity or interaction energizes you? It’s all in your feelings.

If something energizes you, you’ll feel

  • excited
  • enthusiastic
  • light
  • happy
  • smiley
  • look forward/anticipation

If you’re excited or enthusiastic about an activity, chances are it’s one that energizes you

If something depletes you, you’ll feel

  • a sense of foreboding
  • dread or a desire to put it off
  • disengaged
  • a sinking feeling in your chest or stomach
  • tired or down-right exhausted

Think about yesterday’s schedule. What did you do that energized you? What did you do that depleted you? Noticing and keeping track of your activities will help you better understand how they add to or take away from your personal energy and help you better manage it.

Once you notice which activities energize you, choose them as often as possible to keep your energy level strong each day.

2. Replenish your energy.

Sometimes we can’t avoid situations or interactions that deplete us to one degree or another. You may have to go to a family function and interact with a relative that routinely drains you. Or you may be required to attend a work meeting that you didn’t expect to be so long or frustrating and leave feeling tired. Occurrences like that are common for all of us, but we can effectively manage our personal energy by making sure we replenish the energy that these occurrences drain from us.

To do this, do activities that energize you shortly after you start to feel drained. I find it helpful to make & keep handy a list of activities that energize me. I call this my ‘happy list” and find that immediately doing items on it help fill my energy bucket back up. Items on your list could include:

  • listen to music you enjoy
  • watch a funny movie
  • meditation or breathing techniques
  • drink a glass of water
  • rest or take a nap
  • play with your kids
  • take a bath
  • diffuse essential oils
  • engage in your favorite hobby

The more things on the list the better—it will give you a large pool of things to draw on to fill up your energy bucket in different situations whenever you feel drained.

Make a “happy list” of activities that energize you to replenish your energy when it’s low.

 

Managing your personal energy can become as automatic as managing other aspects of your life. Try these two tips to help you and leave a comment letting me know how they helped or any additional tips you have.

2 Tips to Be Mindful (not “Mind Full”)

August 6, 2012

In past posts, we’ve talked about living in the moment and enjoying the process, both of which take time and  attention to do. But what if you could continuously practice living in the moment? There are many that use meditations, breath or sound triggers to do so, and that practice is called mindfulness.

If you’re like me, you probably already practice mind-full-ness of a different kind, the kind where your mind is full of to-do lists, ponderings, and more—so full that it’s hard to shut off sometimes, interfering with sleep or making it hard to concentrate. While this type of mind-full-ness is common, it’s the kind that has your mind everywhere BUT the present, so focused on things in the past or the future that it’s hard to pay attention to, let alone focus on, the present. Thankfully, the practice of mindfulness can be an antidote for mind-full-ness, helping us focus on and be very aware of the present.

So how do you practice mindfulness? Here’s two tips to try today:

1. Soak in the moment. Wherever you are right now, be there. Become an observer and notice the sights, sounds, textures, and smells. What about being there right now amuses you? Makes you happy? Calms you? Taking a mental inventory will help your mind focus on the here and now and take in your surroundings in an encompassing way, helping you be present.

2. Recognize thoughts, but realize they are just thoughts. While you’re busy trying tip #1, it’s inevitable that different thoughts will creep in, beginning to take you away from soaking up the moment. If you find that happening, moving you away from the present, recognize the thoughts running through your head. tell yourself that they are just thoughts, and bring your focus back to your surroundings, easing your mind and staying in the present.

So there’s two tips to try to practice mindfulness in order to get rid of mind-full-ness. Try them today and let me know how it goes by leaving a comment. I hope you’ll find that, when we take time to practice mindfulness, it helps us cut down on extraneous thoughts, allowing us to concentrate better when making important decisions and enjoying the moment more.

Take care,

Jennafer

Pain Can Be a Great Teacher

May 29, 2012

I found myself in the midst of “one of those days” not too long ago. You know those days, where frustrations mount and you just want to melt into one of those Calgon commercials to “take you away”. I felt burned out and exhausted.

Just as I started to think my last refuge would be tearing my hair out, I remembered something I’d heard previously in a class: pain is often a sign that something doesn’t fit. So when you feel it, look at what isn’t working, and work to change it. I realized that I’d been trying to control a lot of things during the day, and my inability to do so was what was frustrating me. So I decided to let things take their course instead of forcing them. As a result, the succeeding days were much less frustrating.

Pain can be a great teacher. It is a sign that something isn’t working. Sometimes what isn’t working is your own attitude or behavior. Sometimes it’s other things that aren’t working, such as:

* a relationship that no longer serves you or the other person,

* a job that no longer challenges you,

* a living situation that’s no longer what you need, or

* a lifestyle that’s no longer healthy.

Choosing to view pain as a signal that there’s something to learn can be very helpful to achieve balance in our busy lives. Of course, in the moment, that’s not an easy thing to remember. But the next time you’re feeling frustrated, try these two steps to turn it around:

Step 1: Get it out.

The energy of frustration or pain is powerful and can be intense, so you need to work it out before you can get to a place where you can learn from it. So get it out. Take a walk, vent to a trusted friend or family member, write, hit a pillow, do activities to help you feel more centered—whatever works for you that’s within the boundaries of the law. You’ll find yourself calmer and more able to think straight, which will help you not act rashly in the moment and also naturally help step 2 (below) go smoother.

Step 2: Reframe and act.

Choose to look at the situation in a different light now and ask yourself

* What’s my frustration trying to tell me is not working here?

* Do I need to leave the situation temporarily so I can get a clearer view of it?

* What’s within my power to influence or change so the situation will work?

Asking these things help empower you to move forward rather than being stuck in frustration or pain.  Identify what’s not working and then decide to influence it, change yourself, or remove yourself from it entirely.

Pain really can be an amazing teacher when we take the time to see what it’s trying to show us. Try these two steps to learn from it the next time you’re feeling stressed, and let us know if it helped by leaving a comment.

love & light,

Jennafer

Simple Tip for Stress Reduction

April 2, 2012

Growing up in Southern California, I had the wonderful experience of swimming in the ocean often. I love swimming in the ocean.  Vast and unpredictable, the ocean is full of tides whose pull I feel even when I don’t fully comprehend them. As a kid, I especially loved swimming out just beyond where the waves crest and crash to the shore to enjoy the lull of the rocking motion of the tides. I’d enjoy that lull so much, I’d often find I’d drifted far away from my family’s home base on the beach. When that happened, I’d remember what my father taught me: Don’t exhaust yourself swimming against the current. Just follow the natural rhythm of the waves in and let them bring you back to shore.

Similarly, in the midst of a stressful day, the same trick for navigating my way back to shore helps me navigate my way from stress to a more grounded center. But instead of following the rhythm of the ocean, I follow the rhythm of my own breath. Even in the pull of the strongest tides of stress, putting your attention on the natural rhythm of your breath for a moment or two will help you “ride the wave of your own breath” as Jon Kabat-Zinn says, bringing you back to the shore of centeredness in your own body so you can think clearly and act from a place of calm.

I invite you to take a moment to place your attention on your breath today. Just for that moment, feel and be focused on the natural rhythm of your breath as well as the rise and fall of your chest. This simple meditation takes just a moment to do, and it can help calm you in the midst of the stormiest sea of stress in your life.

love & light,

Jennafer

Letting Go Brings Blessings

March 19, 2012

As a teenager, I participated in a memorial service for the mother of a friend who’d lost her battle with cancer. The service ended with those in attendance releasing colorful balloons into the sky. (This was long before we knew that act may have serious repercussions on local wildlife). It was a beautiful sight to see those balloons ascending into the air, cheerfully honoring a woman who’d brought cheer to our lives. And releasing those balloon gave us all a tangible way to begin to let go and move on from the loss her death brought to our lives.

It is both painful and scary to choose to let go sometimes. Whether it’s letting go of the loss of a relationship through death or change, pain from the past, or a belief or situation that no longer serves you, it can be a difficult choice to make no matter how necessary that choice is at the time.

But there are also many blessings that come from letting go. Just like the balloon floating into the atmosphere, you feel lighter and less weighed down after letting go. And the lightness that letting go brings can open up room in your heart and life to make room for new relationships, situations, beliefs, and more than can teach and enrich your life in countless ways that never could have come without it.

Today, choose to let  go of a belief, situation, or relationship that doesn’t serve you any longer in order to make room for the blessing of one that does. Your heart will be lighter and your life will be transformed for the better. Then watch for new opportunities to flow that never could have otherwise.

I’m not promising it will be easy. But I will promise it’ll be worth it.

love & light,

Jennafer