Using Energy Practices When Life is Like a Marathon

(by Lori Hops, PhD, DCEP) We often face challenges in life that resemble a marathon, but if we treat them like a sprint, we are likely to create more stress than is necessary.

The strategy of a long-distance race is different than running a quick sprint. And here is where we have a lot to learn from marathon runners.

Successful marathon runners train for long-distance races by maximizing their energy and stamina, while protecting their bodies from overuse and damage. They pinpoint when and how to exert effort, conserve energy and deeply rest.

Our capacity for endurance in 2020 and beyond may be enhanced by following tested tips from the pros on marathon race training, blended with energy practices.

4 Key Steps You Can Take

Step 1: Identify necessary requirements

Step 2: Gather resources

Step 3: Practice rejuvenation

Step 4: Face reality

Step 1: Requirements: Pacing, Strengthen, and Stretch

  • The first rule of the road is to pace yourself. If you work too hard too soon, you may face burning out, or peaking early. Sustain your energy with daily energy practices such as those that can be found in our Resources for Resilience. You can also create reminders to slow down by setting alarms on your phone, and prioritize your tasks so you are not overwhelmed.
  • Build your strength. A strong physical inner core efficiently supports your entire being, stores energy for endurance, and supports you when fatigued. Strengthening your physical, emotional and energetic systems is vital for longevity. Communicate your needs and feelings to yourself and others in a healthy way. You can create energetic resilience by grounding, centering and using energy practices to reinforce the lower chakras (root, sacral and solar plexus). Breathwork, chakra clearing, and barefoot connection to the earth may be helpful.
  • Stretch yourself on all levels. Strength and flexibility are twin processes that support one another. When you stretch your body, your nimbleness can help avoid injuries. Massaging overactive muscles reduces inflammation, which in turn reduces the risk of injury and disease states, and promotes rapid recovery. Stretch your consciousness by expanding your perspective and connections outside yourself. Learn something new by taking some risks. Energy healing techniques like Connecting Heaven and Earth and Heaven Rushing In can build your energy field and spiritual access.

Step 2: Resources: Inventory, Plans, Goals

  • Take an inventory of what is going well, and name what you still need, by assessing your strengths and weaknesses.  A good coach will start here, when working on long term goals. We tend to overlook and undervalue what comes easily to us, while overestimating our difficulties when faced with a lack of resources. Give yourself credit for what is already working, and ask for help to shore up the gaps. Identify and treat areas of weakness when appropriate, using energy practices (i.e., Comprehensive Energy Psychology, Emotional Freedom Techniques, Thought Field Therapy, Tapas Acupressure Technique) or other approaches. Share your woes with a trusted friend, and then let them give you a good push from shore when it’s time to move on.
  • Make plans based on changing situations. Endurance events require greater adaptability to change than shorter events. Create and modify your plans over time, from day to day, and over the course of weeks, months, and possibly years. Your mind, body and spirit shift from minute to minute, but trends can be tracked over time. Find your rhythm and move with the shifting tide.
  • Set realistic goals. No one finishes a distance race without building up to it in steps.  Remember that incremental changes that are doable are better than more ambitious goals that are not achievable. Look to the past for when you were successful in reaching goals despite long-term challenges. What supported your success? Use this knowledge when setting new goals. Energy practices can help you work on blocks that arise as you tackle your goals.

Step 3: Rejuvenation: Have Fun, Relax, Simplify

  • Have fun! You can’t spend all your time pushing yourself. Runners who have a daily practice need a break from training, too. Life is meant to be enjoyed, even (or especially) when times are hard or you feel down. Find creative ways to add pleasure, doing things that put a smile on your face, either alone or with others who are up for some levity. One idea is adding laughter therapy to your life, deliberately turning your frown upside down. Your mind, body and spirit will be refreshed with a healthy boost of deep breathing, filling your body with a biochemical soup of joy, while receiving an abdominal workout. Remember, seven days without laughter can make one weak!
  • Relax like you mean it! The body is not a machine. Although your mind and spirit may want to be engaged with life 24/7, athletes know if you push too hard, you risk injury and losing motivation. When you relax, you rebuild and rejuvenate on all levels. Schedule time off and stick to it. See it as a vital appointment in your day (which it is!). Find ways to relax, even if it is not easy at first. Dreamy down time may spark unexpected creativity. Let others take care of you, possibly exchanging energy practices with one another.
  • Keep it simple. Simplicity has a brilliance often overlooked. If you are overwhelmed or it’s not your day, slow down, simplify your life, and get back to basics. Even master runners know they can polish their skills by reviewing foundational techniques. When all else fails, reset your system by closing your eyes and taking a breath.

Step 4: Reality: Truth, Adversity, Opportunity

  • Face your truth. It’s easy to ignore painful truths, especially when you are working with sustained effort. Runners sometimes find they make the same mistakes race after race. Being creatures of habit, people tend to recreate the same approaches without much conscious awareness. It is natural to dismiss what makes us uncomfortable, inadvertently generating additional problems. Stop avoiding. For effective problem solving, face your truth on an ongoing basis. Energy practices can often shift your ordinary awareness, revealing expanded perceptions, and novel opportunities for change.
  • Adversity can be your teacher. Just as in life, runners face adversity. If you have pain, disappointment, or blocks to your hopes and dreams, learn from it. Take the time to reflect on the message behind the adversity. If it’s a familiar pattern, see if you have resources you already know about and can use. If it’s a new problem, there is a chance to learn and grow. Place the adversity center stage in your energy practice by naming it. As is said in energy psychology tapping sequences, “Even though I (have pain, am disappointed, am angry, etc.) I love and accept myself.”
  • The opportunity in endurance. Simply getting up and facing another day can be a victory in itself when enduring long-term challenges. Long distance runners learn from daily practice that consistency, dedication and the choice to do it all again yields its own treasures that are not available with shorter term experiences. You may discover skills and character traits you did not know you had. Similar to peeling the onion on an issue, when you work on liberating the layers of an experience or memory with energy practices, you often can’t anticipate where you’ll wind up. Be open to the wonder and joy hidden in the toil and boredom that can come with sustained effort.

The road can seem long and lonely when facing sustained challenges. You don’t have to go it alone. Reach out to others in your energy psychology family. There are ACEP local groups, communities of practice, and volunteer committees that are dedicated to spreading the word about energy practices.  Find likeminded friends and colleagues to share your joys and sorrows. Building your support team will help to reinforce stamina, consistency and morale which wax and wane so you don’t waste your precious energy that is required in the marathon of life.

Author

Lori Chortkoff Hops, PhD, DCEP is a licensed psychologist in Westlake Village, California, USA. Lori is president-elect of ACEP (www.energypsych.org), and chair of ACEP’s Communications Committee. She is certified in Comprehensive Energy Psychology, and is a Reiki master. Learn more about Dr. Hops at www.drlorihops.com.  You can visit her Facebook page for A Tip A Day for Wellness Program at Lori Hops.

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