From excessive sugar, to controlling people, to negative thought patterns — this article will show you at least 30 habits/things that drain your energy.
See if any of these resonate with you, and as always, feel free to share your thoughts on the topic at the end.
Health as energy: the basics
Fundamentally, everything we see in the universe can be reduced to energy. Perhaps it sounds like a simplification, and it is, but it’s powerful.
Everything needs energy and nourishment to survive. Everything — including us human beings. Loss of energy means loss of vitality/life.
By seeing things in terms of pure energy, and nothing else, seemingly complex issues such as health or relationship problems are easier to deal with.
- You can say that a relationship doesn’t work because it’s “one sided” or simply acknowledge that one side takes too much energy
- You can say that highly processed foods “slow down digestion” or simply acknowledge that they require too much energy to be absorbed
- You can say that mental health issues such as depression affect one’s “ability to enjoy things” or simply say that they steal energy
Energy is always abundant
Low energy in all its forms — lack of motivation, poor health, overthinking, depression, etc. — isn’t usually fixed by “adding” more energy.
Instead, the solution often lies in removing everything that takes away energy.
Motivation, happiness, desire, willpower… they are in each of us. But then something, internally or externally, steals them.
And we think it’s us; we identify with our own illness. But we can learn to detach and go back to a state of high energy.
The first step: being aware of what takes our energy away. Which is all this post is about.
Things that drain energy vs things that give energy
Thoughts that drain your energy
1. Limiting beliefs
If it begins with the words I can’t, it’s probably a limiting belief. Because the truth is, we are capable of basically anything. The challenge is telling the mind to shut up.
2. Focusing on the negative
We are free to choose. Most importantly, we can choose what to focus our attention on. And since our focus determines our reality, focusing on the negative can only be unhelpful.
Disappointment. Failure. Pain. It happens to all of us. But some of us choose to move on, to not let negative events steal their energy. Complaining is draining.
4. The cycle of comparing
Stop looking for reasons why your life isn’t as good as someone else’s, and focus on your own blessings. You are not meant to live someone else’s life. Be you.
Learn from your mistakes but don’t dwell on them. Learning helps you grow, regret doesn’t do anything but steal your happiness. Make peace with your past and just move on.
6. Guilt and shame
These are similar to regret — they are feelings that don’t add any value to your life (or anyone else’s for that matter) and instead keep you stuck in a negative state.
7. False responsibility
If the key word of limiting beliefs is “can’t”, false responsibility is usually hidden behind the words “must” or “have to”. If you think you have to but don’t actually have to, then you become the prisoner of your own mind.
The last type of thought that drains your energy is perfectionism — the bully that won’t leave you alone until things are perfect. And since perfection doesn’t exist, you may as well let go of that bully immediately.
Foods that drain your energy
Excessive amounts of sugar will literally mess with your motivation and willpower. Even worse, they’ll make your energy levels less stable. Feel free to read this for the full explanation.
No such thing as a free lunch. Caffeine may give you that extra boost (usually by masking fatigue), but there is a price to pay. Besides sleep and digestive issues, you’ll build a tolerance to it.
If you’re not lactose intolerant… you still are. We are the only species to consume dairy as adults, and we’re not supposed to. Avoid dairy — it’s difficult to digest and takes energy as a result.
You can’t possibly perform at your best (mentally and physically) unless with optimal hydration. Foods that are very high in salt, such as highly processed meals, naturally dehydrate you.
13. Overeating in general
To maximize your energy levels throughout the day, eat lighter meals that are easier to digest. Digestion requires tons of energy which means overeating and focus can’t really coexist.
Habits that drain your energy
14. Excessive screen time
Technology is everywhere and digital screens are no exception. Unfortunately, excessive use comes at a cost — usually poor posture, addiction, and poor sleep. Speaking of which…
15. Poor sleep
Most of us literally can’t function without their seven to eight hours. Sleep deprivation can be compared to being drunk (if you’ve ever been on a 24+ hour trip/flight you know what I mean).
16. Lack of exercise
Our bodies were designed to move. Physically spend zero energy and paradoxically you’ll have even less.
17. Lack of sun exposure
Not enough sunlight? Perhaps you’re not just sad, but SAD: seasonal affective disorder. Guess what the best source of vitamin D (the “happy” vitamin) is… Exactly, the sun.
It’s very hard to channel your energy when you’re just doing too much. Learn to do less and focus on that one thing — I guarantee you’ll waste less energy.
Example: “some really horrible things have taken place on planet Earth, therefore this is a bad world”. These aren’t just cognitive mistakes, but mental habits that steal your happiness.
Energy must flow; things never stay the same, and if they do, that usually equals stagnation. Learn to adapt, to change, to continuously reinvent and reimagine.
21. Self-imposed stress
Life is stressful. There will always be an element of stress in everything you do. Except… you don’t want to add any more. As provocative as it may sound, stress can also be self-inflicted.
People that drain your energy
Lack of empathy. A sense of superiority. And the tendency to take advantage of people’s good nature. That’s the narcissist in a nutshell. Avoid them like the plague.
23. Energy vampires
If you are serious about protecting your energy, you can’t allow energy vampires into your life (the term refers to anyone who feeds off your energy knowingly or unknowingly).
24. Control freaks
Perfectionism is internal, control freaks (people that are very controlling) are external. They are equally bad as they are the manifestation of the same phenomenon.
25. Fake friends
Fake friends are often energy vampires. They may need you, but you don’t need them. Learn to be complete in yourself and say no to friendships that aren’t genuine.
26. Toxic people
At the end of the day, you don’t need to label those who drain your energy — your own feelings will tell you. You know who is toxic to your wellbeing and who isn’t.
Spiritual things that drain your energy
Why do we copy others so often, even when it clearly doesn’t benefit us? Vadim Zeland thinks it has to do with invisible information structures that make us behave in certain ways so they can gain energy.
Spiritually, demons are subtle entities that block or take energy. For example, “demons” of depression steal your enthusiasm; “demons” of anger make you focus your energy on the wrong things, etc.
Remember? We are not our limiting beliefs, our failures, etc. yet we so often identify with these things. We can only let go of what drains our energy if we detach and dis-identify.
30. Lack of awareness
Are you aware of what steals your energy? That’s the very first step. Through meditation and other contemplative practices, you increase your inner awareness and in turn free up blocked energy.