Strengths and exhaustion

The other day I was at the end of a long teaching session, and I was struck by the fact that I was lacking energy and feeling exhausted. I was reminded at that time of something I learnt from Alex Linley, who said, that when we are using our character strengths we feel energised by what we are doing. So was I doing something wrong?

I reflected on the day it started some weeks before as I coordinated service users and lecturers, about thirty, and two hundred students. Changing regular groups, briefing individuals and enthusing them, then checking rooms were available and equipment present. The computer didn’t work so I needed to get another one. So the events of the day went smoothly and students were happy with the lessons learnt, but then I felt exhausted, no energy left to do anything.

Strengths and energy

It struck me that actually what I was facing was the need to contextualise the lessons learnt, so the energising from character strengths did not mean that I would never be tired, but rather that during the process I would feel energised by the process. So it is that I need to look at, for those things in life where I am re-vitalised, energised and also what saps my energy.


Re-vitalisation comes from when I have remembered to rest, this is interesting because sometimes this rest is simply changing what I am doing and sometimes it is remembering to go to bed. Other things that re-vitalise me are where someone gives me genuine affection, hugs are an important thing for me! I am also instantly re-vitalised when I see injustice, which I usually cannot resist in trying to re-balance so that justice is present. I visit the sea and watch, I go for a walk around a lake admiring the trees and these bring major levels of energy to me. Once a month I try to attend a laughter yoga session, which again I notice brings high levels of energy.

What saps energy

So what saps energy, there are those false energy restorers like sweets, which I know for a very brief time will restore energy and then it plummets. But more importantly are those people who are inauthentic in their responses or who just want to take everything from me, that is until such a time as I manage to either rationalise their responses or express my own emotional responses in some way. Sometimes the person who drains your energy, may simply need to have boundaries placed upon them or be nurtured into talking to you about their own feelings. If this happens, your energy levels may well be drained further at that time, so another boundary maybe to tell them during such a time.

So the overall lesson from this blog is simple, keep a close eye on the things that create energy or which re-vitalise you and at the same time be aware of those issues and people who drain your energy. Then learn to express yourself logically and emotionally and see how this helps your own level of energy to be restored.

David Rawcliffe

P.S. To make my levels of energy fluctuate further, I am a diabetic and stress interferes with energy levels too.


‘We Are The Positive Psychology People’

Share This