ME/CFS and Activities that Energise

I was reminded by a twitter conversation yesterday how difficult it can be to understand that even when we are doing something that uses energy, it’s possible to end up with more of it. The idea of activities that energise is quite counterintuitive but one that I put to use every day.

So how can using energy result in us actually having more of it?

Firstly it has to be an activity that uses your available energy only as fast as you can readily recycle it. It has to be within your energy envelope and appropriately paced. Therefore an activity that’s energising for one person may not be for another if they have less energy available to them in the first place. Similarly doing it too fast without breaks could push energy use beyond what can be recycled into the realm of using up the daily quota and heading towards a crash. But that only explains how an activity avoids using too much energy, how does it also add to it?

I believe that there are two more physiological mechanisms involved in energising activities. One is that they calm sympathetic nervous activity and hence cut back on the energy that’s being mobilised to respond to a threat. This energy is then available for us to use in other (more enjoyable) ways. The second mechanism results from gentle movement which improves circulation, helping to detoxify the body and bringing appropriate nutrients to the cells making energy production more efficient.

So activities that energise are ones that are calming; ones that involve the kind of gentle movement that promotes healthy circulation and ones that are relaxed and effortless and keep you within your energy envelope. For me these include t’ai chi, gentle yoga, gentle gardening or a gentle walk in nature.

There is another aspect to all of these activities though that isn’t related to my physiology. All of these activities bring me closer to my awareness of my connection with the rest of the universe; they all bring me a lot closer to unity. I’m confident that on a metaphysical level this connection nourishes me, further boosting my energy levels.

What activities are energising for you?
 

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