Why We Gain More Energy From Physically Doing Over Mentally Preserving

  • Flexible Balance
  • 3 min read  |  On 4th April 2021

  • Flexible Balance
  •   by Richly Wills

  • 3 min read  |  Last Updated: 4th April 2021

  • Adaptive action is the key towards utilizing and growing our energy effectively, yet we still stick to repeating routine tasks or practicing mindfulness.

    NOTE: This article was written before Covid-19, and therefore not all information here applies for such times where we can’t be as active as normal – becoming more mentally resilient would be useful in these difficult times. That said, we should still adopt an adaptive mindset to have more energy, so for that read on.

    We live in modern times where we are more likely to ensure we feel okay doing something before actually doing it. Imagine even having that choice a century ago! Humanity has moved on and advanced to a point where survival isn’t even the main focus at hand for some anymore, it’s more about preserving energy and being comfortable.

    While our modern, global society is on the surface more efficient and safer than it has been in any time in the past, this very progress has developed an increasingly self-aware species seemingly always looking for more, yet uncomfortable in seeking action or discomfort to find it. While we have developed our living standards we’ve also opened the doors to constant streams of influence that subconsciously infiltrate and condition our minds.

    It’s no wonder that people seek to escape the noise, to clear their minds, but with comfort at the heart of our coping strategies modern society has taught us that in order to feel energized we must relax and focus the mind first. We seek to be mindful of what’s around us, of our feelings, our thoughts, other’s thoughts, and above all else – ensure we are in a good place before doing anything. 

    Why Preserving Energy Isn’t As Useful As Taking Action Today

    Preserving energy, seeking comfort and feeling better about ourselves; surely that’s a good thing right? Well, we have to ask ourselves if it really is.

    Having energy stores might appear useful but it’s largely for those times (very rare today) where our safety and survival might be at risk. Seeking comfort isn’t as comfortable for us as you may think, and you can feel better about yourself when you actively do something too (yet with memories and experiences to boot).

    The thing is, we don’t need to feel comfortable to take action, it’s meant to be the reward not the precondition, and we also gain far more energy when we get into the habit of doing than we would simply by preserving. We also tend not to get anywhere if we don’t at some point take action. We just mull over things again and again which drains energy.

    Think of it like making money or saving money. You can only save what you’ve already got (assuming no interest for this example), whereas you can go out and make more a numerous number of ways. We might worry that we could also lose all our money (energy) if we acted on something and it went wrong, but more often than not we find we become better at something the more we practice. It’s action that feeds energy. A mental task is far more draining to us than acting on it. Most of our fears are unfounded in reality. We worry something will be a lot worse than it really is. It seems ironic that we seek to preserve our energy as much as possible in times of comfort, yet end up expending it through worry rather than through productive action. We may mentally preserve energy simply by choosing to do something easy rather than meaningful or difficult. Yet the acts of passively watching TV or playing phone games still consume energy, only they also sink us into a void where we don’t even realise our energy is being wasted.

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