Low energy states are important to solve as they are the initial slide down a slippery slope toward chronic health problems. The body is under-functioning and operating inefficiently, similar to a car engine that hasn’t been tuned for a long time. It has lost its ability to self-regulate its way back to balance, otherwise known as homeostasis. This becomes a real drag and leads to people accessing stimulants (caffeine, sugar etc) to try and stimulate energy production. Trouble is, this is only temporary and creates a vicious cycle of repeated ‘energy tweaks’. Eventually the system will break down because it is running on empty. This will lead to any number of chronic symptoms due to the poor functioning of various organ systems. One’s energy level then is a vital pilot light for sustainable wellbeing.
There are many reasons as to why people experience compromised energy levels, poor vitality, fatigue, lack of drive, low enthusiasm, nervous exhaustion, or burn out. The reasons may appear similar but will be different in the way they stack up for each and every individual. Usually, there are a number of factors which collude together to engender low energy states. A few examples of states that tend to form formidable combinations are:
Enduring or repetitive viral infections that one never quite recovers from
Acute or Chronic Stress – our ineffective though well-intentioned responses to: Workplace demands, Relationship struggles, Family pressures and expectations, Social circumstances, Study requirements, Worry, Economic hardships, Parenthood.
Insomnia, sleep disturbances, waking up tired
Poor nutrient levels from incorrect diet or poor eating habits
‘Tired and Wired Syndrome’
Poor immune responses
Lack of Self Care – e.g., not compensating for the effects of chronic stress
Belief Systems – e.g., if you put tiredness down to the ‘ageing process’, then your belief will become a ‘fait accompli’. By the way, you only have to see one sprightly eighty year-old to blow your theory out of the water. Be aware that these belief systems are powerful, but are just as amenable to correction.
Past Experiences, such as injuries, or illnesses that have taken a toll on the one’s well-being
Firstly, to ask all the necessary questions regarding your energy state. This is a skill, as the questions must be specific, not generalized. For example, I don’t just ask a client simply what their energy levels are like. They may have been tired for so long that their present, everyday (low) energy is now considered normal. In this case they would answer, “Okay”, which isn’t useful to myself or them. Clinical questioning must be done in a fashion that understands how people normalize things over time.
Instead, I use a scaling question, which posits a 10 out of 10 score as excellent energy and a zero as a measure of substantial fatigue. I ask my clients to rate their energy out of 10 and then we talk about the time frames around which they recall their energy was better, worse or possibly has patterns of fluctuations. This is akin to taking a history of one’s energy levels. Being specific leads to better clinical outcomes and won’t waste a client’s time and money.
Secondly, the answers to enquiries regarding energy levels that are elicited, must placed into context, alongside any other symptoms occurring in the background, including the likes of the factors listed above. This is how I arrive at a diagnosis pertinent to each unique individual. The treatment administered will consequently also be different as it is always personalized. There are no broad brush strokes in effective therapies, be they Traditional Chinese Medicine or modern day Counselling approaches. Five people might present in clinic on the same day, all complaining of a headache. There will inevitably be five different combinations of factors colluding to manifest the headache. This means five different treatment approaches. This is the essence of treating the individual, not the disease.