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We all just want to feel better.

An Overview of Energy > Tension = Joy

Or, E > T = J for short.

It is an equation for life developed by the late Dan Jones, Ph.D, a brilliant teacher, writer and lover of Life.

What this equation represents is that we experience peace, calm, centeredness, joy – all the good stuff – when our Energy is greater than our Tension.

We all have a scale at at any given moment of both our Tension and our Energy, say from 1-10.

As long as Energy exceeds tension, things are in a good place. Whenever Tension exceeds Energy, we have distress, worry, anxiety, depression, the sensation that something needs to be fixed.

 

 

Challenges

Peace

High Tension Depression/Anxiety

Low Energy Depression/Anxiety

It doesn’t matter where on the scale they fall; it’s about the relationship between them.

If I have a significant amount on my plate today – projects, work, relationship issues to work out, financial issues – I may be said to have a high degree of Tension. However, if my Energy is even higher, then all of those “issues” will be viewed and felt essentially as Challenge. “I can do it. I’m ready to go. Ready to tackle whatever comes.”

Likewise, let’s say it’s the end of the day. There’s been a lot of activity, lots to do, I’m feeling at the end of my available Energy, quite tired. If my Tension is even lower, then I will have simply a sense of, “Ahh. What a nice day. I’m tired now. I think I’m ready to rest.”

Conversely, no matter what level they’re at, if my Tension exceeds my Energy my feeling is one of chronic Depression and Anxiety, a sense of Worry, a sense that something is always wrong and needs to be fixed. My whole day will be focused on how to make that feeling better, though often just engaged unconsciously. I will spend a lot of internal and probably external time and energy in distress over things not being ok and needing to change, either me or somebody or something else that I have temporarily determined to be the source of my suffering.

Looked at in this way, our focus each day can shift to a simple goal: How do I increase my Energy and reduce my Tension?

When we work on those two goals we stand a great chance of keeping those two in proper relationship and living our lives in a state of peace, centeredness and joy with ample experience of Loving and being Loved. Isn’t that what we’re really after all the time? Who would trade that for anything?

I want to propose Five Pillars upon which our degrees of Tension and Energy are based at any given time:

  1. Relationship to Food
  2. Movement/Exercise
  3. Sleep/Rest
  4. Emotional Stress
  5. Connectedness with Self and Others

Each of these Pillars when in optimal condition produces Increased Energy, Reduced Tension, or Both.

So, if we can focus our attention on how to optimize each of these Five and experience what the quality of Life is like when they are in good shape vs. bad, we can start having the Life we really want – Feeling Better.

Every action we take and decision we make, small or large, is predicated at some level (often just below consciousness) on a bodily-held belief that it will make us feel better. Is it not so?

Whether it is grabbing my cup of coffee in the morning, sticking a needle full of heroin into my arm, robbing a bank, fighting with my spouse, or staring out to a vast ocean from a beautiful beach – all are borne from a part of my body/psyche that believes that this is going to make something better, physically, emotionally, financially, spiritually.

There is a river of low (or high) grade distress that runs under the lives of human beings. It says, “Something is wrong and needs to be fixed.” We then start looking at the world and ourselves to find that “thing” and set about changing it, hoping then that the end will be finally achieved. We often get temporary relief, things (many of which we have come to label as “addictions”) that seem to calm the river for a little bit. More money, falling in love with the “perfect person”, a new car, a new job, a stiff drink.  However, the relief is short-lived. We always need another “fix”, there’s almost always some form of hangover, and we are back once again struggling with the undercurrent of the river.

We throw massive amounts of Time, Energy and Money in our culture at attempts to fix this issue. We are awash in the pursuit of Happiness:   the accumulation of things, ingestion of chemicals to shift our bodies’ pains and aches, foods and drugs to numb our emotional hurt, more, more, more, better, stronger, faster. It’s never enough, never enough, never enough. They all hold the allure that when we reach them our problem will be solved and the ache of the river underneath will subside permanently. But it never seems to work.

 

Or, E > T = J for short.

It is an equation for life developed by the late Dan Jones, Ph.D, a brilliant teacher, writer and lover of Life.

What this equation represents is that we experience peace, calm, centeredness, joy – all the good stuff – when our Energy is greater than our Tension.

We all have a scale at at any given moment of both our Tension and our Energy, say from 1-10.

As long as Energy exceeds tension, things are in a good place. Whenever Tension exceeds Energy, we have distress, worry, anxiety, depression, the sensation that something needs to be fixed.

 

 

I see this every day in my medical practice

Let me introduce you to Joe and Sally.

Joe's Story

Joe works hard all day in his job running his small mechanic’s business. He rushes off to work in the morning and grabs a fast food breakfast sandwich along the way or just has nothing. At lunch he has very little time and grabs another fast food run for a burger, fries and soft drink. Late morning and particularly in mid-afternoon he feels tired and “slumpy” and by the time he gets home he’s beat. He really would like to spend time with his two young children, but it’s really hard to find the energy. A beer hits the spot. He feels really tired at bedtime, but sleep doesn’t come easily. When he does get to off to sleep well he often awakens in the middle of the night. That’s when the worries are the worst. He can lie awake for hours pondering the financial worries, the difficulties in his relationship with his spouse, how to pay for their future, or tossing and turning because his back hurts. When the alarm clock goes off he’s gotten 5 hours of sleep at best, feels achy, and can’t believe it’s time to start it all up again.

His recent medical check-up showed that he was getting to a “pre-diabetic” state, his blood pressure was a bit elevated, and there was something about his “liver functions” being off. They’ve recommended medications that he needs and also that he needs to lose weight. He’s tried that before, but diets are just so hard and frustrating and never seem to pay off. The problem is he’s just so damn tired all those changes just take too much effort.

Sally's Story

Sally works at a computer all day. Her fingers sometimes have tingling problems and her wrists can hurt because of typing all day. Her back gets stiff from the sitting, sitting, sitting. The corporate area she works in always has piles of cookies and donuts. Sometimes her eyes are droopy, especially about 3-4pm as she stares at the screen trying to get her work done through the brain fog. She’s gained 30 lbs in the past year and 2” on her waistline. She hasn’t exercised much at all in the past year and doesn’t feel like it even if she had some more time. She feels like there are also all these issues at home that need her attention and her kids are struggling in school. Everyone expects a lot and she feels exhausted.

In addition to her weight gain she’s been having aching knees, feels short of breath when she tries to go up a flight of stairs, and has zero libido. She and her husband argue and fight much more than they used to. Her cholesterol has significantly increased according to her recent labs. She feels “inflamed” all over and sleep has really become in an issue. Sometimes she stays up later than she knows she should just because it’s the only moment of the day she seems to have some peace and quiet. One day recently she had an episode where her heart started racing and pounding, she was sweating and shaking and thought for sure she was dying. She went to the ER where she was told she’d had a “panic attack”. Her doctor recommended some tranquilizers, but they often just make her tired and she doesn’t want to just take a bunch of pills.

Our mainstream medical system is supposedly the envy of the world, yet we have skyrocketing obesity and diabetes, the ever-present spread of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and widespread diagnoses of anxiety and depression. For all our billions of dollars of healthcare expenditure we have a culture full of misery.

We have had the growing “promise” of the Integrative or Alternative Medicine culture as a response, only to have ended up with billions of more dollars being spent on often dubious and delusional treatments and trading a shelf full of pharmaceuticals for an equally extensive shelf full of natural “supplements”. We have distress at all levels, including a world on the brink of horrendous conflict and wars, exploding with the pain and tension of the river of “something’s wrong and needs to be fixed”. The pharmaceutical companies, personal products industries, food manufacturers, and nutraceutical companies are all laughing their way to the bank as they present us with the latest “must have” fixes to our problems . We’re going broke and not feeling much better to boot.

 

There might be better ways to address this River

What if I said you could feel much better on a daily basis regardless of your struggles and challenges? What would it be like to have a life full of love, feeling safe and connected, with energy for the day, clarity of thinking, less physical distress, better relationships and more peace? All for free, without investments in packages, programs and more and more pill bottles? You can have that. We all can.

If you can accept this premise, that we are always just trying to feel better, it changes the framework and lens through which we tend to view most of our own actions, thoughts and behaviors, as well as those of others. It offers us the chance to become straight with ourselves in a compassionate way about why we do what we do, why we want what we want. It likewise offers us the chance to change the critical lens through which we tend to see the world around us, realizing that everyone else is just trying to achieve the same end. A world full of people who feel better equals a better world.  Applying these principles works.  I have taught them for decades in my practice and have seen the power of their application through the increased health and joy of my patients.

 

So, let’s take a deep dive look at The Five Pillars and how we can Increase our Energy and Reduce our Tension.

Remember:  We coach, support, educate, and empower.  We illuminate options you may not have known you had.  But we don't decide what's right for you in your unique circumstances; only you can do that.  And we don't provide medical, financial, or legal advice; nor do we replace the valuable counsel of those who do.