Published: 30th July 2021
E-Canteen Fundas: Work hard, play harder: Why recovery activities are the key to longevity
Pro Tip: To manage emotional energy for high performance, find energy recovery activities and make them a priority. Practice holding opposite emotions to access emotional energy for full engagement.
I want to top the upcoming exams, bhaiyya,’ said Rahul. ‘But the stress is not letting me study.’
‘Yes, bhaiyya,’ said Rinku. ‘Is there a way to overcome emotional stress and engage fully?’
‘What works best for performance?’ asked Rakesh. ‘Fear, anger and sadness or pleasure, adventure and opportunity?’
‘No brainer,’ said Rahul. ‘High energy-positive states work best. But anxiety isn’t allowing me to focus. How can I get out of this?’
‘By flipping channels,’ smiled Rakesh. ‘Work-recovery is our mantra for maintaining high energy. So when you sense low-energy emotions taking over, it means you overspent your emotional energy. Flip channels to recovery and renewal activities — walking, reading or yoga — whatever is deeply enjoyable for you. The key is to make renewal activities the priority.’
‘If renewal activities are a priority, then work?’ asked Rinku.
‘Your work performance improves with deeper emotional recovery activities,’ said Rakesh. ‘Giving recovery activities priority helps you derive a sense of balance and joy in your work.’
‘Wow,’ said Rahul. ‘I thought such activities distracted me from work and avoided them.’
‘Too much or too little recovery causes an imbalance, so balance your work-recovery ratio,’ said Rakesh. ‘About 45-60 minutes of focused work followed by 15-20 minutes of deep recovery activity is good. To increase emotional energy capacity, work on the ‘muscles’ that support our emotional energy frame — self-confidence, empathy, trust and so on. Push past existing limits in and then renew with recovery activity to expand emotional capacity.’
‘If we strengthen these areas we should be in a good emotional space, right bhaiyya?’ asked Rahul.
‘It helps to begin with,’ said Rakesh. ‘But it’s not all black and white. There’s a term ‘anacoluthia’ used by stoic philosophers which means that all virtues are entailed. There is no right virtue to choose because they balance one another. Author Tony Schwartz in his TEDx Talk says honesty without compassion is cruelty — indicating that honesty works when tempered with compassion. Or confidence without humility is arrogance, so temper confidence with humility. We access optimum emotional energy when we embrace opposites, knowing both are okay. Don’t choose one over another to be fully engaged emotionally.’
‘Thanks,’ said Rinku. ‘I’ll work on making emotional recovery activities a priority and balancing my emotions.’