Compassion Strengths

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7 Strategies to Master Your Energy in MOTION

Who taught you all this Doctor?”
The reply came promptly:

— Albert Camus, “The Plague”

Energy in MOTION

In today’s ever-changing health care environment, professional care providers are experiencing more job related stress that can lead to Parallel Process or the tendency to unconsciously absorb and internalize the emotions of our clients that can lead to distraction, sensitivity, overload and misperception in our communication and relationships with others.

What is exchanged in any helping relationship is EMOTION or Energy in MOTION.

Emotions truly are energy in motion. Different emotions have different frequencies. Have you ever had the experience of walking into a room and knowing immediately whether or not you wanted to be there even though nobody said a word? You felt the energy in motion.

We can often feel the energy of others whether we are aware of it or not. As care providers, we share a number of personality traits as our clients that can make us vulnerable to unconsciously absorbing and internalizing the emotions of our clients, particularly if they are sharing an issue in which we are vulnerable – and especially if we are not aware that we are vulnerable.

“When you are feeling depreciated, angry or drained, it is a sign that other people are not open to your energy.”

— Sanya Roman


Whether you are a social worker, nurse, case manager or counselor, it is likely you often and repeatedly have contact with clients or patients who are experiencing varying degrees of distraction, sensitivity, overload and/or misperception in their communication and relationships with self and/or others. As we enter into empathic and sometimes sympathetic communication and relationships with our patients or clients we can emotionally lose track of where they end and we begin.

Distraction is often the first sign that we are unconsciously absorbing and internalizing energy in motion that begins to activate our own personal vulnerabilities. There is nothing wrong with absorbing and internalizing emotions. We do it all the time. When we do it consciously, with awareness and intent, we are able to “metabolize” the energy and utilize it for our growth and the growth of others.

Sensitivity can emerge before, with or after distraction. Sensitivity in this context refers more to personal vulnerability. Sensitivity is almost a required trait for care providers. The other side to sensitivity is often personal vulnerability that can result in our feeling “raw” as though our emotions were rubbed with sandpaper.

Overload is the process of beginning to lose perspective. At this stage we are feeling very personally involved in an intense struggle with others. We are vulnerable to personalizing even casual looks and comments from others and experience ourselves as different, even special – apart from the rest.

Misperceiving the intent and content of our communication and relationships with others is prevalent under even “normal” circumstances. It is estimated that in typical conversation 85% of the original intent and meaning is lost and/or misperceived. When communication and relationships become strained because of internal and external stress, we tend to misperceive in greater percentages.

"If the communicating parties remain unaware that they are using different structures of reasoning, but are aware of their communication difficulties only, each party tends to perceive the communication difficulties as resulting from the other party’s illogicity, lack of intelligence, or even deceptiveness and insecurity. He may also fall into an illusion of understanding while being unaware of his misunderstandings.”

— M. Maragana “Paradigms and Communication”

Burning Up
The result of unconsciously absorbing and internalizing the Energy in MOTION is often what we call “burnout.” The process however is actually one of burning up.

Burning up is the process of one part of our personality pushing on another part. It’s like having one foot on the gas and the other on the break. A great deal of energy is consumed but your not going anywhere.


“This power, developed through rooting, is intimately tied to breath. Throughout spiritual literature the world over, breath is highly regarded as a key to personal development and internal power.”

— Bob Klein: “Movements of Magic, The Spirit of Tai’ Chi Chuan”

  1. Stop! Relax, breathe, re-gain your balance.

    The moment you notice your breathing become restricted and pressured and you feel on the verge of what Daniel Goleman in his book “Emotional Intelligence” calls an emotional hijacking; Stop! Breathe and regain your emotional balance. Remind yourself to get into the habit of relaxing, slowing and deepening your breath to take in more oxygen. This is the critical first step to mastering your emotions. Each time you can delay or stop an emotional storm you have just increased your personal power.
  2. Provide safety to be receptive.

    Give yourself permission to be a human being - not a human doing and to make mistakes. When you make a mistake provide internal safety with yourself by letting go of the self-condemning talk. Only when you feel safe with yourself will you be receptive to being honest with yourself and accept responsibility.
  3. Look and listen: nurture self-honesty.

    To be honest with you is to be one with yourself. Your best strategy is to look and listen. The greater your self-honesty is; - the greater your personal power will be. Learn to be inwardly receptive. Look and listen to your intuition. Learn to trust and nurture the part of you that is at the center of your being.
  4. Take responsibility.

    Taking responsibility is taking ownership of your thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Taking responsibility is not the same thing as taking the blame. When you stop blaming yourself for making mistakes you will be able to accept ownership. Taking responsibility is taking ownership not blame. Practice saying: “I am doing the best I know how to do, given the person I am today and the situation I am dealing with. When I know a better way and can do it, I will.”
  5. Let go of the Energy in MOTION.

    Let go of the need to be right. Being free is better than being right. When your breathing begins to slow down and your mind eases back into a more relaxed state, imagine the emotional hijacking energy rolling off you like water. Give in (rather than give up) to the reality of your current situation. Do the 30 Second Stress Break to empty out the old energy.
  6. Re-focus your attention.

    As you empty out the old energy, continue with the 30 Second Stress Break and breathe in new, fresh and vital energy. Refocus your attention and intention on nurturing positive energy and emotion. Immediately realize that each time you are able to utilize the 30 second stress break to restructure an emotional hijacking to a positive, affirming growth experience, you have programmed your mind, body and emotions to respond with greater harmony and empowerment.
  7. Re-visualize being centered.

    As your energy begins to flow again, engage your inner imagination and visualize being reconnected to your center; that part in you that is calm, flowing and connected to the center of your being. Allow your attention and imagination to focus and create a deeper sense of appreciation for, - and connection with yourself and others.



  1. Begin by sitting in your chair back straight, relaxed and looking forward. Place your hands over your stomach and breathe through your stomach so that your hands will rise and fall with your breath.
  2. Imagine, that with each breath you are breathing in white light, that fills your whole body and mind with vital energy. As you breathe out, visualize all your stress coming out with your breath.
  3. Now, as you breathe in slowly tighten the muscles that connect your shoulders and neck. Those muscles where we keep all of our tension.
  4. As you continue to breathe in and tense you muscles, rotate your shoulders with tension, up as though you were going to touch your ears with your shoulders.
  5. When you have breathed in all you can and your shoulders are snug around your ears, hold it for just a second.
  6. Now, release the tension and your breath in a big whoosh at the same time as though you were releasing the weight of the world off your shoulders, visualizing ALL your tension rushing out with your breath.
  7. Repeat this exercise until you feel clear, refreshed and revitalized!

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