energy exchange

Energy exchange affects your health. There is a quality to the energy that you and others carry and project. If you pay attention, you can feel that quality when you are in the presence of another person. Someone who has a smile on his or her face will tend to “disarm” you. The smile tells you that the immediate environment is safe and you can, to the best of your ability, let down your guard and relax. You might even experience a sense of warmth, which lets you know that a positive flow of energy is taking place.

In fact, research demonstrates that you project electromagnetic signals from your body that are picked up by others in your company. By using sophisticated electrophysiological equipment, it’s even possible to measure aspects of your heart rate in the brain waves of another person. Someone who is coming from his or her heart, who carries a more coherent heart rate pattern, will positively influence you, your energy, and your resilience. This person will actually make it easier for you to maintain a self-regulated nervous system—a key ingredient to resilience and optimal functioning.

On the other hand, someone who is angry, upset, or simply uncomfortable within his or her own skin will project a heart rate pattern that is more chaotic. We sometimes refer to negative or needy people as “high maintenance,” and they tend to be a drain on your energy. Another way of saying this is that they “take” more than they give. On an intuitive level as well as an experiential level, we have all encountered people like this who we might say are “stress carriers.” In this case, exposure to this kind of energy has the potential to impair your resilience.

Supporting your resilience, very simply, is about maximizing the positive energetic experience, love and support you get and can expect to get from others, while minimizing the stresses and painful energy caused by other relationships. Interestingly, sometimes we look for support when there is more likely to be pain and stress
and expect pain and stress where there is the potential for support. Thus, we might say that the goal is to benefit the most from the good relationships and minimize or even eliminate the harm from the stressful ones. Perhaps most important is the ability to discriminate between these two. In other words, you have to know how to recognize
relationships that can be supportive and relationships that are harmful. You want to accentuate the former, while limiting the latter. (Red flag: It’s important to recognize whether you have a tendency to be attracted to toxic people—critical, negative, moody people—as a result of your Primitive Gestalts and what you were accustomed
to experiencing as a child. You also want to figure out whether love and negativity were packaged together back then and how that might impact your present. If that is the case, you will have an automatic response you need to be aware of and alter, as it will continually cause stress and tension in your life.)

There are two directions to the flow of energy in relationships. There is what you project out to others—and this is your responsibility— and there is what others project and you receive. Here your responsibility is more in your choice of relationships and your ability to block and not absorb toxic or negative energy. In addition, you
must not allow others to make you responsible for their feelings. Let’s bring this lesson home by looking at a couple of your current relationships. We will start with those closest to you. This might be a spouse or partner, a parent or child, or one of your closest friends. You don’t often think about maximizing your time with people
who have positive energy and minimizing your time with those who are stress activators. Let me say this a different way: There are those whose energy, thinking, and behaviors are positive, accepting, and all about success. Being in their company will automatically lift you and help you focus on positive aspects of your life. When you spend
time with negative, complaining or judgmental people, you will have to work hard simply to keep from taking on that negative energy.

Dr. Stephen Sideroff is an internationally recognized expert in resilience, optimal performance, addiction, neurofeedback and alternative approaches to stress and mental health. He is Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry & Biobehavioral Sciences at UCLA’s School of Medicine, as well as the Director of the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Ethics.