Having spent more than twenty years working across different sectors, observing the dynamics of people’s relationships, as well as their behaviours and attitudes in different situations, we have learned to look carefully at where people are focusing their attention, both at work and at home.
Our personal energy flows in the direction of our attention, which has important consequences for our personal effectiveness and balance (or imbalance). We pay attention to, and therefore devote our energy to, the things that we consider a priority. So when we find ourselves in difficult situations, we need to know what is really important and what is less important, so that we stay effective and balanced.
Alexander Lowen, an American physician and psychotherapist, was the first to study the importance of energy balance in humans. At the end of the 1950s, following Wilhelm Reich’s observations of the body during psychotherapy, Lowen went on to explore personality in terms of energy. He suggested that by working on both body and mind, he could help people to solve a wide range of different problems.
He noticed that he could relieve tension by initially forcing the body into stress positions. Through muscular vibration, Lowen noted that muscle blocks eased. He observed that when an energy flow was blocked, a person not only lost vitality but also their personality changed. When the person’s nervous and physical system was depressed, they started to struggle with simple, daily movement and gestures.
Based on these observations, Lowen created the body-oriented psychotherapy known as Bioenergetic analysis. He argued that our bodies give precious clues to the level of energy we have at our disposal and to the emotional state we are in. Bioenergetic analysis teaches us to read the signals that our bodies send and link these to our identity, space, time and the coping strategies that we use continuously.
We need to get rid of our mental filters and fears, and learn to see things from a different perspective, one that allows us to find better solutions and to approach things in a more productive way. When linking body and mind, we have to acknowledge the impact of our values and culture. When we want to change, we have to prepare both body and mind because even a small change will affect both areas.
Commitment has translated this concept into training programmes, using it with clients where we thought it could bring improvement and generate value.
For us, the most interesting aspect of the work has been to observe that anyone can learn to notice the messages that our nervous systems send in response to external change and we can then choose to reorganise our thinking by shifting our attention to what matters most to us in that moment.
Mind and body influence each other, affecting our everyday life choices and actions. Recognising this and knowing how to self-manage means we can increase our effectiveness both inside and outside work.
Directing our attention and energy in a purposeful way helps us cope with everything life throws at us, and the more we can do this, the better the result.