The Essence of Life

Have you ever thought about your mental energy? Unusual question, right? The answer is probably no. When it comes to energy, the emphasis is often on our physical energy as this produces more of a tangible feeling. If we have physical energy, we feel motivated and can achieve much. If we don’t have it, we feel tired and just want to hit the couch and binge on Netflix.  

Our mental energy is extremely important though. It plays a direct role in the amount of physical energy we have or don’t have. The two are one hundred percent connected. Aristotle said, “The energy of the mind is the essence of life.” A simple, yet insightful, and completely true statement.   

It’s much like the gas in our car. If the tank is empty, the car cannot go anywhere. If our mind has no energy, we will struggle to innovate, achieve, and succeed in life.  

What’s the Application?  

We all have a certain amount of mental energy each day. This varies from person to person and can be influenced by age, gender, and even physical fitness (yes, exercise affects mental energy). Regardless of these factors, we all have a specific amount of metal energy to expend each day. When I think about this, I like to imagine a large container. This container holds all our daily energy, both mental and physical. When we wake up each day, our container is generally full. As we go throughout our day, the container becomes less and less full (as we expel energy). Once the container is empty, it must be replenished by things like sleep and nourishment. Eventually, our container reaches a point where it can no longer be replenished, and this is when we reach the end of our life. Our container of energy becomes empty and remains empty.  

If this analogy is accurate, then it could be said that our energy is precious and should be utilized in the best way possible. We only have so much of it. It is NOT an endless source. There will be a day where we drain the last drop of it. Furthermore, if mental and physical energy are connected, we should make sure we are doing all we can to maximize both. 

So, the question lies here- why do so many people have a propensity for wasting this precious energy? Why do we allow our energy to be drained by things in our life that produce no lasting benefit? Why do we get stuck in unhealthy patterns that deplete our life force? Why do we keep doing the same thing day after day, week after week, or even year after year?  

The simple answer is that we often know no better. We are frequently unaware of the endless “energy vacuum” we are living in.  

What Depletes Mental Energy?  

Unfortunately, there is a long laundry list of things that do this, but I’ll hit my main three:  

  1. Gossip 

  2. Validation 

  3. Consistently Offended 


Think of someone you know who constantly gossips. We all know this person, right? They always have something negative and judgmental to say about someone. They clearly feed off other people’s drama or pain. Over time, it becomes like a drug to them, and they are constantly looking for the latest conflict or tragedy to talk about. Clearly, this person is deeply unhappy within themselves. They find comfort in other people’s hurt because it somehow makes them temporarily feel better about themselves. But the root cause of their destructive behavior isn’t the point...  

The point I’m trying to make is to think about all the mental energy they are wasting engaging in gossip! All the energy they deplete from their container daily and furthermore, over the course of their life that could have been used elsewhere! What would they have accomplished if they focused that mental energy towards something good, like helping someone, or coming up with some kind of technology that changed the world? On top of the energy, think about the time wasted! We choose what we give our energy to; we need to choose wisely.  

There are two types of mental energy: CONSTURCTIVE and DESTRUCTIVE. Constructive energy is positive and destructive is negative. Gossip is clearly a destructive energy.  



Another example of this destructive mental energy is the chronic validator. The person who has excuse after excuse as to why they can’t lose weight, why they can’t quit smoking, why they can’t get healthy, or why they can’t be happy. No matter what is suggested to them, they have an immediate excuse as to why it won’t work or be successful.  Excuses are to the chronic validator like drama is to the chronic gossiper.  

Again, think of all the energy wasted. The energy they have put towards their validation. The act of validation takes a lot of consistent mental energy. This person is in a constant state of convincing themselves (and everyone else) why things are the way they are, and why they can’t change. Validation may be the prime example of a fixed mindset. A chronic validator is chronically stuck. All the while, they could be putting that mental energy towards growing, changing, breaking out of their comfort zone, and ultimately creating a better, more purposeful life.   

Consistently Offended  

The last example I’ll provide (and I could give so many) is the consistently offended. The person whose feelings are always hurt. They choose to take offense to anything and everything that doesn’t register with them quite right. They’re looking for a problem, and once you’ve offended them, they stay in that space. There is a consistent chip on their shoulder and no matter what you say or do, it’s the wrong thing. 

At the risk of being redundant, think of all the mental energy wasted! It takes a ton of mental energy to stay angry, offended, bitter, and unforgiving.  

Unfortunately, in the world we live in, this is often the path of least resistance. If you want to be offended about something, just open your eyes and ears, and you’ll find what you are looking for. But who wants to live like this? I certainly don’t, and I’m guessing you don’t either.  

The energy used for being upset could be used for forgiveness, patience, compassion, and kindness.  This would be constructive energy.  

Now think for a moment... Have you ever participated in any of the three destructive energy examples I just provided (we all have at some time or another)? When in this mindset, how did you feel physically? Easy answer, right? You most likely felt fatigued, unmotivated, and may have even experienced joint pain and other physical symptoms like digestive issues. This clearly illustrates the deep connection between how we choose to use our mental energy and how we feel physically. 

“The energy of the mind is the essence of life.” Aristotle was spot on. Where we choose to focus our mental energy will directly affect all other aspects of our reality.  


  • Where are you wasting/depleting mental energy? 

  • Are you using your daily container of energy wisely? 

  • How are you feeling physically? What can you change mentally that will help?   

In closing, there are many things you can do to redirect your mental energy into a more constructive direction. Below are a few of my favorite ways to do so. The more you implement these into your daily routine, the better you will use and allocate your precious mental energy. In no time, you will notice an improvement in your physical energy as well!  

Constructive Mental Energy Techniques:  

  • Express gratitude. 

  • Avoid gossip. Politely excuse yourself from the conversation when it occurs.  

  • Journal. The act of writing down positive emotions and affirmations is extremely beneficial to your mental health.  

  • Exercise! This increases positive thought patterns, therefore increasing constructive energy.  

  • Stop making excuses! Start doing, rather than talking. Take action!  

  • Pick your battles. Do not take offense to everything that comes your way. Learn to let things go and move on. You’ll feel so much better in the long run! 

  • Be creative. Creativity is an awesome way to use your mental energy.  

  • Find purpose and mission. Put the mental energy you used to allow for negative aspects into your purpose and mission in life. And if you don’t know what this is, use your mental energy to find out! 

  • Finally, pray and meditate. Philippians 4:6 says to turn every worry and complaint into a prayer. If we could do this, think how different our life would be! 


Molly is a Certified Life Coach, and contributor to the online, optimal-wellness course, The Happy & Health Brain & Gut Method. To find out more about her one-on-one life coaching, click here. To learn more about the course, click here.

Failure to thrive in life is the inability to adapt to change.