Getting & Maintaining Balance

By: Matt W. Sandford, LMHC

Do you sometimes find yourself feeling tired, weary, run down, and yet you haven’t done anything very physically strenuous? If so, then you have encountered your emotional bank. Have you ever felt drained from a relationship or a type of task that you loathe? If so, then you have encountered your emotional bank. On the other hand, if you have been energized from spending time with a good friend, then you have also encountered your emotional bank. What we are talking about here is the truth that we have an emotional energy level that goes up and down based on our experiences. Everything we experience is either making deposits or withdrawals in our emotional bank. But, how often are we aware of our emotional bank and the level at which it is? Even more, how often do we attend to it and seek to “balance the books” as they say?

First of all, you are going to need to have some idea of the types of experiences and persons that are drainers and energizers for you. The point is not to simply avoid all drainers, for that is highly unlikely to accomplish. The point is to be aware of the times when an abundance of drainers will be coming your way (or already have) and then of how to instill an infusion of deposits so you can avoid bankruptcy. Even better would be if you can structure some depositors into your weekly routine. Yes, this requires some thought and effort and planning. But there’s the rub. If putting some effort into keeping your emotional bank from going under is too taxing for you or doesn’t interest you, then it may mean you are already in bankruptcy. What then? Another way to state it is, how does one get out of bankruptcy when he or she can’t afford the attorney fees?

The good news is that your emotional bank is not the same sort of thing, and taking care of this bank is not really like managing your money although this may serve as a useful analogy. This is because deposits can come in many forms, and collapsing from exhaustion can be one of them. Rest is a form of deposit. Remember what was said, everything either makes withdraws or deposits. This means that if you choose to not invest in efforts to grow your deposits that you are opting to increase your withdrawals. Of course many things come into our lives that are immense drainers that we did not choose. However, the person who feels out of gas or burned out or jaded often has developed a fatalistic view of life, which strongly contributes to their belief that they are powerless and stuck.  Suffice it to say that your experience of yourself, of your thought processes and beliefs, are experiences that make either deposits or withdrawals just like any other, likely more so. So, no matter how your emotional bank got as low as your reserves are, you are the one that can breathe life giving deposits back in. Maybe take a page from AA on this and look to your higher power? I believe that God is the ultimate depositor.

Here’s a list of some possible depositors.

-          Sleep

-          Enjoyable distractions, such as reading, watching a movie

-          Time with good friends

-          Nature

-          Music or art

-          Smiling and laughing

-          Exercise

-          Experiencing someone helping you on a task

-          Generosity and kindness, both received and given

Let me encourage you to take an inventory of some of your top drainers and take the time to strategize a way to surround them with some deposits. You may have to work with that person (or be related to them) or you may have to perform that task, or deal with that issue, but that doesn’t mean you have to end up depleted to the degree you usually end up.

You’ll be glad you did.


Reprint Permission- If this article helped you, you are invited to share it with your own list at work or church, forward it to friends and family or post it on your own site or blog. Just leave it intact and do not alter it in any way. Any links must remain in the article. Please include the following paragraph in your reprint.

"Reprinted with permission from the LifeWorks Group weekly eNews, (Copyright, 2004-2012), To subscribe to this valuable counseling and coaching resource visit or call 407-647-7005"

Check Out Some Favorites!

Understanding Schizotypal Personality Disorder

Understanding Narcissistic Personality Disorder