Release Valves

Last month I had the pleasure of being interviewed by three young men for an Internet Radio show. These guys were hysterical – they drank beer while during interviews to “loosen their lips.”

Trying to get a handle on what I do as an energy coach, one of the guys gave me an example of what he’s going through and asked my opinion. He shared that he has a job he “hates” and to unwind and take the edge off, he plays video games – ALOT.

When I asked him how he felt about the games, he said that he thought they were useful and necessary in order to survive his hell job. I disagreed, and lovingly shared my opinion that his gaming habit was acting as a release valve whereby he discharged all the negative energy that accumulated during work – and that, instead of making his life easier, playing the games took the vital energy needed for him to change the situation.

Release valves are sneaky – they often look harmless. Take for example, venting to a friend about another friend. In this case, the energy dissipates and you never address the problem head on (we call this triangulation in the psych world).

To find out if you’re employing the release valve technique, ask yourself if you do anything to make another situation more bearable. You may find that the innocent nightly Internet surfing is keeping you from discussing an important issue with your spouse, or that the things legitimately purchased with your hard earned money are really keeping you from a much needed exercise program.

When something needs to change in your life, the energy naturally builds to a point of tension. This is where the motivation to change comes from. When we release the tension prematurely through some seemingly unrelated activity, we stay stuck in a situation that’s less than ideal.

Life will transform anything negative if we don’t distract ourselves. Perhaps taking a break from the good ol’ release valve will accelerate your journey toward real bliss.

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