Ebb and flow versus push and crash

There is much talk about “going with the flow” but little mention of the all important ebb factor, as in ebb and flow. And yet, for balance and regeneration, we need them both on a regular basis in our lives – a gentle rhythmic movement to maintain overall wellbeing.

Flow is effortless forward movement. Possibly everything seems to be in synch but if not we are likely to push a little to make things happen.

Ebb is the natural drawing back – to gather energy, heal, reflect, put down roots or grow.

We need ebb and flow – a gentle rhythmic movement – for health and wellbeing.

Our lives are controlled by the clock, schedules and deadlines. We do what has to be done. We may set time in our schedules to meditate, exercise or do fun things. Yet, strangely, those healthy pursuits can become part of the push – things that have to be done and fitted into tight timelines, rather than effortless flow or nurturing ebb.

Push and crash

Push often activates the stress response because pushing can be stressful. Adrenalin rushes through the body along with cortisol, and a number of other harmful reactions occur. These can lead to symptoms such as bursts of anger, sleeping difficulties, digestive disorders, palpitations or breathing problems.

Crash; suddenly, following rigorous push, we feel numb or exhausted. We run on automatic pilot and quite likely crash, suffering with one of the above symptoms or else we catch flu or have a migraine – giving us “time out” to nourish, nurture and recover.

Push and crash is a relentless pattern of pushing, overextending and crashing

5 questions to help identify whether you’re in the push and crash cycle?

  1. How do I feel before my feet hit the floor in the mornings? Numb; exhausted; anxious; tired; energized; happy.
  2. How do I feel as my head hits the pillow at night? Numb; exhausted; anxious; tired; relaxed; content.
  3. Do I sleep well? Yes; no.
  4. Have I seen, felt, heard or done anything today that gave me a sense of wonder, appreciation of beauty or that touched my heart? Yes; no.
  5. What is my mood like generally? Numb; angry; depressed; OK; good; happy.

Answers in bold indicate action is needed to return to ebb and flow.

5 suggestions to help move from push and crash to ebb and flow

  1. If you often feel numb or exhausted, gift yourself “time out”. Treat yourself gently. Sleep, walk, sit and stare into space or look at the view, read, laugh, listen to music, listen to waves lapping against the shore, watch sparrows, play with children, draw. Give yourself “time out” regularly and for as long as possible.
  2. Before bed, write bullet points of things that bother you or you have to do. Under the list write “in order of priority these things will be done, solved or disappear”. Forget the list until the next day. Gradually train your mind to think of what went well in the day, someone or something you love.
  3. Create a relaxing, easy and enjoyable sleep routine.
  4. During the day look for one thing that would normally bring a sense of wonder, beauty or love to your life. Then remember it – a rainbow, raindrop, child laughing, a smile, a sunset.
  5. Make sure that you drink water, and eat regularly and healthily throughout the day.


Wishing you effortless ebb and flow in your life,

With love,


Do you need to move through stress & trauma to resilience & inner peace?

Let Stress Heal Your Life book

Let Stress Heal Your Life

New Book – From Trauma to Tranquility

From Trauma to Tranquility