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Published on July 6, 2020

5 Tricks For Restoring Your Energy During Tough Times

5 Tricks For Restoring Your Energy During Tough Times

Challenging times are a part of life. Though you might be feeling exhausted and even powerless while trying to restore your energy, you need to remember that it happens to everyone. It could be a difficult financial period, a complicated situation in your close relationships, loneliness, health issues, a harsh defeat, or a failure that has drained you of your energy; but either way, it’s temporary, and restoring energy is an important next step.

Everything in life has cycles. Sometimes you just feel down, and that’s ok. But eventually, the wheel turns, and you’ll get back on the horse.

It may be challenging to see that in the middle of your struggle, but it’s all temporary. In hard times, when it’s hard to see the way out, it’s important to remind yourself that you are the one that is making the decisions, and you’re the one that has the ability to choose.

You can choose how you are handling your situation. You can dwell and stay stuck on your difficulties and unfortunate situation, or you can help yourself getting better and restore your energy one step at a time.

How can you make tomorrow better than today?

You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. You just need to stay positive and change your current daily routine bit by bit. The following five simple tricks will also make a huge difference for you, enabling you to improve your mood quickly and help you in restoring energy during tough times.

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1. Connect to Your Inner Child

The first thing that you have to do when you’re working your way out of the hole is to forgive yourself and to be compassionate. If you’re going to keep dwelling on your mistakes and continue beating yourself up, it will be nearly impossible for you to find more energy inside you. When you’re forgiving yourself and being compassionate with yourself, you’re putting less focus and energy on the problem, and you’re on the right track for restoring your energy.

A powerful trick for accessing this energy is by connecting to your inner child. If your 8-year-old self was in this situation, what would you tell him/her? Can you connect to the feelings that you felt during hard times that you’ve been through as a young child? Can you remember how intense those feelings were?

How would you cheer him/her up? What would you tell your little self if he/she were in the same situation instead of you?

When you are trying to see things through this perspective, you automatically feel empathetic and compassionate. Every time you’re detecting negative emotions or thoughts, think about the situation that troubles your mind as if your 8-year-old self was going through it. You’ll be amazed to see how different your automatic responses to your 8-year-old self’s way of handling the situation is. Can you give yourself the same gift of compassion and generosity?

2. Change Your Physical State

Are you exercising? I’m sure that you know that exercising is an all-natural treatment to fight depression and stress and understand the massive advantages of physical activity. So are you exercising?

Your emotional state, quality of life, and level of performance are inseparable from your physical state. When you’re going through a rough patch, it’s time to restore your energy by changing this, as your physical state is a major factor determining how you feel. You don’t have to be the toughest person alive and begin running ultra marathons; you just need to instill more movement in your current routine and schedule.

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Understand that when you’re changing your physical state, your emotions change as well. If you are currently feeling that you are drained and have no energy, that you are powerless and exhausted, isn’t that the time to take a look at your physical routine? What are you doing most of the day? Are you sitting? Lying down on the couch or in bed? Stuck in your car or office seat most of the day?

If that’s the case, isn’t it obvious that adding more movement and activity to your daily routine can pump up your energy[1], it’s important to remember that a new day will eventually come when the challenge has been overcome.

And if you know that things will improve over time, why not imagine your ideal life? Why not go with it all the way and imagine something that really excites you and makes you feel alive?

When you are imagining an ideal picture of your future life and your future self, you’re connecting to a positive mental state. And when you are in a positive mental state, all of a sudden your problems seem smaller, and your energies and capabilities feel much more robust and accessible. How can you instill these 5-minute positive breaks during your day? How can you adopt this powerful, positive, and energetic visualization and connection in your daily schedule?

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This is something that is definitely worth the time, since you know how fun and relaxing it feels to daydream every once in a while. Five minutes of a positive mental state is a great way to energize yourself, to give yourself a little break from everything that’s going on in your life. And these 5 minutes accumulate as you’ll have more energy with every positive mental break that you’ll take.

After a while, you’ll see that these positive breaks are becoming your positive anchor, fueling you with energy and optimism and enabling you to find more in yourself as the power of momentum works its magic.

5. Find Someone to Look up to

Who do you look up to? Who do you adore? Whether it’s a friend or a relative of yours that you appreciate a lot, or a celebrity athlete, movie star, or singer, they’re people just like you. They have also had bad times! Take some time to listen to their stories.

Can you imagine what they went through? And what they did to bounce back? How did they restore their energy during tough times? If they were in your shoes, what would they do in this situation?

Furthermore, can you imagine what would they tell you if they were next to you right now? If you’d share your story with them, what piece of advice would they give you? How would that advice affect you?

Remember, they’re people just like you, with strengths and weaknesses, that overcame obstacles, and you can gain power and energy from connecting to their stories and seeing yourself in the same situation.

Final Thoughts

Remember, tough times are temporary, but the techniques you build in learning about restoring energy in your life can last years and help you through countless challenges. Find what works for you and what helps you maintain a positive outlook in the fact of any difficult moment.

More Tips on Restoring Energy

Featured photo credit: Aditya Saxena via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Everyday Health: Why Exercise Boosts Mood and Energy))?

What kind of physical activity do you like to do? What kind of movement can you insert into your daily schedule? It can actually be something small, like stretching your back for 10 minutes in the morning when you’re waking up and before you go to bed. It could be taking a short 20-minute walk while listening to your favorite music before going to work, or after you’re coming back from work.

The level of intensity doesn’t really matter. What’s important is to be persistent and to insert a steady physical energy boost several times a day. Pump it up!

3. Connect With Your 80-Year-Old Self

Imagine now the exact opposite from trick number 1. Now you’re not a kid, but you’re looking at your old wrinkled 80-year-old self. You’ve seen so much, you’ve experienced so much, you’ve achieved so much, you’ve lived life for a long time. Now, when you are looking back at your long and rich life, do you remember what happened to you back then when you went through a difficult time?

I’m actually not talking about the current period. I want you to look at another difficult time that you’ve had, one that you’ve overcome and come out stronger than before. You know exactly what you did right and wrong, and what helped you in that period. And now, let’s get back to your current situation, as your all-knowing 80-year-old self. When you are looking back at this specific time, how do you feel?

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Do your feelings and thoughts suddenly look small and irrelevant? Over an entire life-span, does this period look consequential or more like a footnote? A typo?

When you are trying to see things through this perspective, you automatically feel calm, even stoic. Every time you’re detecting negative emotions or thoughts, think about the situation that troubles your mind as if your 80-year-old self were reflecting on it. You’ll be amazed to see how different your automatic responses as your 80-year-old self are.

Can you zoom out from your current situation and see it through a life-time perspective? You know that you’ve successfully got out of difficult situations before, so let your 80-year-old self perspective give you some experienced framing regarding your current problems.

4. Imagine Your Ideal Life

When you’re going through a rough time and are looking for help in restoring energy, it’s important to imagine and think of a better tomorrow. When you’re in a bad situation, or when you are giving everything you’ve got trying to achieve a big, challenging goal, fighting to stay determined when times get tough((Vision, Belief, Change: 5 Tips to Stay Determined When Times Get Tough

More by this author

Doron Hafner

Entrepreneur, Personal and Business coach

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Last Updated on September 30, 2020

Why Intrinsic Motivation Is So Powerful (And How to Find It)

Why Intrinsic Motivation Is So Powerful (And How to Find It)

Motivation is one of the main reasons we do things — take an action, go to work (and sometimes overwork ourselves), create goals, exercise our willpower. There are two main, universally agreed upon types of motivation — intrinsic motivation (also known as internal motivation) and extrinsic motivation (external motivation).

The intrinsic kind is, by inference, when you do something because it’s internally fulfilling, interesting or enjoyable — without an expectation of a reward or recognition from others. Extrinsic motivation is driven by exactly the opposite — externalities, such as the promise of more money, a good grade, positive feedback, or a promotion.

And of course, we all know about the big debate about money. It’s surely an external driver, but is it possible that it can sometimes make us enjoy what we do more? A meta-analysis that reviewed 120 years of research found a weak link between job satisfaction and money[1].

And what’s more — there is some evidence to suggest that more money can actually have an adverse effect on your intrinsic motivation.

Regardless of its type, motivation is still important to get you moving, to improve, excel, and put that extra effort when you feel like you don’t have a single drop of energy left to keep going.

So, let’s see some of the best things you can do to keep the fire going, even when you’d rather just indulge in pleasant idleness.

Why Intrinsic Motivation Tops Extrinsic Motivation

“To be motivated means to be moved to do something.”[2]

Generally speaking, we all need motivation.

An avalanche of research, though, shows that when it comes to finding the lasting drive to “do something,” internal incentives are much more powerful than extrinsic rewards.

Why? It’s simple.

There is a great difference when you engage in something because “I want to,” as opposed to “I must.” Just think about the most obvious example there is: work.

If you go to work every day, dragging your feet and dreading the day ahead of you, how much enjoyment will you get from your job? What about productivity and results? Quality of work?

Yep, that’s right, you definitely won’t be topping the Employee of the Month list anytime soon.

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The thing with external motivation is that it doesn’t last. It’s susceptible to something psychologists call Hedonic Adaptation[3]. It’s a fancy way of saying that external rewards are not a sustainable source of happiness and satisfaction.

When you put in 100-hour weeks in order to get promoted, and you finally are, how long does your “high” last? The walking-on-a-cloud feelings wear off quickly, research tells us, making you want more. Therefore, you are stuck on a never-ending “hedonic treadmill,” i.e. you can progressively only become motivated by bigger and shinier things, just to find out that they don’t bring you the satisfaction you hoped for, when you finally get them.

Or, as the journalist and author Oliver Burkeman wonderfully puts it[4]:

“Write every day” won’t work unless you want to write. And no exercise regime will last long if you don’t at least slightly enjoy what you’re doing.

If you want to find out more about the different types of motivation, take a look at this article: 9 Types of Motivation That Make It Possible to Reach Your Dreams

Benefits of Intrinsic Motivation

If you are still unconvinced that doing things solely for kudos and brownie points is not going to keep you going forever, nor make you like what you do, here is some additional proof:

Studies tell us that intrinsic motivation is a generally stronger predictor of job performance over the long run than extrinsic motivation[5].

One reason is that when we are internally driven to do something, we do it simply for the enjoyment of the activity. So, we keep going, day in and out, because we feel inspired, driven, happy, and satisfied with ourselves.

Another reason has to do with the fact that increasing intrinsic motivation is intertwined with things such as higher purpose, contributing to a cause, or doing things for the sake of something bigger than ourselves or our own benefit. A famous study done by the organizational psychologist Adam Grant is case in point[6].

By showing university fundraisers how the money donated by alumni can help financially struggling students to graduate from college, their productivity increased by 400% a week! The callers also showed an average increase of 142% in time spent on the phone and 171% increase in money raised.

Internal motivation has been found to be very helpful when it comes to academia, too. Research confirms that the use of external motivators, such as praise, undermine students’ internal motivation, and, in the long-run, it results in “slower acquisition of skills and more errors in the learning process.”[7]

In contrast, when children are internally driven, they are more involved in the task at hand, enjoy it more, and intentionally seek out challenges.

Therefore, all the research seems to allude to one major revelation: intrinsic motivation is a must-have if you want to save yourself the drudgery we all sometimes feel when contemplating the things we should do or must do.

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6 Ways to Enhance Your Intrinsic Motivation

So, how does one get more of the good stuff — that is, how do you become internally motivated?

There are many things you can do to become more driven. Here are the ones that top the list.

1. Self-Efficacy

The theory of self-efficacy was developed by the American-Canadian psychologist Albert Bandura in 1982[8]. Efficacy is our own belief in whether we can achieve the goals we set for ourselves. In other words, it’s whether we think we “got what it takes” to be successful at what we do[9].

Find intrinsic motivation with self-efficacy.

    It’s not hard to see the link of self-efficacy to higher self-esteem, better performance, and, of course, enhanced motivation. People with high self-efficacy are more likely to put extra effort in what they do, to self-set more challenging goals, and be more driven to improve their skills[10].

    Therefore, the belief that we can accomplish something serves as a self-fulfilling prophecy — it motivates us to try harder to prove to ourselves that we can do it.

    You can learn more about self-efficacy in this article: What Is Self Efficacy and How to Improve Yours

    2. Link Your Actions to a Greater Purpose

    Finding your “why” in life is incredibly important. This means that you need to be clear with yourself on why you do what you do and what drives you. What is intrinsically rewarding for you? 

    And no matter how mundane a task may be, it can always be linked to something bigger and better. Psychologists call this “reframing your narrative.”

    Remember the famous story of John F. Kennedy visiting NASA in 1961? As it goes, he met a janitor there and asked him what he did at NASA. The answer was:

    “I’m helping to put a man on the Moon.”

    Inspirational, isn’t it?

    Re-phrasing how your actions can help others and leave a mark in the universe can be a powerful driver and a meaning-creator.

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    3. Volunteer

    Volunteering is a great way to give back to the world. It can also help boost your internal motivation by making you feel important in supporting the less fortunate, learning new skills, feeling good about yourself, or linking to some of your inner values, such as kindness and humanitarianism[11].

    When you remove any external reward expectations and do something for the pure joy and fulfilment of improving others’ lives, then you are truly intrinsically motivated.

    4. Don’t Wait Until You “Feel Like It” to Do Something

    A great piece in the Harvard Business Review points out that when we say things as “I can’t make myself go to the gym” or “I can’t get up early,” what we actually mean is that we don’t feel like it[12]. There is nothing that psychically prevents us from doing those things, apart from our laziness.

    But here’s the thing: You don’t have to “feel like it” in order to take action.

    Sometimes, it so happens that you may not want to do something in the beginning, but once you start, you get into the flow and find your intrinsic motivation.

    For instance, you don’t feel like going to the gym after a long day at work. Rather than debating in your head for hours “for and against” it, just go. Tell yourself that you will think about it later. Once in the gym, surrounded by similar souls, you suddenly won’t fee that tired or uninspired.

    Another way to overcome procrastination is to create routines and follow them. Once the habit sets in, suddenly getting up at 6 am for work or writing for an hour every day won’t be so dreadful.

    5. Self-Determination, or the CAR Model (As I Call It)

    The Self-Determination theory was created by two professors of psychology from the University of Rochester in the mid-80s—Richard Ryan and Edward Deci[13]. The theory is one of the most popular ones in the field of motivation[14]. It focuses on the different drivers behind our behavior—i.e. the intrinsic and extrinsic motivators.

    There are three main needs, the theory further states, that can help us meet our need for growth. These are also the things which Profs. Deci and Ryan believed to be the main ways to enhance our intrinsic motivation—Competence, Autonomy, and Relatedness (CAR).

    If our jobs allow us to learn and grow, and if we have enough autonomy to do things our way and be creative, then we will be more driven to give our best, and our performance will soar. In addition, as humans are social beings, we also need to feel connected to others and respected.

    All of these sources of intrinsic motivation, separately and in combination, can become powerful instigators to keep us thriving, even when we feel uninspired and unmotivated .

    6. Tap Into a Deeper Reason

    Some interesting research done in 2016 sought answers to how high-performing employees remain driven when their company can’t or won’t engage in ways to motivate them—intrinsically or extrinsically[15].

    The study tracked workers in a Mexican factory, where they did exactly the same tasks every day, with virtually zero chances for learning new skills, developing professionally, or being promoted. Everyone was paid the same, regardless of performance. So there was no extrinsic motivation at all, other than keeping one’s job.

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    A third kind of motivation was then discovered, which scientists called “family motivation.” Workers who agreed more with statements such as “I care about supporting my family” or “It is important for me to do good for my family” were more energized and performed better, although they didn’t have any additional external or internal incentive to do so.

    The great thing about this kind of driver is that it’s independent of the company one works for or the situation. It taps into something even deeper—if you don’t want to do something for your own sake, then do it for the people you care for.

    And this is a powerful motive, as many can probably attest to this.

    Final Thoughts

    Frederick Herzberg, the American psychologist who developed what’s perhaps still today the most famous theory of motivation, in his renowned article from 1968 (which sold a modest 1.2 million reprints and it the most requested article from Harvard Business Review One More Time, How Do You Motivate Employees? wrote:[16]

    “If I kick my dog, he will move. And when I want him to move again, what must I do? I must kick him again. Similarly, I can charge a person’s battery, and then recharge it, and recharge it again. But it is only when one has a generator of one’s own that we can talk about motivation. One then needs no outside stimulation. One wants to do it.”

    Herzberg further explains that the so-called “hygiene factors” (salary, job security, benefits, vacation time, work conditions) don’t lead to fulfillment, nor motivation. What does, though, are the “motivators”—challenging work, opportunities for growth, achievement, greater responsibility, recognition, the work itself.

    Herzberg realized it long ago…intrinsic motivation tips the scales when it comes to finding long-term happiness and satisfaction in everything we do, and to improving our overall well-being.

    In the end, the next time when you need to give yourself a bit of a kick to get something done, remember to link it to a goal bigger than yourself, and preferably one that has non-material benefit.

    And no, don’t say that you tried but it’s just impossible to find internal motivation. Remember the janitor at NASA?

    Because once you find your internal generator, you will be truly unstoppable.

    More Tips to Boost Motivation

    Featured photo credit: Juan Ramos via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Harvard Business Review: Does Money Really Affect Motivation? A Review of the Research
    [2] Contemporary Educational Psychology: Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivations: Classic Definitions and New Directions
    [3] Scientific American: The Science of Lasting Happiness
    [4] The Guardian: Is the secret of productivity really just doing what you enjoy?
    [5] European Journal of Business and Management: Impact of Employee Motivation on Employee Performance
    [6] Adam Grant : Impact and the Art of Motivation Maintenance: The Effects of Contact With Beneficiaries on Persistence Behavior
    [7] Grand Valley State University: The Effect of Rewards and Motivation on Student Achievement
    [8] Encyclopedia Britannica: Albert Bandura
    [9] Pinterest: Self-Efficacy Theory
    [10] Educational Psychologist: Goal Setting and Self-Efficacy During Self-Regulated Learning
    [11] University of Minnesota: The Motivations to Volunteer: Theoretical and Practical Considerations
    [12] Harvard Business Review: How to Make Yourself Work When You Just Don’t Want To
    [13] Richard Ryan and Edward Deci: Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivations: Classic Definitions and New Directions
    [14] Richard Ryan and Edward Deci: Self-Determination Theory and the Facilitation of Intrinsic Motivation, Social Development, and Well-Being
    [15] Nick Tasler: How some people stay motivated and energized at work—even when they don’t love their jobs
    [16] Harvard Business Review: One More Time: How Do You Motivate Employees?

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