Advertising
Advertising

Published on June 8, 2021

What is Mental Energy And How To Maintain A High Level of It

What is Mental Energy And How To Maintain A High Level of It

We all understand “energy” in the physical sense, and we mostly experience the feeling of having a lot or a lack of physical energy. But physical energy is very different from mental energy. So, what is mental energy?

Mental energy is a mood and a measure of the willingness to undertake cognitive tasks. When you are experiencing an abundance of mental energy, you will feel motivated, efficient, and focused when dealing with tasks. You may feel like you can take on more and have the capacity to throw yourself into a situation without feeling stress or anxiety.

However, unfortunately in the busyness of modern society, you may relate more to the feeling of having a lack of mental energy. Take yourself back to a situation where you are juggling lots of tasks, work is hard, and home life is emotionally exhausting. This is the feeling of a lack of mental energy. You may have felt like being on the verge of burnout, found yourself procrastinating, and had the feeling of just not having the capacity to take on any more emotional or cognitive tasks.

You must deal with a lack of mental energy before it develops into mental exhaustion. Let us take a look at the symptoms of mental exhaustion and the toll that it can take on you as a person and your life.

Signs of Mental Exhaustion

Here are the mental, physical, and behavioral signs of exhaustion.

Advertising

Mental Signs

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Lack of motivation
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Anger

Physical Signs

  • Headache
  • Body aches
  • Change in appetite
  • Weight loss or gain
  • Increased illness

Behavioral Signs

  • Poor performance at work
  • Social withdrawal
  • Inability to keep to commitments
  • Increased time off sick at work

The signs of mental exhaustion are less than desirable, and you should reiterate the importance of maintaining your mental energy and do not let it be an afterthought.[1]

How to Maintain a High Level of Mental Energy

The maintenance of mental energy is all in the approach. We can not always control our situation or the number of tasks that we have on at a particular moment in time. However, we can control how we manage and maintain our mental health and mental energy at these times. Just as our physical energy can be maintained through various methods, so can our mental energy.

Now, let us take a look at some of the useful methods that can help us to maintain a high level of mental energy starting from today.

1. Get Adequate Sleep

Sleep may sound like the most obvious method to help maintain a high level of mental energy, however, it is very important.

There are two stages of sleep, REM (rapid eye movement) which is the stage of sleep when you dream, and Non-REM. Non-REM can be divided into three stages, the final stage being deep sleep. The deep sleep stage is where scientists believe that your body renews and repairs itself and also the stage that is most important in terms of energy maintenance.

Advertising

There are many ways in which you can create good sleep hygiene. These include having time away from devices before sleep, stopping caffeine intake a few hours before you plan to go to sleep, and going to sleep at the same time each evening.

2. Structure Your Day

Structuring your day can apply to either your home or your work life. The key is to prioritize the important tasks so that if you run out of time, you are safe in the knowledge that these have been completed. If you don’t do this, then you are at risk of overworking yourself, staying at work late, or doing household tasks into the evening.

At home, this may be washing first or tidying the house before you sit down to have a relax. At work, you can write down a list of your tasks for the day and then, list them from the highest priority to the lowest. You can tick off each task as you go along. Any uncompleted tasks can then be transferred to the next day. Furthermore, if you are running out of time, you’ll know in advance and can delegate the priority work to ensure that this is completed on time.

3. Eat Well

Eating well is important for both physical and mental health. Eating a well-balanced diet and certain foods can aid memory, concentration, and focus and thus, helping you maintain mental energy.

Let us take a look at some foods that can do this:

Advertising

  • Wholegrains – can improve concentration and focus as it provides a steady supply of energy throughout the day.
  • Blueberries – can boost short-term memory as they contain protective compounds called anthocyanins.
  • Blackcurrants – can reduce anxiety and stress as they contain Vitamin C which is widely thought to increase mental agility.
  • Pumpkin seeds – can enhance memory and boost mood as they are rich in magnesium, B vitamins, and tryptophan, which are believed to be important in serotonin. Serotonin is a chemical that has a positive impact on mood.

4. Get Some Fresh Air

Going outdoors can have a restorative effect on mental health. You do not have to undertake a ten-mile walk to reap the benefits. Simply being out in the garden, going for a stroll in the countryside, or doing a brisk walk to the shop can have a positive effect on mental energy. Research has shown that spending time outdoors can relieve anxiety and depression. Furthermore, it promotes relaxation and can improve confidence and self-esteem.[2]

5. Take a Break

Taking a break every so often whether at work or when doing any task can maintain a high level of mental energy and focus when needed. A break can involve something as simple as walking away from your computer and changing your environment for a few minutes by going to make a cup of tea to strolling around the block on your lunch rather than staying in the office.

This change of environment takes your mind off the task at hand, rejuvenates, and reenergizes you. Focus can then be maintained and the task at hand can be done to the best of your abilities without mental fatigue.

6. Exercise Your Brain

Challenging your brain does for your mind what exercise does for your body. Physical exercise can stimulate your physical energy just as exercising your brain can stimulate your mental energy.

There are many ways to exercise your brain including:

Advertising

  • Brain training exercises can stimulate the mind and also boost intelligence.
  • Learn something new to create new challenges for your brain.
  • Socializing can stimulate multiple areas of the brain. The array of activities involved in socializing engages different areas of the brain with each activity.

7. Meditate

Studies of meditation have shown to have many benefits to the brain. Such benefits include an improvement in brain function and energy levels.

One such study found that practicing meditation for just 25 minutes a day can provide this boost. This is because meditation has been found to release endorphins and increase blood flow to the brain. When meditating, you focus your attention on your breathing and the aim is to eliminate the busyness of the brain and your thoughts. This provides a much-needed rest for your brain thus increasing your mental energy levels.[3]

Final Thoughts

Unfortunately, a lack of mental energy is experienced by many and potentially, it is more commonly felt than the feeling of having a high level of energy. Once you spot the signs of a lack of mental energy, it is time to take action before those feelings worsen and develop into mental exhaustion.

However, the good news is that there are basic steps that you can take to maintain a high level of mental energy, and it is just as important as maintaining a high level of physical energy. These steps can be incorporated into your daily life with minimal effort. Eat well, sleep well, get some fresh air, take a break, challenge your brain, structure your day and meditate—it is as simple as that.

More Tips on Boosting Mental Energy

Featured photo credit: Ben White via unsplash.com

Advertising

Reference

More by this author

Charlotte Chidlow

Declutter Consultant and Life Coach with a BSc (Hons) Psychology with the Open University.

What is Mental Energy And How To Maintain A High Level of It 15 Simple And Professional Tips To Be Organized At Home How To Feel Happier (10 Scienece-Backed Ways) 27 Simple Ways to Pamper Yourself at Home 7 Benefits of Gratitude That Will Remind You To Be Thankful Daily

Trending in Restore Energy

1 What is Mental Energy And How To Maintain A High Level of It 2 11 Health Benefits Of Ashwagandha (Backed By Science) 3 How Physical Inactivity Affects Your Energy Levels 4 How to Stay Awake at Work Without Caffeine 5 9 Causes Of Fatigue And What To Do About It

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Published on May 20, 2021

11 Health Benefits Of Ashwagandha (Backed By Science)

11 Health Benefits Of Ashwagandha (Backed By Science)

I’ve been taking ashwagandha for about three years now, starting with liquid ashwagandha and more recently, consuming the supplement in pill form. I’ve cycled through different brands over the years to determine which brand I prefer and which form to consume the supplement in. Moreover, I’ve made a couple of videos on my YouTube channel discussing the benefits of ashwagandha and other similar supplements.

What Is Ashwagandha?

This powerful plant is a member of the Solanaceae family with over 4,000 years of traditional use in its native India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. Ashwagandha is classified as a Medharasayan, which is the Ayurvedic category of foods and nutrients that promote learning and memory retrieval.

Sometimes referred to as “Indian Ginseng,” it is traditionally used in conditions of debility, emaciation, impotence, and premature aging. The translation of Ashwagandha roughly is “the smell and strength of a horse”, alluding to its aphrodisiac properties. This plant is also considered a Tonic and an Adaptogen. Due to the potential benefits of ashwagandha in sleep, it is used to help promote normal sleep patterns and encourage a healthy inflammatory response in the Middle East.

11 Science-Backed Benefits of Ashwagandha

Here are the 11 science-backed benefits of Ashwagandha.

1. Reduces Stress and Anxiety

Researchers have reported that Ashwagandha blocked the stress pathway in the brains of rats by regulating chemical signaling in the nervous system. In a 60-day study in 64 people with chronic stress, those in the group that supplemented with ashwagandha reported a 69% reduction in anxiety and insomnia, on average, compared with 11% in the placebo group.[1]

Advertising

In another 6-week study, 88% of people who took ashwagandha reported a reduction in anxiety, compared with 50% of those who took a placebo.[2]

2. Anti-Cancer Properties

Several studies have shown ashwagandha contains compounds that may help fight certain types of cancer. Researchers aren’t sure how as of yet, but extracts in the herb seem to limit or inhibit the activity of cancer cells in breast, colon, prostate, ovarian, lung, and brain cancers. It does the same for thyroid, gastrointestinal, cervix, and skin (melanoma) cancers.[3]

Ashwagandha is also generally considered safe to use with traditional cancer treatments like chemotherapy and radiation. Some experts say it may ease certain side effects, like a weak immune system. However, most of these studies have been done on cancer cells specifically or animals with cancer, and not humans.[4]

3. Reduces Cortisol Levels

Cortisol is widely known as a stress hormone given that your adrenal glands release it in response to stress as well as when your blood sugar levels get too low. In one study in chronically stressed adults, those who supplemented with ashwagandha had significantly greater reductions in cortisol compared with the control group. Those taking the highest dose experienced a 30% reduction, on average.[5]

4. Reduces Blood Sugar

Several studies have shown that ashwagandha reduces blood sugar levels. In a 4-week study in people with schizophrenia, those treated with ashwagandha had an average reduction in fasting blood sugar levels of 13.5 mg/dL, compared with 4.5 mg/dL in those who received a placebo.[6]

Advertising

5. Reduces Inflammation

Several animal studies have shown that ashwagandha helps decrease inflammation. Studies in humans have found that it increases the activity of natural killer cells, which are immune cells that fight infection and help you stay healthy.[7][8]

It has also been shown to decrease markers of inflammation, such as C-reactive protein (CRP). This marker is linked to an increased risk of heart disease. In one controlled study, the group who took 250 mg of standardized ashwagandha extract daily had a 36% decrease in CRP, on average, compared with a 6% decrease in the placebo group.[9]

6. Increases Testosterone in Men

In a study containing 75 infertile men, the group treated with ashwagandha showed increased sperm count and motility, which lead researchers to believe Ashwagandha supplements may have powerful effects on testosterone levels and reproductive health. In another study, men who received ashwagandha for stress experienced higher antioxidant levels and overall improved sperm quality. After just 3 months of treatment, a whopping 14% of the men’s partners had become pregnant.[10]

7. Increases Strength and Exercise Performance

In a study with healthy young adults who took 500 milligrams of ashwagandha daily for 8 weeks, it determined they had more speed and strength during exercise than people who took a placebo. They also demonstrated better breathing, taking in more oxygen. In a study to determine a safe and effective dosage for ashwagandha, healthy men who took 750–1,250 mg of pulverized ashwagandha root per day gained muscle strength after 30 days.[11][12]

In another study, those who took ashwagandha had significantly greater gains in muscle strength and size. It also more than doubled their reductions in body fat percentage, compared with the placebo group.[13]

Advertising

8. Reduce Depression

This has not been thoroughly studied, however, limited research done has shown that ashwagandha possibly has a positive effect in reducing depression. In one controlled 60-day study in 64 stressed adults, those who took 600 mg of high-concentration ashwagandha extract per day reported a 79% reduction in severe depression, while the placebo group reported a 10% increase.[14]

9. Lower Cholesterol and Triglycerides

In addition to its well-known and documented anti-inflammatory effects, ashwagandha may help improve heart health by reducing cholesterol and triglyceride levels. In particular, animal studies have found that it significantly decreases levels of these blood fats. One animal study in rats found that it lowered total cholesterol and triglyceride levels by 53% and nearly 45%, respectively.[15]

In a 60-day study in chronically stressed adults, the group taking the highest dosage of standardized ashwagandha extract experienced a 17% decrease in LDL (bad) cholesterol and an 11% decrease in triglycerides, on average.[16]

10. Improve Memory

Several test-tube and animal studies have suggested that ashwagandha may mitigate memory and brain function problems caused by injury or disease, and it promotes antioxidant activity that protects nerve cells from harmful free radicals. In one study, rats with epilepsy that were treated with ashwagandha had nearly a complete reversal of spatial memory impairment. Likely this was caused by a reduction in oxidative stress.[17]

11. Improve Sleep

I’m big on sleep quality (as some readers may already know), which means I examine multiple ways exercise, hydration, diet, and supplementation can improve sleep. Ashwagandha may improve sleep according to one study with humans that showed taking 300 milligrams of the herb two times daily improved sleep. Another study on animals found that the triethylene glycol in ashwagandha is what brings sleep on.[18]

Advertising

How to Take Ashwagandha

It’s best to take Ashwghanda with food twice daily. Personally, I prefer to take the first dose in the morning and the second in the evening. On days when I’m fasting, I’ll take both doses in the afternoon and evening once I have broken fast.

Conclusion

It may be worth considering adding Ashwghanda to your supplement regimen. However, I do suggest checking if there is any potential conflict with existing supplements or medications you may be taking.

Often, it’s best to check with your doctor if it makes sense for you to begin taking Ashwagandha. However, it’s worth noting from my personal experience with doctors that many of them have no clue about holistic or natural herbs and remedies, so doing your own diligence/research may be more beneficial when considering taking Ashwagandha.

More on Energy Boosting

Featured photo credit: Bankim Desai via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Healthline: Ashwagandha Dosage: How Much Should You Take per Day?
[2] Healthline: 12 Proven Health Benefits of Ashwagandha
[3] WebMD: Ashwagandha Benefits
[4] NCBI: Withania somnifera: from prevention to treatment of cancer
[5] PubMed.gov: Hypoglycemic, diuretic and hypocholesterolemic effect of winter cherry (Withania somnifera, Dunal) root
[6] Healthline: When Is the Best Time to Take Ashwagandha?
[7] PubMed.gov: Protective effects of Withania somnifera root on inflammatory markers and insulin resistance in fructose-fed rats
[8] PubMed.gov: In vivo enhancement of natural killer cell activity through tea fortified with Ayurvedic herbs
[9] Healthline: 12 Proven Health Benefits of Ashwagandha
[10] PubMed.gov: Withania somnifera Improves Semen Quality in Stress-Related Male Fertility
[11] WebMD: Ashwagandha Benefits
[12] NCBI: Effects of eight-week supplementation of Ashwagandha on cardiorespiratory endurance in elite Indian cyclists
[13] NCBI: Examining the effect of Withania somnifera supplementation on muscle strength and recovery: a randomized controlled trial
[14] PubMed.gov: A prospective, randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled study of safety and efficacy of a high-concentration full-spectrum extract of ashwagandha root in reducing stress and anxiety in adults
[15] Healthline: Does Ashwagandha Improve Thyroid Health?
[16] PricePlow: A Standardized Withania Somnifera Extract Significantly Reduces Stress-Related Parameters in Chronically Stressed Humans: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Study
[17] Healthline: Does Ashwagandha Improve Thyroid Health?
[18] WebMD: Ashwagandha Benefits

Read Next