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6 Simple Hacks to Increase Your Energy

6 Simple Hacks to Increase Your Energy


    Getting things done quickly and well requires mental and physical energy. The better more you have the better your results. This applies to all every area of life from getting in a good workout to performing your best at your job. Unfortunately, energy isn’t something we always possess. This is especially true when we’re under stress, haven’t gotten enough sleep, or are distracted by having too many things to get done.

    In this article I provide 6 tips to increase energy. Some work immediately and others provide their benefit over time. I use all of them regularly myself. They’ve helped me get through 80 hour work weeks while running a start-up business without having to overstimulate myself with too much caffeine.

    1. Explode

    I don’t mean lose your temper or find a way to self-combust. What I do mean is to perform explosive exercises like jumping in place as high as possible or burpees. These exercises help ‘wake up’ your nervous system and will have you feeling more alert and energized.

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    The key is to not wear yourself out. This is done by doing several sets (5-10) of low reps (1-3) of 1-2 exercises. Rest about 30 seconds between each set. I like to perform 1 upper body and 1 lower body exercise. Body weight and kettlebell exercises are best but you can do weighted movements too. If you do, use a very light weight.

    Perform this type of exercise when you are feeling tired for a quick pick me up at work or before you workout to boost your energy all workout long.

    2. Take a Shot of Tyrosine

    This amino acid is used to make the chemical dopamine that’s found in large amounts in your brain. This chemical sends signals to your brain that tell it to get to work and stay focused. Studies on soldiers show that supplementing with l-tyrosine can help boost mental and physical performance, even when you are sleep deprived and exhausted from performing hours of exhaustive exercise.

    You can buy l-tyrosine supplements at any health food store. Start by taking 500 mg to see how it works for you. Increase the dosage if necessary in 500 mg increments. Studies show that 2-3 grams (2000-3000 mg) is the most effective dose.

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    3. Eat Some Protein

    Eating a protein rich meal will give you more energy for several hours. Studies show that eating protein is superior to one that’s high in carbohydrates at increasing attention span, memory, and the time it takes to make a decision.

    The reason for this, it seems is that a protein rich meal helps to better stabilize your blood sugar levels and therefore providing our body and brains with a steady source of fuel High carbohydrate meals on the other hand cause large increases and then rapid decreases in blood glucose and mental energy.

    So, instead of having a meal of pasta, rice, or a sandwich on a roll opt for salad with steak or chicken, an omelet, or a seafood and vegetable stir fry. If you’re pressed for time, a protein shake will do the trick too.

    4. Eat Smart Fats

    This tip applies specifically to mental energy and focus. If you want to have lots of each you need to give your body the right fats every day. The best types for this benefit are the omega 3 fatty acids EPA and DHA. They way these super fats help you is by increasing levels of certain chemicals in your brain which enable you to focus and deal with stress better.

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    The best way to get these fats is to eat fatty fish (i.e. mackerel, salmon, sardines) several times a week. While I strive to do this, I find that taking a fish oil supplement is the best way for me to get enough omega 3’s into my diet to see a benefit.

    Aim to get 2-3 grams of EPA and DHA into your diet every day. This is equal to a large serving of salmon, 4 fish oil supplement capsules, or a tablespoon of liquid fish oil.

    5. Take a BCAA Supplement

    This is my favorite way to boost my energy. Nothing gives me more energy so quickly. No even caffeine. Studies show that supplementing with branch chain amino acids can decrease fatigue when you are stressed from physical or mental work. Research also finds they’re good for boosting your mood. The better your mood, the more you will be able to focus on getting things done.

    The best way to get an adequate dose of branch chain amino acids is with a nutritional supplement. Start by taking 2-3 grams and increase the dosage until you find what works for you. You’re likely to find the best results by taking them on an empty stomach.

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    6. Take a Nap

    Last but not least, the best way to feel mentally and physically energized is to give your brain a rest so it can re-charge. The best way to do this is to get 6-8 hours of sleep every night. We both know this isn’t always possible, especially when you’re busy at work. One way to give yourself a mental boost is to take a nap. Studies show doing this …

    Don’t nap too long or you may find yourself feeling as tired as you did before sleeping. Studies show that a 10-15 minute nap is all that it takes to feel more mentally alert.

    Conclusion

    Now you know 6 great ways to boost your energy. The next time you find your body and mind feeling sluggish, give them a try and experience their effectiveness for yourself.

    Sources: Fischer K, Colombani PC, Langhans W, Wenk C. Carbohydrate to protein ratio in food and cognitive performance in the morning. Physiol Behav. 2002 Mar;75(3):411-23; Hassmén P, Blomstrand E, Ekblom B, Newsholme EA. Branched-chain amino acid supplementation during 30-km competitive run: mood and cognitive performance. Nutrition. 1994 Sep-Oct;10(5):405-10; Lovato N, Lack L. The effects of napping on cognitive functioning. Prog Brain Res. 2010;185:155-66.

    (Photo credit: Running Man via Shutterstock)

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    Last Updated on August 20, 2019

    How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

    How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

    Your mind is the most powerful tool you have for the creation of good in your life, but if not used correctly, can also be the most destructive force in your life.

    Your mind, more specifically, your thoughts, affect your perception and therefore, your interpretation of reality. (And here’s Why Your Perception Is Your Reality.)

    I have heard that the average person thinks around 70,000 thoughts a day. That’s a lot, especially if they are unproductive, self-abusive and just a general waste of energy.

    You can let your thoughts run amok, but why would you? It is your mind, your thoughts; isn’t it time to take your power back? Isn’t it time to take control?

    Choose to be the person who is actively, consciously thinking your thoughts. Become the master of your mind.

    When you change your thoughts, you will change your feelings as well, and you will also eliminate the triggers that set off those feelings. Both of these outcomes provide you with a greater level of peace in your mind.

    I currently have few thoughts that are not of my own choosing or a response from my reprogramming. I am the master of my mind, so now my mind is quite peaceful. Yours can be too!

    Who Is Thinking My Thoughts?

    Before you can become the master of your mind, you must recognize that you are currently at the mercy of several unwanted “squatters” living in your mind, and they are in charge of your thoughts. If you want to be the boss of them, you must know who they are and what their motivation is, and then you can take charge and evict them.

    Here are four of the “squatters” in your head that create the most unhealthy and unproductive thoughts:

    1. The Inner Critic

    This is your constant abuser who is often a conglomeration of:

    • Other people’s words; many times your parents.
    • Thoughts you have created based on your own or other peoples expectations.
    • Comparing yourself to other people, including those in the media.
    • The things you told yourself as a result of painful experiences such as betrayal and rejection. Your interpretation creates your self-doubt and self-blame, which are most likely undeserved in cases of rejection and betrayal.

    The Inner Critic is motivated by pain, low self-esteem, lack of self-acceptance and lack of self-love.

    Why else would this person abuse you? And since this person is actually you– why else would you abuse yourself? Why would you let anyone treat you this badly?

    2. The Worrier

    This person lives in the future; in the world of “what ifs.”

    The Worrier is motivated by fear which is often irrational and with no basis for it. Occasionally, this person is motivated by fear that what happened in the past will happen again.

    3. The Reactor or Trouble-Maker

    This is the one that triggers anger, frustration and pain. These triggers stem from unhealed wounds of the past. Any experience that is even closely related to a past wound will set him off.

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    This person can be set off by words or feelings, and can even be set off by sounds and smells.

    The Reactor has no real motivation and has poor impulse control and is run by past programming that no longer serves you, if it ever did.

    4. The Sleep Depriver

    This can be a combination of any number of different squatters including the inner planner, the rehasher, and the ruminator, along with the inner critic and the worrier.

    The Sleep Depriver’s motivation can be:

    • As a reaction to silence, which he fights against
    • Taking care of the business you neglected during the day
    • Self-doubt, low self-esteem, insecurity and generalized anxiety
    • As listed above for the inner critic and worrier

    How can you control these squatters?

    How to Master Your Mind

    You are the thinker and the observer of your thoughts. You must pay attention to your thoughts so you can identify “who” is running the show; this will determine which technique you will want to use.

    Begin each day with the intention of paying attention to your thoughts and catching yourself when you are thinking undesirable thoughts.

    There are two ways to control your thoughts:

    • Technique A – Interrupt and replace them
    • Technique B – Eliminate them altogether

    This second option is what is known as peace of mind!

    The technique of interrupting and replacing is a means of reprogramming your subconscious mind. Eventually, the replacement thoughts will become the “go to” thoughts in the applicable situations.

    Use Technique A with the Inner Critic and Worrier; and Technique B with the Reactor and Sleep Depriver.

    For the Inner Critic

    When you catch yourself thinking something negative about yourself (calling yourself names, disrespecting yourself, or berating yourself), interrupt it.

    You can yell (in your mind), “Stop! No!” or, “Enough! I’m in control now.” Then, whatever your negative thought was about yourself, replace it with an opposite or counter thought or an affirmation that begins with “I am.”

    For example, if your thought is, “I’m such a loser,” you can replace it with, “I am a Divine Creation of the Universal Spirit. I am a perfect spiritual being learning to master the human experience. I am a being of energy, light, and matter. I am magnificent, brilliant, and beautiful. I love and approve of myself just as I am.”

    You can also have a dialogue with yourself with the intention of discrediting the ‘voice’ that created the thought, if you know whose voice it is:

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    “Just because so-and-so said I was a loser doesn’t make it true. It was his or her opinion, not a statement of fact. Or maybe they were joking and I took it seriously because I’m insecure.”

    If you recognize that you have recurring self-critical thoughts, you can write out or pre-plan your counter thoughts or affirmation so you can be ready. This is the first squatter you should evict, forcefully, if necessary:

    • They rile up the Worrier.
    • The names you call yourself become triggers when called those names by others, so he also maintains the presence of the Reactor.
    • They are often present when you try to fall asleep so he perpetuates the Sleep Depriver.
    • They are a bully and is verbally and emotionally abusive.
    • They are the destroyer of self-esteem. They convince you that you’re not worthy. They’re a liar! In the interest of your self-worth, get them out!

    Eliminate your worst critic and you will also diminish the presence of the other three squatters.

    Replace them with your new best friends who support, encourage, and enhance your life. This is a presence you want in your mind.

    For the Worrier

    Prolonged anxiety is mentally, emotionally and physically unhealthy. It can have long-term health implications.

    Fear initiates the fight or flight response, creates worry in the mind and creates anxiety in the body.

    You should be able to recognize a “worry thought” immediately by how you feel. The physiological signs that the fight or flight response of fear has kicked in are:

    • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, or surge of adrenaline
    • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
    • Muscles tense

    Use the above stated method to interrupt any thought of worry and then replace it. But this time you will replace your thoughts of worry with thoughts of gratitude for the outcome you wish for.

    If you believe in a higher power, this is the time to engage with it. Here is an example:

    Instead of worrying about my loved ones traveling in bad weather, I say the following (I call it a prayer):

    “Thank you great spirit for watching over _______. Thank you for watching over his/her car and keeping it safe, road-worthy, and free of maintenance issues without warning. Thank you for surrounding him/her with only safe, conscientious, and alert drivers. And thank you for keeping him/her safe, conscientious, and alert.”

    Smile when you think about it or say it aloud, and phrase it in the present tense; both of these will help you feel it and possibly even start to believe it.

    If you can visualize what you are praying for, the visualization will enhance the feeling so you will increase the impact in your vibrational field.

    Now take a calming breath, slowly in through your nose, and slowly out through the mouth. Take as many as you like!

    Replacing fearful thoughts with gratitude will decrease reactionary behavior, taking the steam out of the Reactor.

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    For example:

    If your child gets lost in the mall, the typical parental reaction that follows the fearful thoughts when finding them is to yell at them.

    “I told you never to leave my sight.” This reaction just adds to the child’s fear level from being lost in the first place. Plus, it also teaches them that mom and/or dad will get mad when he or she makes a mistake, which may make them lie to you or not tell you things in the future.

    Change those fearful thoughts when they happen:

    “Thank You (your choice of Higher Power) for watching over my child and keeping him safe. Thank you for helping me find him soon.”

    Then, when you see your child after this thought process, your only reaction will be gratitude, and that seems like a better alternative for all people involved.

    For the Trouble-Maker, Reactor or Over-Reactor

    Permanently eliminating this squatter will take a bit more attention and reflection after the fact to identify and heal the causes of the triggers; but until then, you can prevent the Reactor from getting out of control by initiating conscious breathing as soon as you recognize his presence.

    The Reactor’s thoughts or feelings activate the fight or flight response just like with the Worrier. The physiological signs of his presence will be the same. With a little attention, you should be able to tell the difference between anxiety, anger, frustration, or pain:

    • Increased heart rate and blood pressure; surge of adrenaline
    • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
    • Muscles tension

    I’m sure you’ve heard the suggestion to count to ten when you get angry—well, you can make those ten seconds much more productive if you are breathing consciously during that time.

    Conscious breathing is as simple as it sounds; just be conscious of your breathing. Pay attention to the air going in and coming out.

    Breathe in through your nose:

    • Feel the air entering your nostrils.
    • Feel your lungs filling and expanding.
    • Focus on your belly rising.

    Breathe out through your nose:

    • Feel your lungs emptying.
    • Focus on your belly falling.
    • Feel the air exiting your nostrils.

    Do this for as long as you like. Leave the situation if you want. This gives the adrenaline time to normalize.

    Now you can address the situation with a calmer, more rational perspective and avoid damaging behavior.

    One of the troubles this squatter causes is that it adds to the sleep depriver’s issues. By evicting, or at least controlling the Reactor, you will decrease reactionary behavior, which will decrease the need for the rehashing and ruminating that may keep you from falling asleep.

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    Master your mind and stop the Reactor from bringing stress to you and your relationships!

    For the Sleep Depriver

    (They’re made up of the Inner Planner, the Rehasher and the Ruminator, along with the Inner Critic and the Worrier.)

    I was plagued with a very common problem: not being able to turn off my mind at bedtime. This inability prevented me from falling asleep and thus, getting a restful and restorative night’s sleep.

    Here’s how I mastered my mind and evicted the Sleep Depriver and all his cronies.

    1. I started by focusing on my breathing—paying attention to the rise and fall of my belly—but that didn’t keep the thoughts out for long. (Actually, I now start with checking my at-rest mouth position to keep me from clenching.)
    2. Then I came up with replacement strategy that eliminated uncontrolled thinking—imagining the word in while breathing in and thinking the word out when breathing out. I would (and do) elongate the word to match the length of my breath.

    When I catch myself thinking, I shift back to in, out. With this technique, I am still thinking, sort of, but the wheels are no longer spinning out of control. I am in control of my mind and I choose quiet.

    From the first time I tried this method I started to yawn after only a few cycles and am usually asleep within ten minutes.

    For really difficult nights, I add an increase of attention by holding my eyes in a looking-up position (Closed, of course!). Sometimes I try to look toward my third eye but that really hurts my eyes.

    If you have trouble falling asleep because you can’t shut off your mind, I strongly recommend you try this technique. I still use it every night. You can start sleeping better tonight!

    You can also use this technique any time you want to:

    • Fall back to sleep if you wake up too soon.
    • Shut down your thinking.
    • Calm your feelings.
    • Simply focus on the present moment. 

    The Bottom Line

    Your mind is a tool, and like any other tool, it can be used for constructive purposes or for destructive purposes.

    You can allow your mind to be occupied by unwanted, undesirable and destructive tenants, or you can choose desirable tenants like peace, gratitude, compassion, love, and joy.

    Your mind can become your best friend, your biggest supporter, and someone you can count on to be there and encourage you. The choice is yours!

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    Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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