It’s one of the most common complaints on the planet and it comes in many forms:
- “I just sat down, you get up.”
- “I’m too tired, too achey, too frazzled.”
- “Can’t a person have 5-minutes to just chill out?”
- “I’m burned out.”
- “I’m feeling a little… run-down, weak, lazy”
While there may be other contributing factors…
Lack of energy plays a pretty major role in all these excuses.
Over the last ten years, motivated largely by the ability to stay awake for insane hours and operate on hyper-speed, caffeine and sugar-packed energy drinks have become the go-to fix for gamers and students. But, what about non-gamer grown-ups?
How do you energy-up, without loading up on stimulants?
Here are five techniques and activities that are not only proven to add a lot of energy to your day, but also add to, rather than take away from your overall health:
- Breath of fire: At the heart of yoga lie a set of breathing techniques designed to have very specific and, often, immediate, energetic effects on the body. And, whether you believe in the existence of a subtle-energy in the body (called Prana) as yogis do, or you prefer to attribute the stimulating effect to activation of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, these techniques work.The Breath Of Fire is a yogic breathing technique designed to not only cleanse, but heat and energize your body. And, it at it’s core is a series of quick, panting-like exhales. For detailed instructions, click here now.
- Exercise. This sounds a bit counter-intuitive, but one of the best things you can do to feel more energetic when you’re low on energy is to get active. Exercise initiates physiological changes in your body that increase blood flow and energy substrates to both your brain and skeletal muscles, increasing your alertness and overall energy availability.
- Meditate. Two things that drain your energy lightning-fast are stress and anxiety. And, unfortunately, many of us work in settings that cultivate stress and anxiety on a chronic, daily basis. If you’re not ready to create larger-scale change in the circumstances that cultivate this stress, developing a daily meditation practice is an amazing antidote. It frees up a huge chunk of your mental energy and taps the relaxation-response, which rebalances both your nervous and endocrine systems. The net effect is both a deeper sense of calm and increased, enduring energy.
- Improve your sleep. This one is pretty intuitive. Much of the restorative work in your body happens when you sleep. This includes repairing damaged tissue and replenishing energy stores.So, it stands to reason that, if you are chronically sleep-deprived, you end up less-restored, less-replenished and less energized. This is a massively oversimplified description of the physiological processes, but the reality is, we need only to look to or own experience to know the impact of a killer 20-minute power-nap on your energy. Or, if you’ve got the time, kick it up to complete a full sleep cycle (about 90-minutes).Just be sure not to nap for too long or you’ll start to drop into the sleep cycles that, when you’re awoken, can leave you even more groggy, tired and irritable.
- Listen to high-energy music. Here’s a final one that, again, is backed by intuition. Not only does great music give you that near-magical second wind or extra kick when you are exercising, it also boosts your mood and energy during regular tasks. In fact, some research even revealed workers who listened to great classical music experienced increased productivity and creativity.
While the energetic benefits of meditation unfold over time, the other techniques yield a pretty immediate benefit, without having to suck down a barrel-full of stimulants that almost always lead to a inevitable rebound crash. So next time you’re feeling a bit low on energy, give one of our Top 5 a try and energy-up without the negative side-effects of a substance-driven boost.
Featured photo credit: Zac Durant via unsplash.com