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15 Things You Can Do To Sustain Energy All Day

15 Things You Can Do To Sustain Energy All Day

How familiar does this sound to you?

You wake up in the early morning, tired. You scramble to the kitchen for your first coffee hit, get on the train to work with a spring in your step, get to work feeling relatively energetic, but by mid-morning you feel your energy is declining so you reach for coffee number two. It keeps you going for a short while and before you know it lunch comes around. You’re hungry, so lunch comes at the perfect time, but after lunch you experience the mid-afternoon lull and your eyes spend most of your remaining work hours staring at the clock hoping that 5:30 p.m. will swing by so you can get home and rest.

Home is comforting and the kids are so excited to see you, but you plant yourself on the sofa citing a stressful day for your lack of desire to engage with them. Dinner’s done, the kids are in bed and by now you’ve cemented your butt so deep in the sofa that getting up for a glass of water seems as likely as you winning the lotto. Off to bed you go and even your partner’s bedroom eyes aren’t enough to keep you from crashing out within five minutes.

The next day, 6 a.m. rolls around, the alarm sounds its horn and, yes, you guessed it: Groundhog Day!

Not exactly the life you craved, but one that millions of us are unfortunately experiencing, day in, day out. We crave energy like a breath underwater and find any form of pick-me-up we can get our hands on to keep us conscious as the day goes on.

What we don’t tend to realize is that the more reliant we are on external sources of energy, the more harm we are doing to our bodies, and what is really happening is that we are ignoring our bodies’ signals to slow down.

But what if you could change all of that? Do you not think that by sustaining a constant level of energy you would improve your mood, your productivity, your relationships, and your sleep, amongst other areas of your life? It really is a no-brainer: life would be way more fulfilling. How is it possible? Below you’ll find a list of the 15 most effective ways you can sustain energy all day long.

1. Do what you love

Quite simply put, the further you steer away from the things you love, the less likely you are to enjoy doing what you are doing, and we all know that doing something you dislike can be exhausting. Avoid tasks that you haven’t the slightest interest in performing if you want to keep your energy up.

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How can you bring back the love? Dig deep into the areas of your life that you are unsure about right now and ask yourself how they align with the person you are. If they do align, let go and allow yourself to fall in love with them.

2. Be grateful for the craziness

We all experience some kind of crazy during the day, and at that point you think you’ll find calm you know as well as I do that something else will crop up to throw your plans out the window.

Be grateful for the craziness by reminding yourself that there is only so much that you have control over and that there isn’t such a rush to get everything done at once. Learn to take it in your stride.

3. Pump up your playlist

Ooh, this one is great! Feel-good music at the time you are feeling low is highly recommended. Fix up a playlist of your most favorite tunes and be sure that when you are feeling low, you step away from what you are doing, plug your earphones in, and hit that play button.

Feel-good music will activate the pleasure center in the brain, which will send surges of exhilaration through the body. Just the substitute for the third cup of coffee, don’t you think?

4. Connect with your best buddies

We are social creatures, always wanting to feel loved and connected to others. Being in contact with your buddies is a great way to do that. Think of how many times you have picked up the phone or sent a text and the other person’s response has put a smile on your face.

Take a moment out of your day to give someone close to you a call and take your mind of the day’s challenges.

5. Make someone’s day

Doing good for others is probably the most energizing thing you can do. It makes you feel good, gives you a sense of achievement, and will make your day. It releases happy hormones in the brain, which go some way to energizing you. More on this later.

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Take time to physically help someone you know is struggling, and make sure you do not leave until you have given your all to help them out.

6. Be grateful

Gratitude is the gateway to your heart. When you are able to give thanks and show gratitude, you will open up your heart and mind to be inspired and uncover your own genius. Be grateful for all that has happened in your life because it is all one big lesson.

How can you show gratitude during the day? Take a moment each time you are feeling stressed or de-energized to remember all the good things that are happening in your life right now and literally say thank you for each and every one. Be grateful to yourself and the people you reflect through and you will find more love and energy will flow through you.

7. Eliminate a stressor

We experience stress in many different areas of our life. Imagine a jar full to the brim with all your stress and now think about what would happen if you were to add more stress to the jar. You’d experience an overflow, or in real life terms, a breakdown. Before you get to that point, it would be wise to attack a stress head on before it starts to take over your life.

How to eliminate a stressor? Forget all the minor distractions and tackle a big task you have immediately before it takes up valuable brain power and becomes a stress.

8. Boost your oxytocin

Oxytocin is known as the love hormone and is released in the body when connection is made and good is done for others. It’ll make you feel good and also crave for more, so quite like point five above, it would serve you to help and serve others to the best of your ability.

Build a new connection today by being open to people and making an effort to engage with them.

9. Smile in the most testing of moments

You’ve heard the popular quote: “Smile and the world smiles with you.” Well, smiling releases the feel-good chemical in the brain to help you forget the moments that may be zapping your energy. Smile and remember that you can’t control everything. It’s contagious too, try it!

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Get people smiling and laughing and you’ll create a happier, more positive environment.

10. Take time out to breathe

The less energy you have, the more threatened the body feels to keep up with all that it’s faced with. The more threatened you feel the more shallow your breathing will become, which will affect the quality of your respiratory function. I suggest you take time out of your day to slow down and control your breathing, rather than letting it control you.

Try to close your eyes and start breathing through your belly rather than your chest to help reset your correct breathing patterns.

11. Take out the trash

You know the moments when your mind is congested with a load of thoughts and you find yourself not focusing? Well, have you ever thought about taking out the trash? That is, quite literally, eliminating all the garbage thoughts that are holding you back from doing exactly what you had set out to do. Get rid of them!

Thoughts come and go, so don’t be afraid of ones that keep reappearing, just find a way to let them go as quickly as they entered your mind so that you can regain focus.

12. Stay hydrated

Studies may vary slightly on how much of the body is made up of water but be sure it isn’t less than 70%. With that knowledge it’s advisable to keep hydrated throughout the day. Your cells need water to function, and once hydrated will keep the organs and then the systems of your body intact too.

For the best results try drinking one liter of water per 50 pounds of bodyweight.

13. Get a good night’s sleep

Most of us underestimate the importance sleep plays to our energy levels and getting less than eight hours a night can be very damaging to long-term health. During your sleep you will get physical and mental repair, so ensure you get more sleep to keep yourself from snoozing at your desk.

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Getting to bed as early as 10 p.m. is advised to ensure that your body is able to repair both mentally and physically.

14. Count your successes

Each time you reward yourself for a success, your brain releases the neurotransmitter known as dopamine, which stimulates happiness and which recent research suggests regulates motivation. So don’t be afraid of giving yourself a pat on the back every time you tick a task off your to-do list.

Point to note: Stick to achievable tasks on your to-do list so that you get the chance to release dopamine.

15. Move, move, move

We are creatures of movement, and if you hadn’t noticed, the sedentary lifestyles lived by many are causing great harm to our health. In primal times we were on the go all day, only sitting down for our evening meals after a long, arduous hunt to catch our goodies for the evening. It is not uncommon for us now to be seated for up to 90% of our day, which is causing havoc with our hormones, health and happiness, and our energy.

Starting tomorrow, make an effort to move more by setting your alarm to sound every hour to remind you to get up, walk around and mobilize your body. Soon enough it’ll become a habit you won’t want to get rid of.

Find a way to make use of these points to sustain energy through out your day. Before long you will be bouncing around like an Easter Bunny all day long.

Featured photo credit: 15 things you can do to sustain energy all day via photopin.com

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Last Updated on July 17, 2019

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

What happens in our heads when we set goals?

Apparently a lot more than you’d think.

Goal setting isn’t quite so simple as deciding on the things you’d like to accomplish and working towards them.

According to the research of psychologists, neurologists, and other scientists, setting a goal invests ourselves into the target as if we’d already accomplished it. That is, by setting something as a goal, however small or large, however near or far in the future, a part of our brain believes that desired outcome is an essential part of who we are – setting up the conditions that drive us to work towards the goals to fulfill the brain’s self-image.

Apparently, the brain cannot distinguish between things we want and things we have. Neurologically, then, our brains treat the failure to achieve our goal the same way as it treats the loss of a valued possession. And up until the moment, the goal is achieved, we have failed to achieve it, setting up a constant tension that the brain seeks to resolve.

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Ideally, this tension is resolved by driving us towards accomplishment. In many cases, though, the brain simply responds to the loss, causing us to feel fear, anxiety, even anguish, depending on the value of the as-yet-unattained goal.

Love, Loss, Dopamine, and Our Dreams

The brains functions are carried out by a stew of chemicals called neurotransmitters. You’ve probably heard of serotonin, which plays a key role in our emotional life – most of the effective anti-depressant medications on the market are serotonin reuptake inhibitors, meaning they regulate serotonin levels in the brain leading to more stable moods.

Somewhat less well-known is another neurotransmitter, dopamine. Among other things, dopamine acts as a motivator, creating a sensation of pleasure when the brain is stimulated by achievement. Dopamine is also involved in maintaining attention – some forms of ADHD are linked to irregular responses to dopamine.[1]

So dopamine plays a key role in keeping us focused on our goals and motivating us to attain them, rewarding our attention and achievement by elevating our mood. That is, we feel good when we work towards our goals.

Dopamine is related to wanting – to desire. The attainment of the object of our desire releases dopamine into our brains and we feel good. Conversely, the frustration of our desires starves us of dopamine, causing anxiety and fear.

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One of the greatest desires is romantic love – the long-lasting, “till death do us part” kind. It’s no surprise, then, that romantic love is sustained, at least in part, through the constant flow of dopamine released in the presence – real or imagined – of our true love. Loss of romantic love cuts off that supply of dopamine, which is why it feels like you’re dying – your brain responds by triggering all sorts of anxiety-related responses.

Herein lies obsession, as we go to ever-increasing lengths in search of that dopamine reward. Stalking specialists warn against any kind of contact with a stalker, positive or negative, because any response at all triggers that reward mechanism. If you let the phone ring 50 times and finally pick up on the 51st ring to tell your stalker off, your stalker gets his or her reward, and learns that all s/he has to do is wait for the phone to ring 51 times.

Romantic love isn’t the only kind of desire that can create this kind of dopamine addiction, though – as Captain Ahab (from Moby Dick) knew well, any suitably important goal can become an obsession once the mind has established ownership.

The Neurology of Ownership

Ownership turns out to be about a lot more than just legal rights. When we own something, we invest a part of ourselves into it – it becomes an extension of ourselves.

In a famous experiment at Cornell University, researchers gave students school logo coffee mugs, and then offered to trade them chocolate bars for the mugs. Very few were willing to make the trade, no matter how much they professed to like chocolate. Big deal, right? Maybe they just really liked those mugs![2]

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But when they reversed the experiment, handing out chocolate and then offering to trade mugs for the candy, they found that now, few students were all that interested in the mugs. Apparently the key thing about the mugs or the chocolate wasn’t whether students valued whatever they had in their possession, but simply that they had it in their possession.

This phenomenon is called the “endowment effect”. In a nutshell, the endowment effect occurs when we take ownership of an object (or idea, or person); in becoming “ours” it becomes integrated with our sense of identity, making us reluctant to part with it (losing it is seen as a loss, which triggers that dopamine shut-off I discussed above).

Interestingly, researchers have found that the endowment effect doesn’t require actual ownership or even possession to come into play. In fact, it’s enough to have a reasonable expectation of future possession for us to start thinking of something as a part of us – as jilted lovers, gambling losers, and 7-year olds denied a toy at the store have all experienced.

The Upshot for Goal-Setters

So what does all this mean for would-be achievers?

On one hand, it’s a warning against setting unreasonable goals. The bigger the potential for positive growth a goal has, the more anxiety and stress your brain is going to create around it’s non-achievement.

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It also suggests that the common wisdom to limit your goals to a small number of reasonable, attainable objectives is good advice. The more goals you have, the more ends your brain thinks it “owns” and therefore the more grief and fear the absence of those ends is going to cause you.

On a more positive note, the fact that the brain rewards our attentiveness by releasing dopamine means that our brain is working with us to direct us to achievement. Paying attention to your goals feels good, encouraging us to spend more time doing it. This may be why outcome visualization — a favorite technique of self-help gurus involving imagining yourself having completed your objectives — has such a poor track record in clinical studies. It effectively tricks our brain into rewarding us for achieving our goals even though we haven’t done it yet!

But ultimately, our brain wants us to achieve our goals, so that it’s a sense of who we are that can be fulfilled. And that’s pretty good news!

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Featured photo credit: Alexa Williams via unsplash.com

Reference

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