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Last Updated on January 18, 2021

15 Fast and Easy Ways to Boost Mental Energy Levels

15 Fast and Easy Ways to Boost Mental Energy Levels

The mind is one of the biggest contributors to energy levels. The benefits of having high levels of mental energy include happiness, confidence, focus, and increased willpower, motivation, and productivity, which is why it can be so important to learn how to boost energy when it’s low.

Additionally, the mind has a huge effect on one’s level of physical physical energy. Increased willpower and motivation often lead to healthier eating habits, less procrastination, and more.

The way we think has an astounding effect on the way others perceive us and how we perform. When you feel confident, you look confident, and you will also perform more effectively, increasing the likelihood of success in whatever you are doing as you increase your energy levels in the long-term.

This article covers 15 ways to boost mental energy levels.

1. Be Grateful

Remind yourself of the things you are grateful or thankful for in your life. Gratitude will make you think more positively and give you more mental energy.

If you’re not having fun at work, be grateful that you have work and are earning a salary. If you’re having challenges in any aspect of your life, understand that challenges make you stronger, and be grateful that you don’t have a boring life.

Being grateful reminds you of what’s important. For example, you might be upset about being stuck in traffic. Being grateful for your family will remind you of the traffic’s relative insignificance.

Action item: Write down 5 things you are grateful for in your life to boost energy.

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2. Practice Negative Visualization

Negative visualization originated in a philosophy called Stoicism. Stoics periodically contemplate, but they don’t worry about, “worst-case scenarios.”

Negative visualization is practiced to lessen the impact if these scenarios do come true[1]. In addition, it’s intended to reduce insatiability and force you to appreciate what you do have.

Most of us spend our idle time thinking about the things we want but don’t have. We would be much better off, Stoics believe, to spend this time thinking of all the things we have and reflecting on how much we would miss them if they were not ours.

3. Surround Yourself With Great People

Humans are naturally social, so building relationships makes us happy and gives us energy. Spend time with people who think positively and boost energy simply by being who they are. It will help you respond better to life when you’re around people who offer this kind of perspective.

Action items: Who in your life is overly negative? Should you be spending as much time with them as you do? What kinds of people would you like to spend more time with? Create a game plan for meeting or spending time with these people.

4. Think Positively

Thinking positive thoughts will make you feel more positive. Feeling more positive and optimistic will boost mental energy.

If you’re feeling sluggish or depressed, forcing yourself to think positively is a great way to start reversing negative momentum. Momentum has a profound effect on our energy levels, as energy builds on itself. If your mental energy levels are declining, it gets harder and harder to start improving them.

Focus on the positive in any situation. Take advantage of opportunities as they present themselves. Instead of thinking about what could go wrong, think about what could go right.

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5. Declutter Your Mind

Most people are very busy and have a lot on their mind, which can get in the way when you want to boost energy. We receive information at a faster pace than ever before. Declutter your mind by delegating, setting reminders, taking notes, and keeping a calendar.

To avoid making mistakes, and to declutter your mind, keep as much as you can outside of your brain. For example, if you set a meeting with someone, put it in your calendar so you no longer have to remember it. Keep a to-do list, as it will be enable you to be more present and conscious of what you’re doing in a given moment.

You can learn how to make an effective to-do list here.

6. Go Outside

Exposing your skin and eyes to sunlight will give you Vitamin D, which can boost energy.

In addition, our minds and bodies are used to being awake during the daytime, and we naturally have more energy during those hours. Getting exposure to sunlight reminds our body that it’s daytime and that we should have more energy[2].

Action item: if you’re feeling tired while at the work, take a short break outside in the sun.

7. Have Fun!

Don’t forget to allocate time to friends and family, hobbies, etc. These activities provide excitement and keep you motivated. It seems counterintuitive, but taking a break from work can actually help you get more work done. Having fun stimulates your brain in a way that boosts energy.

Action item: Set times out of your week for hobbies or activities you find fun.

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8. Stimulate Your Mind

Keep your mind stimulated but not overworked. Mental challenges will give you energy, but too much may leave you fatigued and overwhelmed. Without enough challenges, you may become bored and lethargic, so try learning a new skill to stimulate your mind.

Action item: Make sure to challenge yourself each day with a new experience or goal.

9. Meditate

Many people find meditation to be a great way to boost mental energy.  A basic definition of meditation is simply being conscious of mind and breath, and it has been shown to have a variety of health benefits that can help boost your energy levels.

While meditating, the goal is to not think about the future or past, but to be present. I think of meditation as a time to let my thoughts flow freely and to take notice of my emotions, thoughts, and body.

Action item: Look for a meditation class near you.

10. Try New Things

If you stick too close to the same routine, your brain can go into “auto-pilot.” As discussed above, mental stimulation is essential to boost energy.

Try breaking your routine, and learn something new. Go on a spontaneous adventure to give yourself a fresh perspective. Go into a bookstore and pick out a random book from a genre you don’t normally read.

Action item: Choose an activity that you do consistently and adjust it in some way.

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11. Practice Minimalism

Learn to say “no” and eliminate excess in your life. Throw away what you don’t need. When you have fewer items in your life, there is more space for things you want.

12. Focus on What You Can Control

Stoics believe in focusing on what’s within our control. Wanting or hoping for things that are not in our control will disrupt our tranquility, and worrying about or hoping for something that we don’t have an impact on can cause anxiety.

Action item: List what you’re currently worrying about or hoping for and differentiate what is in your control from what is not.

13. Do What You’re Passionate About

Taking part in activities, professionally and personally, that you’re passionate about leads to more happiness. Spending time on activities that you don’t enjoy can be exhausting.

Action item: What do you love doing? How can you arrange your career or lifestyle so you can do more of it to boost energy?

14. Take Responsibility for Your Emotions

Emotions have a strong effect on your energy levels. If you are feeling sad or embarrassed, you will have less energy. If you are feeling proud or confident, you will have more energy.

By taking responsibility for your emotions, you will become less dependent on external validation or circumstances to influence energy levels.

15. Be Present

Thinking negatively about the past or future can cause anxiety. Accept the situation you’re in and take the best action you can. Wishing you were in a different situation, or wishing you had done something differently in the past will only cause you stress.

The Bottom Line

Each of the actions above can be easily incorporated into your daily routine to improve your mental health. Identify what is causing you to lack energy, and apart from getting a good night’s sleep, exercising, and eating healthy, try some of the above to boost energy and reduce fatigue without that energy drink or extra cup of coffee.

More on How to Boost Energy

Featured photo credit: Jonathan Sebastiao via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Daily Stoic: The Stoic Art of Negative Visualization
[2] Environmental Health Perspectives: Benefits of Sunlight: A Bright Spot for Human Health

More by this author

Mike Fishbein

Mike is an enterpreneur and digital marketing leader.

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Last Updated on January 22, 2021

5 Simple Stretches to Boost Your Energy at Your Office Desk

5 Simple Stretches to Boost Your Energy at Your Office Desk

Everyone knows that sitting for long periods of time is bad for your body and your mind. Getting the blood flowing helps you stay fresh with creativity, boosts energy, and helps your body work more efficiently. Many of us don’t have the opportunity to get up and move around as often as we should, but simple stretches added in during the day can help.

Studies have found that prolonged sitting can lead to increased risk in obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, deep-vein thrombosis, and metabolic syndrome. Sitting is also known to increase pain by tightening the hip flexor and hamstring muscle, as well as stiffening the joints. This can cause problems with balance and gait in addition to the obvious discomfort.[1]

One study found that “greater total sedentary time” and “longer sedentary bout duration” were both associated with a higher risk of death. Basically, those who moved around less were more likely to die from any cause[2].

While many of us have busy schedules that limit the amount of time we can exercise each day, doing simple stretches throughout the day at your desk can be a great option to encourage movement, even if it’s just for a few minutes.

Here are 5 simple stretches you can do while sitting to improve your mind and body.

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1. Seated Twist

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    Sitting in your chair while keeping a long, tall spine, place your right hand on the outside of your left knee. Use that hand as leverage to twist to your left, and place your left hand as far to the right as possible to have something to hang onto while you twist. Now join it with your breath.

    Exhale as you move into your twist, and inhale as you ease off. Repeat on the other side. Repeat for each side 2-3 times.

    This simple stretch is great to offer a release for your back, neck, and shoulders. The twist will also help rinse out your internal organs, giving you a little boost of energy.

    2. Chest/Shoulder Opener

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      Sitting on the edge of your chair, clasp your hands behind your back, opening up your chest and shoulders. Inhale/exhale several times, noticing that when you inhale your stretch increases. Release and repeat 2-3 times.

      This stretch, while aimed at the chest muscles, can also alleviate some upper back pain, as we often feel pain in this area when our chest muscles are tight. This will also open up your lungs, allowing you to take some deep breaths, which can help reduce stress.

      3. Seated Pigeon

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        I call this one Seated Pigeon as it is a cousin to the yoga pose called Pigeon, which is performed lying on the floor. Clearly this isn’t an option at work. This Seated Pigeon version might not work if you are wearing a short skirt or dress unless you have an office to yourself!

        Sit on the edge of your chair and place your right ankle over your left knee. Be sure that your left foot is directly under your left knee and flat on the floor. Sit nice and tall, imagining a string is pulling the crown of your head up towards the ceiling.

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        This one is great for releasing your gluteus medius and minimus muscles, as well as your piriformis muscles. These are your hip abductors. These are usually what aches when you sit so much! Hold each stretch for about 30 seconds, and repeat on each side 2-3 times.

        This will offer a great release in the hips, as well as create stability in the knee joint. Both of these will help you avoid pain once you get up to leave work for the day.

        4. Hip Flexor Stretch

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          Sitting truly shortens and tightens your little hip flexor. This sits at the front in the crease of your hip. It runs through your pelvis to your back, so when it is tight, it often presents with an achy back.

          To lengthen this muscle while at your desk, sit at the edge of your chair, but shift to face to your left. Take your right leg and extend it behind you with as straight a knee as you can. Sit tall, and lift your sternum while trying to tuck your tailbone under, as this will deepen the stretch.

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          Repeat on the other side. Repeat for both sides 2-3 times.

          5. Hamstring Stretch

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            This is an easy one to do either just before you sit down or just after getting up. While standing, soften your right knee and extend your left leg in front of you with your heel on the floor. On your left leg, draw your toes upwards, keep your knee slightly bent so you don’t strain your ligaments behind your knee.

            You want to feel the stretch in the belly of the muscle (that is, your mid-thigh, at the back of your leg) rather than behind the knee. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and switch to the other side. Repeat each side 2-3 times.

            Stretching out your hamstring can help relieve knee and lower back pain. It can also help increase your balance and range of motion. If you like to spend your free time running or jogging, your hamstrings will be grateful you took a moment to stretch them out at work as these muscles are notorious for tightening up quickly.

            The Bottom Line

            It isn’t necessary to do all of the stretches all at once. Take a stretch break every 45 minutes or so and choose a couple of different stretches. Next time, choose a different set of simple stretches. Ultimately, your brain and body will thank you for it!

            More Stretches for Your Day

            Featured photo credit: Keren Levand via unsplash.com

            Reference

            [1] Harvard Health Publishing: The dangers of sitting
            [2] Annals of Internal Medicine: Patterns of Sedentary Behavior and Mortality in U.S. Middle-Aged and Older Adults

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