When we are young we have too much of it, when we are older we can’t get enough of it. What really is “energy” and how can we create energy in our own lives? Do we have to keep waiting for energy-filled days or are there proactive steps we can take to create more energy? The good news is that there are proactive steps to create more energy. The even better news is that I am going to share a few!
One common mistake people make is thinking that the only way to get more energy is to create healthy lifestyle changes that revolve around food and fitness. While food and fitness do dramatically influence energy–they are far from the only energy factors. Here are the four energy factors I explore in my High Energy Living Course.
Types of Energy:
- Physical energy:influenced by our daily lifestyle habits, food intake and fitness levels
- Emotional Energy: influenced by our thoughts and attitude
- Productive Energy: influenced by our actions and mindset
- Spiritual Energy: influenced by our connections and self-care
Have you ever been really tired and then pushed yourself to go do something anyway? Perhaps it was a dinner with a friend or attending a talk or lecture? Somewhere inside that period, the tiredness disappears and is replaced by what we often call “a second wind.” That “second wind” is energy that you are producing. It isn’t something you have to wait for, you can produce that energy at any time once you understand the steps that created it in the first place.
Discovering emotional energy: This energy is derived from information or events that spark emotion and passion. We receive new information, or hear old information in a new way. Or perhaps we are around someone who emulates energy, and their passion excites the energy within us.
Caution: Remember that energy fluctuates, so as easily as you can build it – you can also destroy it. There is no quicker way to become tired than spending time around negative people or listening to negative news. All stimulus influences our energy one way or the other. Watch for stimulus that are influencing your energy levels negatively. Example: Watching a round of Headline News will catch you up on the day’s Headlines. But does watching additional programming help or hinder? What about reading? Are your choices uplifting and inspiring more energy or are they energy sappers?
Put it into Practice: To use Emotional Energy in your everyday life, you need to discover what produces this energy for you personally. Create a page in your notebook for listing your energy-producers. Here are a few that are on my list:
1. Read positive feedback or notes I have received from readers.
2. Have coffee, dinner or lunch with someone who I find inspiring.
3. Read a book that I find inspiring or motivational–something that really “speaks” to me.
4. Make sure I start my day off with positive emotional energy through my Good Morning routine
5. Ask myself each morning, “Who do I want to be today?” and then remain personally accountable for being the best “me” possible.
Of course we can’t “talk” about energy without including the physical element. However, if you are overwhelmed by the thought of a new health plan, keep reading. Little changes can make a big difference in your energy production. Many of us are aware of the “big steps” we should take, so I have tried to focus on little changes that make a big impact.
Sleep preparation:Make sure that you stop eating at least 3 hours prior to going to sleep to allow everything to digest. Avoid caffeinated beverages after dinner. Make your room “sleep friendly” by turning off the television and playing relaxing music.
The affects of food: Since food is our primary energy source, it makes sense that good food will produce good energy and poor choices will effect us negatively. Reduce refined sugar in your diet as much as possible. Avoid meals that are high in carbs during the second half of the day and focus instead on protein. Protein provides more stable energy than carbs which keep our body going like a roller coaster!
Reduce starches and breads: Bread, rolls, bagels, pasta — starches often slow people down. Try going a week or two with minimal starches and see if this helps your energy level. You can conduct the same experiment with caffeine.
Pop those vitamins: At minimum take a good daily vitamin. While you may not see a huge change, over long term usage, this can help prevent many of the conditions that sap energy. The key here is consistency. Choose something you do daily and put your vitamins and a bottled water next to that item. Examples: next to car keys, toothbrush, coffee maker, computer.
Food patterns: Consider keeping a food journal to see how your energy fluctuates with your food consumption. Make adjustments to your food intake based on your discoveries. Remember that eating too little can be just as energy sapping as eating the wrong foods. Work on a balanced diet and don’t forget your breakfast! Studies have shown that those who eat breakfast have more energy. If you have a hard time eating breakfast, find a simple solution. I often grab a breakfast bar on the go. A lean sandwich can also be made the night before and enjoyed in the morning. You don’t have to eat “breakfast foods,” but you do need to eat breakfast. (Make Today Mater Members: Check out the Mini on Keeping A Food Diary, and That Meal in the Morning for further support.)
Exercise: You knew I would say it sooner or later! Getting your body moving is one of the quickest ways to increase energy. I love using my elliptical trainer and find that after I do so, I have extra energy to burn. Give any exercise program about 3 weeks to start giving you energy – the first three weeks can be tiring as we snap our bodies out of their comas! A recent Prevention article shared how doing just 10 minutes of LIGHT weight lifting repetitions caused a focus group to feel a 45% increase in their energy level. Pick up some light weights (5-10 pounds) at your local discount-mart and use them by your television at night. (Make Today Matter Members: Check out mini #30 Let’s Get Movin’ for support.)
Put it into Practice: It is important to recognize that energy isn’t a “one size fits all” formula. I encourage you to experiment with each concept, paying attention to how it impacts your energy level. Choose one area to start with from the above list and schedule a “start date” on your calendar this coming week.
Your Weekly Challenge:
Today begin keeping a small notebook as an energy log. Write down steps you can take over the week to improve both your emotional and physical energy. Then watch for next week’s newsletter for part two in this series where we explore Productive Energy and Spiritual Energy.
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