How To Increase Your Energy Levels

What can you do when you feel like an extra from Night of the Living Dead?

Have a coffee or energy drink
Now, obviously this is a short-term solution (as evidenced by the next tip!), because caffeine gives you a boost that doesn’t last — but if you have things you need to do & you feel like the walking dead, drinking a cup of coffee or your favourite bizarrely-flavoured energy drink could give you just the boost you need to finish things off.

Give up caffeine!
If you don’t know already, caffeine is bad for you. It dehydrates you, places unnecessary stress on your heart, raises your blood sugar, gives you crappy skin, bad breath, & causes a dependency. How many people do you know who just can’t function without coffee in the morning? Trust me, this is not the natural way of things! Humans have the inbuilt ability to be supremely productive without the aid of caffeine — shocking but true! Remember that coffee isn’t the only source of caffeine. There are also significant amounts of it in Mountain Dew, tea, Pepsi, Coke & chocolate — so if you can decrease your intake of those things, you’ll wake up feeling much better in the morning as well as being more productive & healthy overall.

Drink lots of water
When I guzzle water like mad, it works wonders on my brain. Most people are severely dehydrated; that’s a fact. When you’re at Burning Man (a fabulous festival in the middle of the Nevada desert), it’s really important to drink a lot of water. Gallons a day. When you go there the first time, they tell you that if you should never feel thirsty. You should be drinking enough water that you feel hydrated at all times, & if you leave it long enough that you feel thirsty, then you need liquids immediately. I kind of think that people in day-to-day life should incorporate this thinking too. I can tell you that when I drink water all day, I feel amazing & have energy to rival… I don’t know, someone energetic! I don’t drink to the point where I feel bloated, but I keep a huge glass next to my computer & I refill it multiple times a day. I drink from the glass whenever I think about it. You should give it a try — it will really amaze you.

Try a supplement like MSM or maca powder
There are a lot of weird so-called superfoods & life-changing supplements, but I tend to take the marketing hype with a grain of salt. Some things are good for you, sure, but some things you could go without & not notice the difference. However, two things that I have found are pretty incredible are the supplements MSM & maca powder. I can’t spout off the health benefits of either but I do know that they both increase my energy & add to a general sense of vitality & well-being. You can read about MSM on Give It To Me Raw & maca here. My suggestion is that you give them a trial period & get your own data points.

Take bee pollen
Bee pollen is often referred to as “Nature’s Multivitamin” because it is so nutrient-rich. Popping a couple of capsules is an excellent way to boost your energy levels. In fact, someone wrote an eHow article on it: How To Use Bee Pollen To Increase Energy!

Eat more raw vegetables & fruit
Eating a piece of fruit is the healthiest way to get an energy boost. Fruit has a low glycemic index, unlike candy, meaning the sugar is released into your system slowly. When you eat processed sugars, you get a sudden peak in your blood sugar & then a massive crash, which just makes you feel bad. Make a habit of buying your favourite fruit, whatever it might be — passionfruit, guava, pomegranate — & snack on that instead of chocolate-covered strawberry caramels with a gooey centre & five layers of nougat. You’ll feel better!

Eye-mask!

Get a good night’s sleep
It’s very hard to operate if you haven’t had enough sleep. We need good, uninterrupted sleep in order for our bodies to repair themselves. If you suffer from insomnia, use EFT to banish it for good. One thing I have always found useful in terms of getting restful sleep is wearing an eye-mask to block out any light. I’m not sure why it works, it just does — every time. You can make sleeping into a glamorous affair, too, by having an assortment of eye-masks for every mood! (I have a blue silk one, a Hello Kitty one, a plain black one, etc.)

Improve your posture
Your physiological & psychological states are linked. If you sit all hunched over, you’ll feel more depressed & closed-off than you do when you sit up straight with your chin high! (Try it if you don’t believe me!) Make an effort to stand & sit with a straight back & you’ll feel the difference.

Allow the sunrise to wake you, rather than an alarm clock
This won’t work if you’re wearing an eye-mask, but it’s much nicer & more pleasant to wake up with the sun. A lot of us sleep with our curtains closed & doors shut. If you can avoid this (but still maintain your privacy), having the sun creep through the windows & reach up to tickle your eyelids is definitely the best way to start the day.

Eat breakfast
You know this already I’m sure, but if you need further convincing, eating breakfast is associated with positive attitudes towards work, improved memory, attention & concentration, as well as better endurance & thinking skills. My favourite breakfast is a delicious smoothie (usually with some kind of chocolate flavour, either by way of raw cacao or chocolate soy ice-cream — it makes it seem like more of a yummy delight than a boring breakfast), but as long as you’re eating something with a relatively low GI, you should be okay. So eat up!

Exercise more often
There are so many reasons to get a regular dose of exercise, & one of them is increased energy. Put simply, it makes your body work better. Exercise doesn’t have to be boring; for example, you can get your cardio from walking quickly around the city & window-shopping! Take a tango or flying trapeze class & then tell me exercise is dull!

Change your attitude
Work on your happiness from the inside out. From here:

“Another cause of low energy levels has to do with attitudes. For example, the adrenals are involved in the ‘fight-or-flight response’. Adrenal hormones cause physiological changes appropriate for either a fight or actively running away from an overwhelming stress. If, however, a person is in a state of paralysis, apathy, extreme fear or ‘give-up’, the adrenal glands do not respond and energy is not available. Sometimes the feeling of paralysis or fear is not easy to detect…”

Practise gratitude
Being thankful & happy makes you feel better about life & gives you the motivation to keep going. Start taking part in Things I Love Thursday & you will feel the change!

Get some sunlight
When I used to work traditional jobs, I was often stuck in the middle of an office floor or in a shop in a mall where I saw absolutely no natural light. All that fluorescent nonsense gets to you after a while. One of the best things you can do to boost your energy during the working day is to go outside & eat your lunch in the sun. Listen to some upbeat music on your MP3 player, do a bit of drawing or writing, eat your food & appreciate the day. It’ll make you feel so much better when it’s time to go back inside. (Beware: Don’t lie down in the grass because it’ll just make you drowsy!)

Do breathing exercises
There are some excellent ones here.

Spend time with good people
Here’s an extremely simple way to work out if your friends are “good people” or not: when you walk away from an interaction with them, on the whole do you feel better or worse than before you saw them? If you feel happy & radiant, congratulations! Your friends are awesome & you should continue associating with them. On the other hand, if you walk away from them you feel depressed, stressed or anxious, they’re probably not as good for you as they could be. Negative people are a huge drain on our personal energy & happiness levels, so if your friends are drama queens or love nothing more than a good angst-fest, you might be better off without them.

Spend time alone
You don’t need to lock yourself in a cabin in the woods (unless you want to!), but spending at least 15 minutes alone every day is really good for you. It allows you time to recharge your mental & emotional battery. Life can be so hectic that we rush from home to work & back & never really get any time to ourselves. When I was working in the city, my bus-ride into town was often the best part of my day, because it meant I could think things through & relax.

Jump up & down
If you have something that needs your immediate attention, like some kind of project or essay, one of the easiest & fastest ways to boost your energy levels is to sneak out of your cubicle, go somewhere that you won’t be disturbed & jump up & down rapidly! You might feel like a nut, especially if someone sees you, but a short bout of intense physical activity will pump up your mood & get your brain going!

What are your favourite ways to increase energy?

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