We all share similar stressors of modern life: financial worries; time deficits; not enough energy to get done all we have to do in a day; not enough energy to achieve our dreams. Here are a dozen easy ways to give yourself an energy boost. Without any special equipment. Without any special training. And – just as importantly – without any of those “energy drinks” or “energy supplements.” Do it naturally. Follow these 12 Natural Ways to Boost Your Energy Level, and recharge your brain, starting RIGHT NOW!
For normal physiological processes to occur – for your enzymes to function, to burn calories and generate ATP (cellular energy source) – you must be adequately hydrated.
How to know whether you are “adequately hydrated”? In a temperate climate such as most of the continental US, a well-hydrated average adult will produce about 2 liters of urine per day. As a general rule, if you develop a full bladder every three to five hours, and your urine is lightly colored, you are probably adequately hydrated.
Note that there is no scientific evidence that alkaline water or acidic water, or any other types of water offer better health benefits.
However, there is plenty of scientific evidence that water in plastic bottles contains neuro-toxins, teratogens, and carcinogens. In other words, water kept in plastic bottles can poison your brain, cause fetal malformations, and cancer. So filter your tap water; carry your water in stainless or glass; and never drink water in a plastic bottle that has been sitting in a hot car.
Take a daily multi-vitamin. NOT any of those “energy supplements,” or “energy drinks!” Those will leave you to crash after the brief boost. Instead, be sure to eat a nutritious diet, and supplement that diet with a daily multi-vitamin (to make up for the vitamins & minerals that are missing in our “modern” diet). All of your biochemical pathways that produce energy in your body require vitamins and minerals as co-factors. They are essential. Be certain to take sufficient B-vitamins as well as vitamin-D. Even those who live in the sun-belt are often deficient in vitamin-D. After all, the majority of us spend most of our days indoors. So supplement with some vitamin-sunshine to boost your energy levels. The result will also be a boost in your metabolism. That’s right, you’ll burn more fat :))
In addition to obtaining high-quality sleep at night (“good” sleep), you must get a sufficient quantity to be healthy. You must get enough sleep. One way to do that is to take a short power-nap to recharge your brain. Be certain to nap no later than 3 pm, or risk interfering with your sleep that night. And keep it short: no longer than 20-30 minutes. In addition to boosting your overall energy level, power-napping has many other benefits – including living longer!
Exercise! Run. Walk. Climb stairs. Skate. Swim. Lift. Whatever! It’s all good for your brain, your body, and your energy levels. Even a 20-minute walk will boost your energy levels. And the effect lasts. There is solid evidence that exercise makes you smarter, too! Don’t know about you, but I can always use some more smarts.
The stresses of modern life cause anxiety, heightened activity of your sympathetic nervous system. You activate your limbic “fight-or-flight” response, you awaken your lizard brain. And when this happens your breathing becomes shallow. It happens without you being aware, but it happens.
First, be aware that your limbic system (amygdala and brainstem) – your lizard brain – is becoming anxious. Be mindful … try to recognize when the lizard becomes threatened. That’s your first step to control.
Next, simply tell your self, “I’m alright, right now.” That is, whatever has your lizard-brain riled up is probably not life-threatening. So remind yourself that you’re alright right now.
In addition to the potential for depression (itself energy-robbing(), another unfortunate result of your lizard-brain’s anxiety is “hypo-ventilation:” you take shallow breaths. You don’t provide your cells with sufficient oxygen to produce energy.
The solution is to focus on your breathing. Take long, slow, deep breaths. Don’t hyper-ventilate. Simply take some slow deep breaths. In addition to feeling more alert, you will note a calming effect.
(6) Ohhhm …
Speaking of being focused and calm, consider meditating. Take a break away from your desk, and extend your deep-breathing practice into meditation. The benefits include heightened awareness, lowered stress (we can actually measure this by things like reduced blood cortisol levels, heart rate, blood pressure), and an overall energy boost. It requires no special equipment, and only minutes each day, to boost your energy levels.
Crank some up-lifting tunes. Something that gets you bouncing just a little. Not rocking and playing the air-guitar – that’s just too distracting for you to be productive. But something that makes your body move will get you recharged. The right music will provide you with primordial energy.
(8) Get Up. While You’re at it, Get OUT!
Sitting all day robs us of years from our lifespan, according to new research. Simply stand up. Even better, get yourself one of those standing desks. That’s what I use. Makes it easier to move to those good tunes. Makes it less likely that you’ll drift into that after-lunch coma.
While you’re up, go outside. Many research studies show that being outside, in the green, surrounded by nature, recharges us. It also lowers our stress markers. Unlike another caffeinated beverage, going outside will wake you up, but reduce your stress instead of increasing it. So, if you need an energy boost without increasing your anxiety … get up … get out!
Cut. It. Out! Eliminate processed sugars completely, especially high-fructose corn syrup!! Replace snacks that contain processed sugars with natural sugar snacks like fruit. Add proteins and healthy fats from things like nuts, and you’ve got yourself a long-lasting energy source that will maintain your blood glucose in a healthy zone: you won’t experience that sugar high followed by a crash. Your energy level will be sustained.
Okay, I admit: this one is cheating, because many consider yoga to be “moving meditation.” I agree. Yoga is a beautiful blend of exercise and meditation. And – as a combination of both – yoga provides the benefits of both: heightened awareness, reduced effects of stress, and an energy boost! Do it. You’ll be glad.
Include coffee here, too. Both contain caffeine. Caffeine has taken a bad rap over the years. Used cautiously, caffeine can be your friend: According to clinical trials, caffeine will improve your alertness, your reaction time, your cognition and memory. But remember: everything in moderation; and no caffeine after noon. I get most of mine from green tea. That way, I benefit from the caffeine boost, but the caffeine in tea is tempered by the Theanine.
Theanine – a naturally-occurring amino acid not found in coffee – has some very nice effects on your brain: Theanine stimulates alpha waves. Alpha waves are produced by the brain in an awake, meditative state. The combination of theanine with caffeine provides a state of alertness without the jitters. Alert, yet chill: how cool is that?!
(12) Brain Foods
Avoid processed foods, for so many reasons. Focus your diet, including your snacks, on the Brain Foods.
Add a little dark chocolate to your list, too. It will give you a nice boost, from both the little bit of caffeine it contains, as well as the theobromine, another mild stimulant, to boost your energy levels. And it doesn’t taste too horrible, either 🙂
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