Boost my energy levels
9 tips to boost your energy — naturally
Go to the store, and you'll see a multitude of vitamins, herbs, and other supplements touted as energy boosters. Some are even added to soft drinks and other foods. But there's little or no scientific evidence that energy boosters like ginseng, guarana, and chromium picolinate actually work. Thankfully, there are things you can do to enhance your own natural energy levels. Here are nine tips:
1. Control stress
Stress-induced emotions consume huge amounts of energy. Talking with a friend or relative, joining a support group, or seeing a psychotherapist can all help diffuse stress. Relaxation therapies like meditation, self-hypnosis, yoga, and tai chi are also effective tools for reducing stress.
2. Lighten your load
One of the main reasons for fatigue is overwork. Overwork can include professional, family, and social obligations. Try to streamline your list of "must-do" activities. Set your priorities in terms of the most important tasks. Pare down those that are less important. Consider asking for extra help at work, if necessary.
Exercise almost guarantees that you'll sleep more soundly. It also gives your cells more energy to burn and circulates oxygen. And exercising can lead to higher brain dopamine levels, which helps elevate mood. When walking, pick up the pace periodically to get extra health benefits.
4. Avoid smoking
You know smoking threatens your health. But you may not know that smoking actually siphons off your energy by causing insomnia. The nicotine in tobacco is a stimulant, so it speeds the heart rate, raises blood pressure, and stimulates brain-wave activity associated with wakefulness, making it harder to fall asleep. And once you do fall asleep, its addictive power can kick in and awaken you with cravings.
5. Restrict your sleep
If you think you may be sleep-deprived, try getting less sleep. This advice may sound odd but determining how much sleep you actually need can reduce the time you spend in bed not sleeping. This process makes it easier to fall asleep and promotes more restful sleep in the long run. Here's how to do it:
- Avoid napping during the day.
- The first night, go to bed later than normal and get just four hours of sleep.
- If you feel that you slept well during that four-hour period, add another 15–30 minutes of sleep the next night.
- As long as you're sleeping soundly the entire time you're in bed, slowly keep adding sleep on successive nights.
6. Eat for energy
Eating foods with a low glycemic index — whose sugars are absorbed slowly — may help you avoid the lag in energy that typically occurs after eating quickly absorbed sugars or refined starches. Foods with a low glycemic index include whole grains, high-fiber vegetables, nuts, and healthy oils such as olive oil. In general, high-carbohydrate foods have the highest glycemic indexes. Proteins and fats have glycemic indexes that are close to zero.
7. Use caffeine to your advantage
Caffeine does help increase alertness, so having a cup of coffee can help sharpen your mind. But to get the energizing effects of caffeine, you have to use it judiciously. It can cause insomnia, especially when consumed in large amounts or after 2 p.m.
8. Limit alcohol
One of the best hedges against the midafternoon slump is to avoid drinking alcohol at lunch. The sedative effect of alcohol is especially strong at midday. Similarly, avoid a five o'clock cocktail if you want to have energy in the evening. If you're going to drink, do so in moderation at a time when you don't mind having your energy wind down.
9. Drink water
What's the only nutrient that has been shown to enhance performance for all but the most demanding endurance activities? It's not some pricey sports drink. It's water. If your body is short of fluids, one of the first signs is a feeling of fatigue.
For more information on the many things you can do to increase your natural energy, order our Special Health Report, Boosting Your Energy.
Image: ©Gilaxia | GettyImages
Top 10 Ways to Boost Your Energy
Everyone is familiar with all-out energy drain -- that exhausted day (or night) when no matter how enticing that new movie, fabulous shoe sale, or friendly barbecue, we just can't psych ourselves up to go.
What can be harder to recognize is a low-grade energy drain. In this case, you may not necessarily feel the classic signs of exhaustion -- like achy muscles or that all-over tired feeling. What you do experience is an increasing lack of get-up-and-go for many of the activities you used to love.
"You may also find it harder to concentrate on tasks, and, eventually, you can also find your patience grows short and your level of frustration rises, even when confronted with seemingly simple challenges," says New York University nutritionist Samantha Heller, MS, RD.
If this is starting to sound familiar, take heart. Energy zappers are all around us, some obvious, some hidden. The good news: There is a way around almost all of them.
To this end, we asked health experts to help compile this list of the top 10 energy boosters. Try one, two, or all 10, and you're bound to see your energy levels soar.
1. Increase Your Magnesium Intake
Eating a balanced diet can help ensure your vitamin and mineral needs are met. But if you still find yourself too pooped to pop, you could have a slight magnesium deficiency, Heller says.
"This mineral is needed for more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body, including breaking down glucose into energy," Heller says. "So when levels are even a little low, energy can drop."
In a study done at the Department of Agriculture's Human Nutrition Research Center in Grand Forks, ND., women with magnesium deficiencies had higher heart rates and required more oxygen to do physical tasks than they did after their magnesium levels were restored. In essence, their bodies were working harder which, over time, says Heller, can leave you feeling depleted.
The recommended daily intake of magnesium is around 300 milligrams for women and 350 milligrams for men. To make sure you're getting enough, Heller suggests:
- Add a handful of almonds, hazelnuts, or cashews to your daily diet.
- Eat more whole grains, particularly bran cereal.
- Eat more fish, especially halibut.
2. Walk Around the Block
While it may seem as if moving about when you feel exhausted is the quickest route to feeling more exhausted, the opposite is true. Experts say that increasing physical activity -- particularly walking -- increases energy.
"I like walking because it's accessible, easy to do, doesn't need training or equipment, and you can do it anywhere," says Rita Redberg, MD, science adviser to the American Heart Association's "Choose To Move" program.
In experiments done by Robert Thayer, PhD, at California State University, a brisk 10-minute walk not only increased energy, but the effects lasted up to 2 hours. And when the daily 10-minute walks continued for 3 weeks, overall energy levels and mood were lifted.
3. Take a Power Nap
Research has shown that both information overload and pushing our brains too hard can zap energy. But studies by the National Institutes of Mental Health found that a 60-minute "power nap" can not only reverse the mind-numbing effects of information overload, it may also help us to better retain what we have learned.
4. Don't Skip Breakfast -- or Any Other Meal
"Studies show that folks who eat breakfast report being in a better mood, and have more energy throughout the day," says Heller.
Her personal theory, she says, is that breaking the fast soon after rising supplies your body with a jolt of fuel that sets the tone for the whole day.
And studies published in the journal Nutritional Health found that missing any meal during the day led to an overall greater feeling of fatigue by day's end.
5. Reduce Stress and Deal With Anger
One of the biggest energy zappers is stress, says psychologist Paul Baard, PhD.
"Stress is the result of anxiety, and anxiety uses up a whole lot of our energy," says Baard, a sports psychologist at Fordham University in the Bronx, NY.
Like worry or fear, Baard says, stress can leave you mentally and physically exhausted -- even if you've spent the day in bed. More commonly, he says, low but chronic levels of stress erode energy levels, so over time, you find yourself doing less and feeling it more.
In much the same way, unexpressed anger can give a one-two punch to your energy level. The reason: "We're expending all our energy trying to contain our angry feelings, and that can be exhausting," Baard tells WebMD.
The good news, says Baard, is that we can counter these energy killers by programming more relaxation activities into our day. While for many folks, increasing exercise burns off the chemical effects of stress and anger, others find relief in quiet pursuits: listening to music, reading a steamy romance novel, or even just talking on the phone.
"Whatever is relaxing for you will reduce tension, and that will help increase energy," says Baard.
6. Drink More Water and Less Alcohol
You may already know that it's easy to confuse signals of hunger with thirst (we think we need food when we really need water). But did you know that thirst can also masquerade as fatigue?
"Sometimes, even slight dehydration can leave you feeling tired and lethargic," says nutritionist Keith Ayoob, EdD, RD, an associate professor at the Albert Einstein School of Medicine in New York and author of The Uncle Sam Diet.
The solution is simple: a tall, cool glass of water. This is particularly important to boost energy after exercise, when your body is likely to be craving fluids, Ayoob says. Conversely, Heller says, if you find yourself frequently fatigued even after a good night's sleep, try cutting down on alcohol during the evening hours.
'While alcohol initially helps you fall asleep, it also interferes with deep sleep, so you're not getting the rest you think you are -- even if you sleep a full 8 hours," she says.
By cutting down on alcohol before bedtime, you'll get a better night's rest, which is bound to result in more energy the next day.
7. Eat More Whole Grains and Less Sugar
The key here is keeping blood sugar balanced so energy is constant.
"When you're eating a sweet food, you get a spike in blood sugar, which gives you an initial burst of energy," Heller says. "But that's followed by a rapid drop in blood sugar, which in turn can leave you feeling very wiped out."
Do that enough times a day, she says, and by evening you're feeling exhausted.
"But, if you eat a lot of whole grains, which provide a slow and steady release of fuel, your energy will be consistent and balanced, so by day's end you'll feel less tired," says Heller.
Indeed, a study published recently in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that eating more whole grains helped increase the body's sensitivity to insulin, allowing for that slow and steady release.
8. Have a Power Snack
Power snacking is more than just eating between meals, Ayoob says. He suggests a treat that combines protein, a little fat, and some fiber -- like peanut butter on a whole-wheat cracker, or some yogurt with a handful of nuts.
"The carbs offer a quick pick-me-up, the protein keeps your energy up, and the fat makes the energy last," he tells WebMD.
9. Make It a Latte
Pair a quick caffeine hit with the sustaining power of protein by having a low-fat latte instead of just a cup of coffee, advises Ayoob.
"All that milk turns your java into a protein drink, which provides not only extra energy, but extra calcium, which is good for your bones," he tells WebMD. Combine it with an ounce of almonds, he says, and the healthy fat will really tide you over -- while making you feel you're spoiling yourself silly!
10. Check Your Thyroid Function and Complete Blood Cell Count
It certainly won't provide an instant boost. But if you're constantly low on energy -- especially if you feel sluggish even after a good night's rest -- Heller says you should talk to your doctor about a blood test for thyroid dysfunction as well as anemia.
"Thyroid can be a particular problem for women -- it often develops after childbirth and frequently during the perimenopause -- but a simple blood test can verify if this is your problem," says Heller. If you're diagnosed with low thyroid function, medication can bring your body back up to speed.
In anemia, says Heller, a reduction in red blood cells can mean your body isn't getting the level of oxygen necessary to sustain energy. So, you tire easily.
"This can sometimes occur during a woman's reproductive years, particularly if she has a very heavy menstrual cycle," says Heller.
5 Proven Ways to Boost Energy and Performance
December 15 Productivity
You will be able to improve your concentration, feel more alert and get more done.
Author of Lifehacker, athlete, CCM
What to try
1. Breathing techniques
For any work, and especially for mental work, you need concentration. If you can’t concentrate, you feel restless and overwhelmed, take a break for diaphragmatic breathing. nine0003
With this type of breathing, the diaphragm contracts, the abdomen expands, and inhalation and exhalation become deeper.
Diaphragmatic breathing calms the nervous system by reducing levels of the stress hormone cortisol, increases energy and self-confidence, and helps fight inflammation.
How to breathe correctly:
- Sit in a comfortable position, straighten your back, close your eyes. You can lie on your back, gently bend your knees to take the pressure off your lower back. nine0024
- Take a deep breath, filling not only the chest but also the stomach with air. To feel this, put your palm on it: if it rises as you inhale, you are breathing correctly.
- Exhale completely so that the stomach is drawn in. Don't pull it in on purpose.
- Set a timer and breathe this way for 5 to 15 minutes.
- While breathing, do not allow extraneous thoughts, focus on the process.
This is the basic diaphragmatic breathing that is used in almost all breathing practices. You can try different options:
- Delayed. Inhale for 4 seconds, hold your breath for 7 seconds and exhale for 8 seconds.
- Through different nostrils. Close the right nostril with the thumb and inhale deeply through the left, then close the left nostril with the finger and exhale through the right. After several breathing cycles, repeat the same thing in a different order: inhale through the right and exhale through the left.
- With expiratory extension. Always inhale for two counts, and lengthen the exhalation by one count each time: inhale by 2 - exhale by 2, inhale by 2 - exhale by 3, inhale by 2 - exhale by 4, inhale by 2 - exhale by 5. Then start over, do 2-3 cycles. nine0024
Try all the techniques and find out what works best for you. The main thing here is to concentrate on breathing, inhale and exhale deeply, using the stomach.
2. Adaptogenic herbs
Adaptogenic herbs contain substances that do not change the functioning of systems and organs, but help the body to function normally in difficult conditions. It is believed that these plants work as a molecular stress vaccine. They cause a little stress in the body, as a result of which the nervous system learns to better resist stress factors. nine0003
Here are a few proven herbs:
- Rhodiola rosea - increases energy and concentration, fights fatigue and burnout. Increases attention, speed and accuracy when working in stressful conditions.
- Eleutherococcus senticosus - reduces mental and physical fatigue, helps fight stress, improves concentration and memory.
- Schisandra chinensis - fights mental fatigue, weakness, increases the time of energetic work. nine0024
- Common ginseng - relieves fatigue, improves cognitive abilities - thinking and learning.
- Ashwagandha (Indian ginseng) — relieves stress, has a positive effect on the central nervous system, improves immunity.
- Basil - relieves stress and fatigue, improves memory, normalizes sleep.
You can use these herbs in tinctures or tablets as directed. Basil can be added to food as a spice or eaten fresh. nine0003
3. Facial massage
Sometimes, in an attempt to relax, you automatically rub your forehead or massage your temples. Such a reaction is not accidental. Facial massage helps relieve tension and anxiety, improve mood and get rid of fatigue. Moreover, it has not only a calming effect, but also a refreshing and stimulating effect.
You can have a facial massage even at the workplace, and you don't need a specialist for this. Just follow our guide.
4. Foods rich in iron
This advice is not suitable for everyone, but only for people with iron deficiency. But based on the fact that 30% of the entire population of the Earth suffers from this disorder, it will be useful to many people.
If you don't have enough iron in your diet, your body lacks hemoglobin, the iron-containing protein responsible for carrying oxygen. Symptoms of iron deficiency anemia include:
- pale skin; nine0024
- chest pain, rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath;
- headache or dizziness;
- cold extremities;
- brittle nails;
- inflammation of the tongue;
- restless leg syndrome.
Iron-deficiency anemia can develop with various diseases associated with blood loss, as well as with a lack of iron-rich foods in the diet.
According to the norms of Rospotrebnadzor, an adult man should consume at least 8-10 mg of iron per day, and a woman - 15-20 mg. nine0003
We mainly get iron from animal products: liver (9 mg per 100 g of product), turkey (4 mg per 100 g of product), chicken (3 mg per 100 g of product), beef (2.8 mg per 100 g of product), mackerel (2.3 mg per 100 g of product). In them, iron is in heme form and is well absorbed by the body.
Iron is also found in foods of plant origin, such as seaweed (16 mg per 100 g of product), buckwheat and rolled oats (7.8 mg per 100 g of product), peas (6.8 mg per 100 g of product), beans (5.9mg per 100 g of product), fresh mushrooms (5.2 mg per 100 g of product) peaches (4.1 mg per 100 g of product), pears, apples, plums, apricots (2.3-2.1 mg per 100 g of product product). However, in plant sources, it is in a non-heme form and is absorbed much worse. For example, the body can absorb only 2–3% of iron from beans, while 12–26% from the liver.
The content of phytates and polyphenols in legumes and grains, calcium, whey protein and casein in dairy products also interfere with the absorption of this trace element. nine0003
To compensate for iron deficiency, add more foods rich in iron and ascorbic acid to your diet. The latter eliminates the negative effect of phytates, polyphenols, calcium and milk protein on iron absorption. Therefore, even vegetarians may well cover the need for this trace element if they add more vitamin C to the diet (the norm for an adult is 50–70 mg per day).
5. Work for 90 minutes with a rest break
Human sleep is divided into 90 minute cycles. During this time, we have time to reach deep sleep, and then get into the recovery REM phase, during which dreams occur. The wavelike nature of sleep is explained by the change in brain waves - the electrical frequencies at which our brain works.
Scientists have noticed that there are cyclical 90-minute changes in activity during wakefulness. Florida State University professor Anders Eriksson and colleagues have studied the activities of elite athletes, musicians, actors, and chess players. It turned out that the sessions of the best specialists lasted no more than 1. 5 hours. They started in the morning, had three 90-minute sessions with breaks in between and rarely worked more than 4.5 hours a day. For the best results in any activity, Ericsson advises avoiding a longer practice so that you can fully recover from it the next day.
The professor himself tried this technique to write a book. Unlike the previous book, on which he worked 10 hours a day, for the new book, Ericsson allocated three 90-minute segments in the morning. Despite the fact that the book took much less time per day, he finished writing it in half the time than the last one. nine0003
If you don't have a free schedule and can't afford to work only 4.5 hours, try splitting your work into 90-minute intervals with 10-20 minutes of rest in between.
How to fit it all into your workday
Here's a specific plan of action:
- Assess if you have enough iron-rich foods in your diet. The consumption rate of this trace element for men is 8-10 mg per day, for women - 15-20 mg per day. If iron is not enough, add more foods rich in this trace element: beef and chicken liver, beef, turkey. Check if you have enough vitamin C in your diet (50-70 mg per day). It helps absorb iron from foods and is especially needed for vegetarians. nine0024
- Try adaptogenic herbs: Rhodiola rosea, Eleutherococcus senticosus, common ginseng, magnolia vine, ashwagandha, basil. Take tinctures or tablets as directed.
- Divide your work day into 90-minute work intervals with 10-20 minutes of rest in between. If possible, do not do one thing for more than 4.5 hours a day.
- Between work, practice diaphragmatic breathing (5-10 minutes), try different techniques and see what works for you. nine0024
- Notice the facial muscles. If you feel they are tight, massage.
Read also 🧐
- 4 ways to use energy wisely and not stop halfway
- How to use micro breaks during work to become more productive
- 9 tips for staying productive during depression
- How external factors interfere with productivity and how to deal with them
Energy and aura: how to create positive energy around you and be happy
Aura, internal energy and strength awareness — these questions have been worrying mankind since time immemorial. Our challenging 2020 is no exception. Being alone at home, I managed to rethink and appreciate a lot. We meditated , danced , did yoga and listened to what was silent inside us for a long time. In the new year, don't even think about stopping. So that you can outline your individual action plan for achieving zen, we learned everything about how to pump energy from a mindfulness trainer Anya Zvizhinskaya.
Do you think being determines consciousness or vice versa?
Of course, our inner state is influenced in a certain way by what surrounds us. As a rule, the less things around, the calmer our mind. Scientists have proven that our unhealthy relationship with gadgets negatively affects consciousness and even provokes mental disorders. That is why we need to carefully monitor what surrounds us and fills life. Even now, answering you, I burn palo santo, and these magical aromas soothe, energize and change my state. nine0003
The inner state is extremely important - it is reflected in the outside world. And the external component, in turn, can support and preserve what is inside us. And if we take into account the environment, then its influence is all the more difficult to overestimate. While one person brings peace to the soul, another person can lower our vibrations. But, thank God, we can choose who and what will surround us, thereby changing the world around and our life in it.
What can get in the way of inner harmony? Is it possible to create positive energy around you without paying attention to the world around you?
Anything can interfere - if there is no sincere desire, then there will always be hundreds and thousands of excuses. But, as a rule, if a person decides to develop in something - no matter what it is, mindfullness, yoga, cooking or singing - nothing can stop him on the way. Of course, you can achieve inner harmony without paying attention to the outside world. Let me give you a real example: I have been doing yoga intensively for three years. Just imagine - every time at five in the morning, when many people just go to bed after a party, I have to get up and go to class. In this, the outside world does not help in any way and even a little annoying, but I know why I need to do this - as a result, I systematically move towards my goal day by day. And so it is in everything: if your cause resonates, then no obstacles of this world will stop you. Today there are such people-diamonds who, in the age of a frantic flow of information, trends and various trends, in spite of everything, follow their own unique path, which may not be the most popular, and successfully develop. Try to be that person too. nine0003
What is an aura? Is it good and bad, and can it be changed?
I would not divide anything in this world into black and white. Even the lowest states and difficult emotions are vital for us. For example, not so long ago, for several months, I did a practice during which I had to note only pleasant things. In the second month or even earlier, I noticed how bored I became - I sincerely wanted to notice and feel something unpleasant. nine0003
As for the aura, it is a kind of halo around each person, it is different for everyone. Someone has a light aura - you just have to see its owner, as you are immediately blown away by his inner energy, meetings with Indian masters are so often described. But one way or another, we are all born with our own “basic level”, which can be increased and developed just with the help of practices. All mantras, meditations, breathing techniques and asanas affect our degree of awareness and the quality of energy. Thus, the aura can always be cleansed, strengthened and opened up. nine0003
How to influence your inner energy?
You can improve your vibrations by starting to listen to yourself. Create a little habit for yourself in the morning: every day when you wake up, light a candle, say a prayer or a mantra, be quiet, feel your body and breath, and tune in to the day.
Another of my favorite practices is Trust in the Universe. Try to write out in a free flow in your own words what you are grateful for the world, and mentally communicate with the Universe at a deep level. nine0003
It also makes sense to keep a thank-you note, a fairly popular technique that I spontaneously came up with a few years ago. I had a very difficult day, in which little was achieved, and I was so sad that in the evening I decided to “get” myself out of this state. I started writing down what was good about this day: a lot of micro-things accumulated, like smiles from passers-by, delicious coffee, a call to my parents, and good weather. And then I realized that this day was filled with so many pleasant things that failures began to seem like something completely insignificant. And every time you make gratitude a habit, you become happier and more aware. In addition, it helps to begin to appreciate what you already have: I have seen how people in India, living under palm leaves, literally glow with happiness, and we, sitting in our own apartments, continue to be eternally dissatisfied. Is it right? nine0003
And in the most difficult times, spiritual literature always helps - you just need to open the Bhagavad Gita, and it will immediately inspire and raise your energy and mood to a new level
What work on your mental state should be done first?
Everything starts from within: our balance with the surrounding space comes from the internal state. Remember that energy is primary and matter is secondary. Where we direct our attention is where our energy goes – so it’s up to you to decide whether it’s worth wasting time on negative news, reading dozens of Telegram channels and scrolling through social media feeds. nine0003
To understand your inner state, just observe yourself. Try to write down your thoughts on paper, unloading your head - it can be either freewriting or keeping a diary familiar to us since childhood. Through these writing practices, you will be able to notice repetitive scenarios and work on the mistakes. The fact is that by unloading thoughts on paper, we understand what needs to be worked on, directing our attention to the area of life where you have clarified the problem for yourself. nine0003
Many people keep talking about the benefits of meditation. And what does she give you personally?
Indeed, meditation is becoming a popular phenomenon - and this is a great trend. Personally, it gives me the best contact with myself, my intuition, my heart. With the help of meditation, I trust space more, turn on the moment faster, feel the interlocutor better. The book Altered Traits has a wonderful chapter, Trained to Love. I really like this name: indeed, by practicing meditation, you become more attentive and loving, bringing yourself into a state of all-encompassing love. nine0003
I really like the practice of Shikantaza. It has a very simple instruction - you just need to sit. In a moment of complete inactivity, you see the flow of what happens without your influence: thoughts think themselves, the sun shines by itself, cars drive by themselves. Then you understand that you are the same unit of the Universe as any creature on Earth.