5 sources of energy make us feel our best (or worst), they are: food, sleep, breath, meditation, and exercise.
Being able to leverage these 5 sources effectively will greatly increase your energy levels and help you feel great all day.
Here are some great tips and resources:
1. FOOD (and water): Eat for energy.
“Eat [real] food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” -Michael Pollan
You can [and should] use this quote as a thought tool. Eating the right foods in the right quantities will make you feel energized after eating.
“Eat [real] food." The less machines have to mess with your food before it gets to you, the better. Watch out for boxes and bags, if it was made in a factory it's not the best for your body.
According to a recent study, refined foods cause “significant weight gain, motivational...and cognitive impairment.” Keep it real people! Examples of refined foods are candy and soda.
“Not too much” is often the hardest part for most of us, which makes sense because “just as eating too much can lead to fatigue, fatigue can lead to eating too much, creating a vicious cycle of weight gain and decreased energy.”
That’s right, you may be eating yourself into a low-energy state.
I like to apply the 80/20 rule: stop eating once you feel 80% full. The easiest way to follow this rule is to eat slowly and mindfully.
It works for two reasons:
1) It takes time for the brain to recognize how much food is in your stomach and
2) feeling 100% full is your body’s way of saying you overate. This helps you eat less and enjoy the dining experience more overall. It’s a win-win!
“Mostly plants.” This one is pretty simple. Although I would like to make the distinction that fresh, whole plant foods are best.
Also, iceberg lettuce and most “salad” ingredients are basically devoid of nutritional value, reach for darker greens. If it looks alive it will make you feel alive.
Water: you need it, and a lot of it. 75% of Americans suffer from chronic dehydration. According to Mayo Clinic, “even mild dehydration can drain your energy and make you tired.”
Chug that Nalgene bottle every morning and night so you can feel energized all day. Also, remember the color of your pee tells you a lot.
“Sleep is the best meditation” -The Dalai Lama
Sleep, like food is a game of quality and quantity.
Earlier is better, but listen to your body. Night owls shouldn’t try to be morning birds and vice versa. Instead, wake up at a consistent time each day with 7 or 8 hours under your belt so your body can establish a pattern.
also, DO NOT HIT SNOOZE.
My favorite tool for slumber is the Sleep Cycle alarm clock. The app monitors your movement while you sleep and gently wakes you up at the lightest phase of your sleep cycle. No more PTSD inducing wake up calls. Plus, looking at the little graphs is fun.
“Breathe motherf***er!” -The Iceman, Wim Hoff
All good things make you breathe. There’s a laundry list of benefits for mindful breathing, they include: stress reduction, increased energy, and muscular relaxation. The key is being mindful.
Pay attention to your breathing, it’s by far the easiest way to increase your energy level and feel good quickly. Oxygen changes the pH of your blood and fuels your cells; the more you breathe the more recharged you will feel.
Here is a simple breathing exercise you can try right now.
“You cannot be both unhappy and fully present in the Now.” -Eckhart Tolle
Meditation has been around for millennia and although new styles have been developed, the objective is essentially the same: quiet your mind. The mind consumes tons of energy, thoughts are a large portion of that.
Other than the breath, the energy you obtain from a meditation is due to having a calm and meditative mind. Negative thoughts are unproductive and lower your energy state, meditation can help calm down the monkey mind.
Compulsive and incessant thinking can also restrict you from experiencing meditation. Preparation is essential for effective meditation.
“To enjoy the glow of good health, you must exercise.” -Gene Tunney
Exercise is the most well researched remedy in this entire list besides maybe food. Regular exercise boosts mood, increases energy, boosts the immune system, and helps you sleep.
Exercise is the foundation of good health, which makes sense; the body is the platform from which we experience the world.
The warm-up and cool-down are the most important part of your exercise regimen. Proper preparation for exercise will help prevent injury and promote recovery.
Grokker.com is a great resource for yoga warm-ups, or try this routine.