How to Feel Better and Be More Effective
I am a high-energy person. But I haven't always been that way. There have been times in my life when I was utterly exhausted.
These were times when getting through the day was a big chore. Times when I had nothing left to give by the end of the day. Times when I just wanted to collapse into bed and pull the covers over my head.
But in recent years, I’ve been very deliberate about managing my energy level. I’ve done a lot of reading on this and have taken the time to learn and experiment with what works.
I tried some new things. I broke some old habits. Now, my energy level remains pretty constant through the day.
Here are ten practical ways I keep my energy level high and you can too.
1. Connect with God. This is where I start each day. You were not created to function without a connection to God. He is the ultimate energy source.
Trying to navigate life without Him is like trying to ride a motorcycle without starting the engine. You can do it, but it only works downhill. Unfortunately, a lot of life is uphill.
The way I connect is by reading several passages from the Bible and then praying. I am also mindful of His presence throughout the day.
2. Keep a positive attitude. This is crucial. “For as a man thinks in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7). Negative thoughts deplete your energy. Positive thoughts replenish your energy.
Attitude is not something that just happens; you choose it. Even in difficult circumstances, you can choose to have a good attitude. And, whether good or bad, it will have a direct impact on your energy.
3. Watch your mouth. Obviously, your thoughts influence your words and actions. But sometimes, it feels like my mouth has a mind of its own. It just runs out of habit.
Someone says, “Hey, how ya doin'?” Without thinking, we say, “Well, I'm surviving.” Or we might say, “Hangin' in there.”
Guess what? That becomes our exact experience. We say it, and it shapes the way we perceive reality. That's why, by faith, I always say, “I'm doing great.” (If you don't believe it, then you need to practice this gratitude exercise!)
4. Feed your brain. You've heard the old saying, “Garbage in, garbage out.” This applies to the world of computers, but it also applies to your brain. I stimulate my brain by constantly feeding it new and stimulating content.
Some people complain that they don't have time to read. I don’t buy it. Everyone gets twenty-four hours a day. What they really mean is that it's not a priority.
I have a friend who recently gave me this excuse. When I probed, I discovered he was spending two hours each evening watching TV. Nothing wrong with that, but don't tell me you don't have time to read. You can't afford not to read, not if you want to grow and be energized.
5. Exercise daily. I think this is one of the most important things you can do to turn the tide and start feeling more energetic. I know it's counter-intuitive. You think, I don't have enough energy to exercise or I'm tired now. If I exercise, I will be even more tired.
Wrong. Regular exercise will boost your energy more than almost anything else you can do. It stimulates your heart and oxygenates your blood. This directly increases your energy level. Besides, if you exercise, you will lose weight. Those excess pounds also consume energy!
6. Drink lots of water. How much? The general rule of thumb is that you should drink half your body weight in ounces each day. I weigh 180 pounds. That means I need to drink 90 ounces of water per day.
Water is great energy replenisher. You will especially notice the difference if you switch from soft drinks to water. It may take you a few days to notice the difference, but getting sugar out of your system and water into your system will definitely even-out your energy.
I find that this also has a way of reducing my appetite. Sometimes we think we're hungry when we are really just thirsty. Drink 8 ounces of water an hour before a meal and notice how it curbs your hunger. More water will also increase your metabolism and keep flushing your body's waste.
7. Get plenty of rest. Most people I know don't get enough rest. Everyone is different, but most adults need about eight hours a night. Most people I know are trying to get by on five or six hours.
When you don't get enough rest, all kinds of bad things happen. You get grumpy. You reduce your ability to handle stress. And, according to some research, you may gain weight.
Perhaps most significantly, you negatively impact your body's autoimmune system. When you get run-down, you increase the likelihood of getting sick—and that's definitely a drain on your energy.
8. Eat high-energy foods. The main thing to avoid here is the bad or fast-burning high glycemic carbohydrates. These are the ones that your body quickly turns to sugar. You get an initial boost from them as the sugar hits your blood, but you then hit a “trough” that is lower that your energy was before you ate them.
Carbs in this category include white potatoes, white rice, and white flour (or white bread). Worst of all, the energy that isn't burned gets stored as fat.
Instead, eat slow-burning carbs like sweet potatoes, brown rice, wheat bread, and so on. I also like to eat more frequent, smaller meals. This keeps your metabolism up and your energy on an even keel.
9. Follow a supplement protocol. Even when we try to eat healthy foods, we’re often missing important vitamins and minerals.
I don't think you need a handful of vitamins and supplements every day. But a good multivitamin, multi-mineral supplement is essential. For managing my energy, I pay special attention to vitamins B12 and D.
If you eat a lot of processed food, this is especially important. Most of us just don't get the nutrition we need from the food we eat.
10. Avoid energy-depleting people. Let's be honest. Some relationships are toxic. You know the type. Some people are so negative they are a giant energy drain. Others are so positive, you get energized just being around them.
Obviously, you want to surround yourself with enough positive people so you can keep your energy level up. And, you want to have this same kind of effect on others. Sometimes, you just have to tell people the truth. Not only for your sake, but for theirs.
Your energy level doesn't have to remain low. You have more control than you think. But you have to be deliberate in managing it.
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