Do you start the day bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, but find yourself losing steam steadily throughout the day? Or are you one of those people who feels tired from the moment they wake up and you start missing your bed before you've even lifted your head from the pillow? We often see this lack of energy as normal and a natural result of modern life. Some of us even take a weird pride in being stressed-out and exhausted, as if it shows that we're important and busy. Sure, we get tired sometimes. It happens to the best of us, but, if you're constantly feeling like the life is being sucked out of you, you're gonna want to do something about that. The situation isn't hopeless, and there are a variety of fixes that can do wonders if we are willing to give it a go. Here are just a few to chew on for now:
We breathe all day long without giving it a second thought and we can really take this vital function for granted. Did you know that there are various breathing techniques that can be used to induce specific states? By consciously focusing on our breath and doing particular breathing exercises, we can actually effect physical changes in the body. We are able to do this because breath is something we can control and regulate. Pretty amazing! You'll be happy to know that there is one breathing exercise in particular that can do wonders on the energy front. The Stimulating Breath, which is also known as the Bellows Breath, was adapted from a yogic breathing technique. It will make you more alert and is meant to stimulate vital energy, which may also be referred to as your 'life force' or 'chi'.
- Keeping your mouth closed but relaxed, inhale and exhale rapidly through the nose. Your inhales and exhales should be equal in length, but as fast as possible. You'll be making a bit of noise with this one, so you might want to go somewhere private.
- Try for three in and out cycles per second, and be sure to breath normally between cycles.
- The effect can be intense and you don't want to try for more than 15 seconds on your first go round. After you get comfortable doing it, you can gradually increase the time by five seconds until you can do the exercise for one full minute.
No excuses that you are too busy for this one! All you need is 15 seconds to start, and it will never take you more than a minute. If you want some guidance, you can check out a video of natural health expert Dr. Andrew Weil demonstrating the technique here.
When you think of boosting your energy, meditation may not be the first thing to pop into your mind. You may even think it would worsen your energy woes by getting you into a nice relaxed state where the only thing you want to do is sleep. But, it is actually a great way to boost energy. Poor stress management is a big contributor to fatigue, because when you feel stressed your body releases hormones that can zap your energy and make you feel tired. While our ancestors were exhausted after spending all day hunting for food, our modern exhaustion is a very different animal, but we still experience the same chemical reactions as those who came before us. One of the best ways to change perception and quiet your monkey mind is meditation. It can provide immediate effects when you take a short break and get zen for a few minutes, as well as far-reaching benefits such as sleeping better, boosting growth hormone, decreasing activity in the stress region of the brain, and raising your 'stress ceiling'. A recent study by researchers at Keck School of Medicine at UCLA found that people who practiced meditation slept better, experienced less fatigue during the daytime and reported lower levels of depression, when compared to people who were simply educated on proper sleep hygiene.
Diet can make a huge impact on our energy levels. We all know food is fuel, but we often fail to appreciate how deeply it can affect every aspect of our physical and mental well-being. While carbohydrates have gotten quite the nasty reputation in recent years, not all of them are evil poisons. Complex carbs are the fuel of choice for your body. Simple carbohydrates can also work for an immediate energy boost, but choose wisely here. Go for the fruit, not the candy bar in the vending machine. We have all heard about the crash that comes from eating those foods, but we may not understand why. When your blood sugar is running low, and then you give it a quick shot with a sugary treat, it makes things all unstable, and it will fall again. But, it just doesn't fall back to where it was before, it typically goes even lower, which is why it makes you feel so terrible. Processed carbs have that same effect of quick energy burn that will not last. Choose your carbs wisely and you can find yourself with a nice energy boost that lasts.