You probably already know that if you want to make a difference — not just today, but for many years to come — you need to put your health and energy ahead of all else.
In a world that is focused on treating symptoms and not the underlying cause of the problem, I’m sure you’ve heard enough about drinking extra cups of coffee, energy drinks, or sleeping pills for one lifetime.
If you’re looking for some practical habits that you can use in your life, then you’ll absolutely LOVE this article.
Skip all the B.S. and focus on these five simple natural ways to increase your energy levels, starting right now.
1. Practice Deep Breathing
And when you're disconnected from your breathing, you're disconnected from your source. Why? Because air is the essence of life. After all, how long can you live without air?
You see... Most of us are not breathing to our full capacity. If any, we take only small, short, shallow breaths, and the small amount of oxygen contained in that air has to nourish every single cell in our body.
The bad news is that when you don’t have enough oxygen going to the brain, you become stressed, depressed, anxious and tired. You can't think clearly, nor perform at your best, and needless to say, your energy levels drop significantly.
But there's more to the story...
A lot of us are living in a very toxic environment. We're surrounded by car fumes, cigarette smoke, pollution, and we're constantly breathing in this toxic air. Even worse than that, these toxins go into our bloodstream.
Luckily for us, deep breathing will help remove these toxins from our body.
But in order to do so, we need to go back to nature. Whether that's going to the forest, in the mountains, or to the beach facing the ocean, you should find a clean environment where you can breath in some fresh air.
How to Breathe Properly
"Most people breathe the way they dance," the renowned cardiac surgeon Dr. Mehmet Oz said, "— they think they know what they're doing, but they really don't have a clue about how to do it right."
To prove his theory, he suggests a quick test.
"Stop right now for a second and focus on your breathing.
Now look down. See anything moving? Probably not. That’s because most people typically take very short, shallow breaths — the kind that simply comes from your chest.
For you to really improve your lung function, you need to practice taking deep, whole breaths."
— Dr. Mehmet Oz (Cardiac Surgeon and Host of The Dr. Oz Show)
What Dr. Oz refers to is called abdominal breathing, or diaphragmatic breathing.
According to Harvard Medical School, "when you breathe deeply, the air coming in through your nose fully fills your lungs, and you will notice that your lower belly rises."
So here's how to take a deep, diaphragmatic breath:
- Put one hand on your chest and one hand on your belly.
- Take one deep breath in - slowly. It should take you about 4-5 seconds to inhale. When you inhale, your belly should rise up, and when you exhale, your belly should fall down, while the hand on your chest remains still.
- As you inhale, your chest will also widen - and maybe rise ever so slightly.
- Let your abdomen expand fully, and then exhale slowly. It should take you about 5-7 seconds to let all the air out.
How long should you do this?
According to Dr. Oz, you should "take ten deep breaths in the morning, ten at night, and as many as you need when shooting free throws or after chasing your toddler down the cereal aisle."
2. Drink Enough Water
Every single cell and organ in your body is comprised of water.
In fact, the human body consists of 75 percent of water, so it's easy to see that water must be your body's most essential daily ingredient.
Even more so, studies show that a typical adult loses about 2-3 liters of water each day mostly through urination, respiration and perspiration. Bearing this in mind, we should be conscious of the fact that we need to replenish our water supply often, because not doing so can lead to dehydration.
Simply put, if you're feeling thirsty, you're already dehydrated.
Besides that, a few other symptoms of dehydration are fatigue, headaches, nervousness, irritability, dizziness, weakness — all of which lead to a significant drop in vitality, productivity and energy levels.
As to how much water you should drink, I could simply say: It depends.
And that's true. The amount of water intake varies from person to person, depending on factors such as your level of activity, how much you sweat, etc.
And even though you may have heard of the phrase "drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day," that doesn't always work out well.
That's why my recommendation is to start using:
The Good Old Fashioned Pee Test
No, I'm not talking about the routine urine test you do at your local hospital. I'm talking about the one you can do yourself, every time you go to the toilet. Check out the infographic below.
Bottom line: As long as your urine matches the colors in the first 3 levels, you're hydrated and good to go.
3. Eat The Right Foods
The daily choices you make about what foods to eat directly influence your energy levels throughout the day.
Unfortunately, there's a lot of conflicting advice today about what is good and what is bad in terms of diet. That's why it is often difficult to know what foods to eat and which ones to avoid.
For example, many people follow the "total calorie count" method, but study after study suggests that calories are not a measure of food quality.
In his outstanding book, Are You Fully Charged?, the bestselling author and researcher Tom Rath writes:
“A landmark Harvard University study that tracked more than 100,000 people over two decades makes it clear that the quality of what you eat is more important than quantity alone. This study revealed that the types of food you consume influence your health more than your total caloric intake. Consuming 300 calories' worth of spinach is not the same as eating a sugar cookie with 300 calories.”
“Eating well,” he continues, “is much easier when you begin with the right foods.” So start with the basics:
- Avoid fried foods.
- Eat fewer refined carbohydrates.
- Eliminate as much added sugar as possible.
- Stay away from sodas or other sweetened drinks. Substitute them with clean water, tea, and coffee.
- Avoid foods that have higher than a 5-to-1 carbs to protein ratio.
- Add more fruits and vegetables to your daily diet.
- Try drinking less alcohol. If possible, eliminate it altogether, or keep it to a bare minimum. According to Dr. Oz, one glass of red wine per day is fine.
I've said it many times before that whenever it comes to food and diet, the best advice I can give you is to experiment. You don't need to take this advice and follow it to the letter, especially in the area of health and fitness where you've got so much controversy going on.
You read a book or listen to an expert who says that if you do this and that, you're going to get great results.
Sure enough, after a while you read another book or listen to another expert who says that if you'll do what the previous book or expert suggested, you're going to die at a young age.
Whose advice should you follow? Neither. Don't be a follower, be a student. Experiment. Try different things and see which of them suits your body and your lifestyle better.
Remember that there's no “Best Diet.” There's only food. Make your own diet by figuring out what works best for you.
4. Move / Exercise
The problem we're facing today is that we spend a lot of time sitting. But the human body is not made for a sedentary lifestyle. Our bodies are made to move.
As Tom Rath puts it:
“Being active throughout the day is the key to staying energized. Even 30-60 minutes of exercise a day will not cut it if you spend the rest of your day sitting around. Moving around and getting more activity every hour is what will keep you fully charged.”
A lot of us say, “Oh, but I can’t run or work out. I just don’t have the energy.”
I get it. But what you may not realize is that we gain energy by using energy. If you'll just do it, you'll be more energetic for the rest of the day.
For many people, sitting for several hours a day is almost unavoidable, so the challenge is to build as much movement as possible into your day.
If your job requires a lot of sitting, do yourself a favor by taking a break at least one or two times every hour.
It can be as simple as stretching for 30-60 seconds, or walking around the office for at least 5 to 10 minutes. Especially in the middle of the day, when your energy drops significantly and your attention tends to fade, that's the best time to go for a walk, or get up and stretch a little.
Increase Your Energy Levels With Rebounding
Another great way to boost energy levels is to practice something that's called rebounding.
Stand on your feet shoulder-width apart and lightly bounce up and down while leaving your feet on the floor. This is a very small movement. Do this for 15-30 seconds and make sure to shake and relax your body while breathing at the same time.
Of course, it might seem awkward doing it while someone else is watching, but who knows… Maybe you'll start the movement.
And finally, as Tom Rath suggests, “small bursts of activity will do as much for your mind as they will for your physical energy.” He continues:
“Regular breaks from mental tasks have been shown to increase both creativity and productivity. You simply think better when you move more. A deluge of research published over the last few years has shown how even brief periods of activity improve learning and attention and help your brain function more effectively.”
5. Rest / Sleep
Strangely enough, we're living in a world where people brag about the fact that they're so busy that they don't have time for sleep.
They think that “sleep is for failures,” or that “sleep breeds laziness.” They believe that one less hour of sleep is the equivalent of one more hour of productivity and achievement.
In fact, the exact opposite is true: the less you sleep, the less you can achieve.
Lack of sleep decreases your performance, your productivity, your well-being, your health, and your ability to think clearly. And yet, sleep continues to be the first thing people sacrifice.
What you've got to understand is that if you're looking to become your greatest version and achieve heightened and sustained levels of performance in your life, sleep MUST be on your priority list.
That's why you need to make sure that you get at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep every single night. Not once in a while. But EVERY. SINGLE. NIGHT. The key aspect here is quality and consistency.
Let's Take a Nap...
A good idea would be to take a brief nap in the middle of the day whenever possible. This will ensure that you stay focused, creative and energized for the rest of the day.
Many of us think that a nap needs to be hours long. In fact, studies show that a session of 15 to 30 minutes of sleep can be more than enough. These are called power naps.
If you work at the office and can't afford the luxury of taking a nap, follow the guidelines discussed in the "Move / Exercise" section above.
You and I both know that at the end of the day, reaching your greatest potential and becoming a high performer comes down to your daily habits.
In this article, I revealed a few powerful ways that world-class performers use to boost their energy, and increase their vitality.
Now, it's up to you to implement it and make it a habit. 🙂
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