How many of us, still in the working universe – or maybe working from home – think they need coffee to boost their energy and jump-start their day? How many of us wake up with a fuzzy brain and mindlessly think a shot of java will do it for them?
When your energy level falls into the red zone, you probably reach for our culture’s quick fix: caffeine. In fact, women in their 30s consume about 165 milligrams each day, but by age 50, the daily average leaps to 225 milligrams, a recent USDA report reveals.
“We have an energy crisis of historic proportions going on,” says Jacob Teitelbaum, MD, an internist and fatigue expert. “We are reaching for anything that will give us energy – and we’re over-relying on coffee, now more than ever.”
I’ll admit it: I’m one of those people, even though I know better, who relies on my daily espresso for a boost of energy. I’m a yogi, and as such, I know that using a stimulant such as caffeine is not compatible with a yoga practice.
Not that a cup of great java in the morning is the worst thing you can drink. Yet, recently and by chance, I’ve proven to myself that coffee doesn’t have to be the primary source of energy to jump-start my morning.
For the last week, I’ve lived without my morning espresso and felt absolutely fine. Yesterday, I was so energized and focused – I did my work (writing fiction), swimming and yoga, laundry and cleaning – that I didn’t realize I hadn’t had my espresso.
I didn’t even have the usual headache that comes on when withdrawing from caffeine. It seemed my green drink gave me the energy boost I needed while supplying all the nutrients I needed for the day.
But there are other techniques to naturally boost your energy – not just in the morning, but also throughout the day.
It’s not that you trick your mind to stay away from caffeine or sugar when you feel the low energy creeping into your body. It’s about being more conscious of how you manage the physical fatigue or mental dullness. Let’s put your mind to work.
Here are 5 natural energy boosting techniques to maximize your full energy potential:
It’s been said before, and it will continue to be said for decades to come, that meditation – staying present with emotions, thoughts and body sensations without passing judgment or reacting – is a way to increase energy, reduce stress and breathe into your spirit.
There have been countless studies at the UCLA Mindfulness Center about the value of meditation to your health and wellness. These UCLA scientists believe they have discovered the first neural evidence for why mindfulness seems to produce a variety of health benefits – one of which is increased energy.
View Andy Puddicomb’s “All It Takes is 10 Minutes” Ted Talk.
I’m a devoted follower of the Green Drink brigade. A green drink can boost your energy 10 times more than caffeine. I’ve just experimented with it and it’s true.
Every morning, I get up and make my blended smoothie with kale and spinach. I add Organic Barley Juice Powder, which I get from Sunburst Superfoods (their website offers other organic powders as well), fruit (especially high in antioxidants), flaxseed or hemp seeds, alkaline water (coconut water or juice).
I’m partial to the smoothie as opposed to the juice because it’s higher in fiber. Green drinks can be a fun and creative food. There are many recipes and a great variety of choices.
Did you know that chopping can be a meditative experience? Green is also an anti-aging elixir, rich in vitamins and minerals, and it even boosts your immune system.
Gaiam Life recommends a green drink a day, and, according to the teachings of Dr. Ann Wigmore, nutritionist and holistic health practitioner, “consuming chlorophyll is like receiving a healthy blood transfusion.”
Stretching is an elixir for your body. It reduces stress and clears your mind. Breathe deeply into your stretches for 3-5 minutes, and your muscles will get stronger and your body will be well toned. Apply some modified stretching at your work desk for a quick energy boost during the day.
Hanging upside down is the ultimate boost. It stimulates neurotransmitters and gives you a shot of adrenaline and dopamine. “Try gentle yoga,” says Vyda Bielkus, yoga instructor and founder of the Health Yoga Life studio in Boston.
“You’re moving the circulatory system and awakening the nervous system – basically bringing new life into the body.” When you’re stuck in an afternoon slump or waking up… try an invigorating Sun Salutation or Virabhadrasana (Warrior II) could be exactly what your body needs to fight fatigue.
Humans are connected on an electronic grid that pretty much controls the way we think, feel and respond. We twist and turn from smartphones to computers to finding data that helps us function in this fast-paced world. It’s an unrelenting, fatiguing and exhausting state of mind.
There is more to life than that.
So, step away from electronics at night and take quiet time to embrace your inner life and surroundings. Enjoy nature, speak face to face with a friend and please don’t look at your phone when dining or conversing.
A Swedish study found that young people who used technology heavily had a pronounced risk for mental health problems like depression, stress and sleep disorders.
Other research has suggested that social media does not have its intended effect of drawing us together. Rather, it makes us lonely, jaded, jealous and mentally unhealthy.
I used to watch my mother get up every morning, get dressed “to the nines” for work and put on her makeup. When she made an appearance in the kitchen to cook breakfast, she was ready to rock and roll! My mom was the rock star of energy and poise.
You don’t have to be a genius to understand that looking your best gives you a boost of energy. Looking fabulous gives your self-esteem a huge boost and that means your energy is high and mighty. I never leave my apartment without my earrings and a smile on my face.
What do you do to increase your energy and feel great about yourself? Do you have a special technique or favorite morning smoothie recipe? Please share them in the comments below!
Tags Healthy Aging