As Posted in The Huffington Post
How many of you in the working universe think you need coffee to boost your energy and jump-start your day? How many of you wake up with a fuzzy brain and mindlessly think a shot of java will do it for you?
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.” Here’s the link to Dr. Teitelbaum Vitality 101.
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. 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 on packing to move from my apartment that I didn’t realize I hadn’t had my espresso. I didn’t even have the headache that comes one when withdrawing from caffeine. It seemed my green drink gave me the energy boost I needed while supplying all the natural foods I need for the day.
But there are other techniques to naturally boost your energy and 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:
1. Meditate When You First Wake Up
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 this 10 minute YouTube: “Meditation for Positive Energy”and Andy Puddicomb’s “All It Takes is 10 Minutes” Ted Talk.
2. Green Drinks: The Energy Elixir
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), 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 fun and creative. 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 teachings of Dr. Ann Wigmore, nutritionist and holistic health practioner, “consuming chlorophyll is like receiving a healthy blood transfusion.”
3. Stretch For an Energy Boost
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 toned. Apply some modified stretching at our 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.
4. Take a Break from Electronics When Fatigue Overwhelms
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. Last year 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.
5. Look Fabulous, Darling, You’ll Never Be Tired
I used to watch my mother get up every morning and 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.
Try these energy boosting techniques and you’ll feel a renewed sense of energy as you re-fashion your work to achieve its maximum productivity.
Joan Moran is a keynote speaker, commanding the stage with her delightful humor, raw energy, and wealth of life experiences. She is an expert on wellness and is passionate about addressing the problems of mental inertia. A yoga instructor and an Argentine tango dancer, Joan is the author of 60, Sex, & Tango, Confessions of a Beatnik Boomer. Her new book, I’m The Boss of Me! Stay Sexy, Strong & Smart at Any Age, is now on Amazon.
Visit her website: www.joanfrancesmoran.com
Follow Joan Moran on Twitter: www.twitter.com/joanfmoran