Energy is everything.
It’s the difference between cooking your own meals and ordering out, making time for friends and watching TV, completing your tasks for the day and going to bed early…
…accomplishing your goals and falling short.
With enough energy, nothing is out of your reach. But simply having more energy is easier said than done.
As a few elite athletes of our time have pointed out, there’s no such thing as talent, just hard work. Choosing to put in that hard work is a matter of finding the energy, even when it doesn’t come easy.
All of us know someone who seems superhuman, who “does it all,” and with enthusiasm at that. Finding time for hobbies, a career, growth or relationships is not actually about “finding time.” It’s about finding energy…or, more accurately, generating it.
Hint: drinking more coffee unfortunately is not the key. Complaining about not getting enough sleep won’t help either.
So, what can you do to generate more energy in your life?
How to Boost your Brain Power & Energize your Life
When we say energy, we also mean alertness, focus, enthusiasm, commitment. An energetic person engages and participates fully in the world around them, identifying and seizing opportunities. Essentially, energy amounts to a balanced brain performing optimally.
The illusion of scarcity that most of us suffer from will continuously tell you that you need more: more sleep, time, money, peace. These excuses undermine the mysteries of the brain. Take, for example, how negativity sucks us of energy or that a calm, meditative mind can recharge us better than sleep in some ways.
Re-energizing yourself and boosting your brain power is not a question of outward resources, but of inward resolutions.
1) Set intentions, focus & achieve
For much of the day, we go through the motions: cook, clean, work, sleep — and high achievers or career-oriented folks tend to do so in a hurry. But with half the attention and effort, comes half the value.
Bestselling author and food expert Michael Pollan attributes his success in life to mindfulness developed in the kitchen: “When chopping onions, just chop onions.” It sounds simple, but how many of us stay present in any given activity.
When cooking, just cook and when it’s bedtime, commit to pausing the world’s problems until the next morning.
Try it out
With every activity, set an intention and avoid multitasking as much as possible. Multitasking can be exhausting and is an efficient way to drain your energy. For extra focus, turn your phone off to rid yourself of micro interruptions. While compartmentalizing gets a bad rap, it can prevent unnecessary draining of energy and boost fulfillment. Instead of worrying about if you can fit all your tasks into one day, focus on doing what you are doing right now well. What you are doing at this moment, is all that’s ever in your control.
The best part is that is you don’t have to increase the time you dedicate to these activities, you only have to commit to them fully. There are moments to multitask — in the bus on the way to work or while taking a long walk. Other times — like when on the phone with a client, organizing your schedule, getting ready for bed or trying to solve a challenge — your undivided attention will instantly recharge your brain.
Notice how energized you feel after identifying a task, setting an intention and completing it. Dopamine, a chemical in our bodies linked to levels of motivation, increases after accomplishing a small goal, keeping us motivated for the long-term.
Alternatively, notice how drained you feel after rushing through your day to the point that it becomes a blur.
2) Balance the brain & stress less
Although it may seem counterintuitive, intention setting and “single-tasking” rather than multitasking can actually increase productivity. The same is true for equanimous or balanced thought.
Stress is the number one waste of energy and cause of illness that humanity faces. At the dawn of human existence, stress was a tool, a response signal to danger. Nowadays, most of the stress we feel is caused by our thoughts, not reality.
Controlling our thinking changes the chemistry of the brain and body.
The body’s production of melatonin, for example, the hormone that produces restful sleep, is inhibited by stress. When we approach the day with a sense of humor, our body produces endorphins, which diminishes feelings of pain and anxiety.
Try it out
Start by being aware of your thoughts throughout the day. You can even set an alarm, or 10, that reminds you to check in with your thoughts. You may have believed you were at a meeting, taking a shower or reading the paper when, in actuality, your mind was reflecting on an annoying situation at a family dinner or trying to solve your financial issues.
Not only is this an ineffective way to try to solve family or financial issues, but it also drains your brain of energy. As you’ll come to see by observing your mental activity, most thoughts create stress. After becoming aware of that, we can work to quiet them by focusing on our breath, meditating or holding onto the present moment.
Taking control of our lives requires the takeover of our thoughts. Until then, we’re living life with a hole in the fuel take where our energy will keep leaking out.
3) Learn to generate your own energy
Fill your day with purposeful, clear tasks and empty your mind of harmful, draining noise — both easier said than done. So, in the meantime, what can you do to generate energy and awaken your brain on the days when you are feeling sluggish?
First, there is the physiological doorway to the brain. Deep breathing removes stress and calms the mind. Many cultures employ breathing exercises, such as India’s Pranayama practices, to energize in the morning. Through a series of deep slow breathes and rapid exhales, oxygen alone can recharge the brain.
Try it out
Water is another easy tool at our fingertips. Kick the coffee and opt for a cold shower instead (or alternative between hot and cold). A cold morning walk, even a short one, can have a similar effect. Drink two liters of water a day to keep your mind sharp and stave off lethargy. Trying a new activity or changing up your routine also stimulates the brain, awakening it from its routine stupor.
Positive thoughts generate far more excitement and enthusiasm than negative ones. With enough practice observing your thoughts, you’ll be able to differentiate between the two and cut negative trains of thought off before they leave their mark. Call an old friend, count your blessings or volunteer for a free jolt of positivity.
The main takeaway here is to begin viewing energy, not as finite, but as limitless — something that you have the power to create and tap into. If energy is a bottomless well, your habits and state of mind are the bucket and rope that give you access to it.
Are you ready to start down the path toward fully owning your life — a life you love?
Sign up for a Get Out of the Rut Power Session.
Omozua is a Certified Emotional Mastery & Intelligent Leadership Executive Coach who empowers & prepares clients’ hearts & heads to take the journey from where they are to where they want to be by bravely accessing their own potential.