“And what is a man without energy? Nothing – nothing at all.”
– Mark Twain
When we start to pursue our dreams and to live our life to the fullest the best thing to have is an abundance of personal energy. What good is it to have great personal goals if there is simply not enough energy to follow through with them? If we have that extra energy everything will become easier to do. To become aware that there are very practical things available to improve that level of personal energy is the idea of this article.
If I talk about personal energy, I talk about the feeling of being ready to take on anything. It’s the potential energy that you just have to let out, opposing to being drained down, where in the worst-case scenario you are not even able to get out of bed.
When I started my own company I realized that in order to get to the goals that I set out, I really need more energy, more horse-power to simply get things done. And over time I learned basically 5 really great habits to get more power permanently. Although it is great to get to know this, only to see and feel the effects in your own life can show you what a good impact relatively simple habits may have. The most important effect of all is that a higher personal energy-level acts like a catalyst for your whole body and mind. You can think better and faster, you can be more focused and healthier. Only enough energy will enable you to be the best you can be. The good thing is that any of these habits to raise the personal energy-level will also improve your health. And only one of them brought to pratice will improve your energy level.
I knew that this came as I surprise to you. People who are into Yoga already know this: proper breathing is one of the most important ways to improve the energy level. By proper I mean very deep breathing into the abdomen, so that your belly is really moving forward. You can do this every morning, at noon and in the evening simply by taking 10 conscious and very deep breaths. There is a very nice method to proper breathing that I first heard from Anthony Robbins, which basically tells you to breath in a ratio of 1-4-2 for inhale-hold-exhale. That means if you deeply inhale for 7 seconds, you hold for 28 seconds and exhale for 14 seconds. If you do this alone for 10 times three times a day you can significantly raise your energy-level. Please try it out and watch how you feel.
To improve breathing over the day it helps to become aware of a shallow breathing. Then we can change this, for instance by this simple method above. Just surf to this website and there you have the reminder ;) Seriously, the reason for shallow breathing is too much stress and not feeling in our own power. Or it is too less stress, no challenging ourselves and therefore no demands to expand. In both ways life balance is missing. The whole purpose of this blog is to enable you to get to this balance.
Eating healthy, water-rich and “alive” food will also raise your energy-level. Basically food is like fuel for our body and only food that can provide energy will help to raise it. The best food we can get is water-rich food: vegetables and fruits. Basically proper eating does not need a master degree in science but mostly common sense, and it helps to think of food as fuel and not as something to gain pleasure from. There is also a way to stop overeating, because psychologically it mostly happens to compensate for another lack in life. What we need to do is become aware of this lack and tackle it where it is, not drown it unconsciously by overeating. If we put food inside of ourselves that has a lot of fat and sugar in it, we are clocking our system and draining it of energy – sometimes the body will even use more energy to digest it than it is able to gain.
3. Aerobic Exercising
To move our body is great to maintain a high energy level. And of course it is also very effective to get rid of body-fat and to stay healthy. That’s three in one ;) Aerobic literally means “with oxygen” and that refers to exercising with higher oxygen consumption by the body (see Wikipedia for details ). This could be running, cycling or swimming. It is very important not to go up to your physical limits. Instead you stay in an area where you just could easely talk while exercising – this means about 130-140 heart-beats per minute. Also you need to exercise this way over an extended period of time of 45-60 Minutes. Only then it gets very effective and also body-fat is used as an energy-source, therefore you will lose weight.
I found it very important to select the most suitable kind of exercise for me, which for me is swimming. Experiment with this and see what fits best for your, meaning what you like to do and what is easy to maintain. I also tried jogging, but water seems to be my element :) The most important thing however is, to develop exercising as a habit. This means you exercise at least 3 times a week, better 4 times a week – this will boost your energy level and your body fitness.
It seems obvious that getting enough sleep is important to be energetic over the day. The funny thing however is, that getting to much sleep will also slow you down. It is generally accepted that a perfect time for sleep is about 8 hours for human adults. This may differ and it may work with less hours – you have to check this for yourself. I would not recommend using more time habitually, because it will not get you more energy and you will simply do nothing more than wasting time ;)
Another very important fact is the time to start and end sleeping. Getting up early is a great way to start the day in an energetic fashion. This also means to get to bed at the same time every day, just to not break your sleep-rhythm. If you have difficulties with your sleep-rythm, the best way to shift it is by getting up the time you want or need to for 3 days consistently. Your sleep-rhythm will then adapt in the evening, meaning you will get tired early enough.
5. Mental Energy: Thoughts and Emotions
Have you ever experienced how energy-draining an emotional fight between you and another one can be? Or have you realized how energy-consuming certain thoughts can be? On the opposite we have the power to choose our thoughts and emotions. I believe not being fully aware of our thoughts and emotions is the greatest energy-drainer and therefore has the greatest leverage if we learn to improve here. Having enough energy is not only a matter of the body. If you have lots of physical energy but unconsciously you invest it in negative thinking or emotions, this is a total waste.
There are two major ideas here. The first is to become aware of our thinking and recognize if it is not supporting. Then you can make a cut and direct your mental focus to something more empowering. It makes sense to invest thoughts into our goals and what we want and like. The same goes with emotions, which are the body’s reaction to our reception and thinking. Emotions are created by you, they are just a representation of what is happening. By realizing this, you move into the power of controlling your mental state, instead of being largely controlled by it.
The second idea that can help to increase our energy level is to choose the right thoughts and emotions by directing our mental focus on what is supportive for us. I would like to introduce you to the idea that it is not that important to have the most objective or right thoughts about reality (what is that anyway?), but to choose the thoughts and emotions that are most supportive to us. A great way to do this is to set own goals and develop a personal vision.