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  • 11/30/2008

Energy Boosters--Part 2



1. Get an Energy Boost from Doing Things That Lift Your Spirits

Fun people, rhythmic music, and funny movies can boost your energy level, researchers have found.

In fact, anything that makes you feel good may raise your level of endorphins — the same chemicals that are released when you exercise, says Andrew Weil, M.D.

Listening to music invigorates the body by activating several areas of the brain at once, building new nerve connections. It also increases oxygen flow to the heart, which perks you up as well, adds Weil.

While you’re infusing your life with energizing experiences, try to cut out people and activities that drag you down and deplete your energy — the whiners, the naysayers…that deadly planning committee.


2. Get an Energy Boost from Drinking Fluids

Your body needs water to transport oxygen to your cells. Deprive yourself of sufficient liquids and you may feel tired or get headaches.

 While there’s no magic number for the amount of liquid to consume in a day, experts say you should try to drink at least four tall glasses of water or low-calorie beverages, such as Propel or Crystal Light.

Caffeine gets a bad rap, but used judiciously, it can give you a lift. The trouble is “many people drink too much in the morning, so their energy is bunched up early in the day, and they need more later to keep going,” says Andrew Weil, M.D. Try to limit yourself to one cup of coffee in the morning and, if you must and it doesn’t interfere with falling asleep at night, a half cup after lunch. Consider switching to green tea, which contains caffeine but also theanine, a calming substance that counteracts the jitters from caffeine.


3. Get an Energy Boost from Obsessing Less

When your mind is in overdrive, your body secretes stress hormones, such as cortisol, which over time can wreak havoc on the body. It can also make falling asleep difficult by suppressing the hypothalamus, the part of the brain responsible for lowering body temperature so that you can shift into sleep mode.

“Worrying is like putting a hole in your gas tank,” says internist Jacob Teitelbaum. “Unless you do something to stop it, you’re draining energy away.”
To rewire an overwrought mind, Woodson Merrell, M.D., suggests doing some form of mind-body exercise, like meditation, practicing yoga, or engaging in regular prayer.

 For a quick fix, Teitelbaum suggests this trick: “Ask yourself, ‘Am I in imminent danger?’ It may sound irrational or melodramatic, but that’s the point. You bring yourself down to earth by reminding yourself that your worries aren’t crises. This will relax your body’s adrenal ‘fight or flight’ system and help you feel in control.”


4. Get an Energy Boost from Going Outside

At least once during the workday, get out of the office. Studies show that spending time outdoors provides a boost by reducing stress hormones and lowering blood pressure. Sunlight can also increase the body’s production of serotonin, which lifts mood and increases energy, says internist Jacob Teitelbaum.

In addition, air that contains a high balance of negative ions (molecules with a negative electrical charge) may increase the body’s oxygen intake and serotonin levels, says Michael Terman, Ph.D., director of the Center for Light Treatment and Biological Rhythms at New York–Presbyterian Hospital. Negative ions are produced when there’s a lot of air and water movement in the atmosphere, like during a thunderstorm. Terman has found that when people with seasonal affective disorder (a mood disorder associated with seasonal variations of light) and depression use specialized negative-ion generators, their symptoms improve.

Related links:

Energy Boosters--Part 1

14 Quick Energy Boosters

The Two-Week Stress-Less Plan

9 Things You Can Do to Be Happy in the Next 30 Minutes

Make More Time for Yourself: Part 1

Make More Time for Yourself : Part 2

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