These 5 things will make you 200% more energetic! Today I want to talk about how we can influence our levels of energy, that have a direct effect on how we experience our life and on our productivity.
I’m sure you can relate: Sometimes you have a lot of work to finish. You have a deadline ahead, or you need to go out and get something done but: You feel super lethargic. You feel like all energy has drained from your body, you don’t have any motivation and you would rather just go to bed and sleep or do something like watching a movie or surfing on the internet and on facebook. You’d rather do something where you can relax momentarily and shut off. Many years ago when I went to school: each time I would come home from school I would be so tired and exhausted, that I would just drop into bed. I would sleep for half an hour, one hour, sometimes for two hours. Even after that I wouldn’t feel energized. Furthermore I would have terrible sleeping habits in the evening and this would affect my sleeping schedule. It was a very bad cycle.
Over the years I have learned how to actually change my level of energy. I’ve learned this by doing a lot of meditation and releasing layers of stress from my mind. I also learned a lot from Anthony Robbins, when I was at one of his seminars. He really inspired me with his amazing amounts of energy. It seemed like he was on drugs. But he is just very disciplined and follows a clear strategy to maximize his energy levels – a strategy which he shared at his seminar. I subsequently experienced for myself that if I follow certain guidelines, I can really increase the level of energy I have and this has had a huge impact on all areas of my life.
Let’s get started:
I want to start off with what I think is the most important thing in this equation of energy. If you don’t have purpose for what you are doing and why you are getting up in the morning, there is no reason for your body to provide you with energy. If there is something that is urgent and that needs to be done, you are convinced that you can do it and you actually want to do it because you see a favourable future for yourself and want to achieve that goal – then you are motivated. As a consequence your body will give you the energy necessary to move towards that goal. But if there is no motivation in the first place, if there is no purpose in the first place – that’s not going to happen. I remember when I was coming home from school, I was just relieved that school was over. I didn’t have a purpose or reason to do anything. I would just play computer games and zone out. This would keep my energy levels very low because there was nothing drawing me. There was no purpose to my life. There was no purpose in my mind and in my body. If you have a purpose, that is going to give you a lot of energy. Even if you have a sub-optimal nutrition, don’t get enough exercise or are under a lot of stress. Even if you have a bad sleeping cycle! Only this one thing: having a purpose, having a worthwhile goal and believing in yourself that you can achieve that goal: This will give you a lot of energy. So the first key for having more energy is getting clear on your purpose. Write it down in great detail like I talk about in my article and video called Nurturing Your Vision, where I talk about journaling about your vision each day. This way you can clarify it more and more and strengthen it each day. This is going to give you more energy!
What is stress-management? Many people have a high level of stress in their life. You can see it in their bodies. They hold a lot of tension in their face, neck and shoulders. Sometimes their bodies are bent with tension and they don’t even know they are doing it, because it is outside of their awareness. I recently did an article and video on how we can improve our poste and grounding where I show you how to practically work with your body called Grounding And Posture. In there I also talk about how we can relax unnecessary tension. I walk you through an exercise where you imagine a strong string that is holding up your body, where you can relax all unnecessary tensions. This is one way you can do it with your body. There is various forms of meditation to help you with the mental aspect of stress. This way you can strengthen your awareness for your thoughts. This is important because what is connected with stress is: Negative Self-Talk. This is a big common cause of stress. If you can reduce negative self-talk and be more positive with yourself then you are going to have less stress. You can try a very simple practice like Smiling Meditation. If you practice meditation then you are going to have more awareness over your mind and you can more easily discard and release unnecessary stress that is building from your thoughts. This mental stress if it is left unchecked will manifest in the body sooner or later. If this is interesting to you or you feel like you are having too much stress: check out Reduce Stress By Eliminating Causes to find out how you can easily decrease the levels of stress in your life quickly. Effective stress-management is extremely important for increasing productivity and living a happier life! An example from my personal life: Many years ago when I would be under a lot of people, like in a public place or the public transport, I would immediately feel stressed, afraid and tense. I just couldn’t feel comfortable. Now over the years I’ve been able to recondition myself and now I am working at a job where I’m standing at railway stations. I’m under a lot of people. People are coming from all sides, it’s very crowded and sometimes cramped around me. But now it no longer bothers me. I actually feel relaxed like I would be in my living room! Because I conditioned my body and mind for that. I continuously relaxed tensions, staying very aware of my thoughts. I also practice what I teach in my other material. I work on my posture, so that I’m standing in structural alignment. I’m smiling and practicing a positive attitude towards myself and also towards others. This reflects in physical relaxation. So I’m feeling very comfortable and relaxed and as a consequence of this I have a lot more energy!
If you don’t have a good quality of sleep or you are constantly getting too little sleep and you actually need more, then you are not going to have so much energy… You are actually harming your system and not getting the necessary rest. When you are having a lot of stress and don’t have strategies for managing stress properly, then you might not be able to fall asleep in the evening or have a bad quality of sleep at night. You may be lying in bed, tossing around, being stressed or afraid about this and that. My motto is: If you can solve a problem when it arises (during the day), by releasing unnecessary tensions in both mind and body, then you are going to sleep better in the evening. Of course sometimes things are bothering me in the evening, especially during stressful times. But overall I go to bed, lie down and I fall asleep. This happens when you can keep your mind at a healthy level of relaxation by doing proper stress-management. How you spend your day and your attitude during the day (like if you are having a lot of negative self-talk) – that’s going to reflect in how you feel in the evening and how you fall asleep and the quality of your sleep. When you can maintain a healthy, natural mental state within yourself throughout the day, or at least get back to it quickly when you have fallen off, then you don’t need to purposely relax yourself so much when going to bed. But that being said I am a big fan of a “winding-down-ritual”. I have rituals for both the morning and evening time. I usually meditate and do some QiGong in the evening and that helps me to calm down if the day was stressful. Another thing that is really useful is: When you go to bed you can affirm to yourself and set an intention that you are going to have proper sleep, the amount of sleep is going to be enough and that you are going to be well-rested. You imagine getting up in the morning feeling fresh, smiling and happy and determined. If you you do that before falling asleep this is going to help your sleep quality as well because you’re building a positive expectation and replacing possible negative visualisation and affirmation (that you might not even be aware of) with positive.
I recommend this short affirmation, which is from the book “The Miracle Morning“, by Hal Elrod: “Thank you for giving me these # hours of sleep tonight. # hours is exactly what I need to feel rested and energized in the morning. My body is capable of miraculous things, the least of which is generating an abundance of energy from # restful hours of sleep. I believe that I create my experience of reality, and I choose to create waking up tomorrow feeling energized and excited to take on my day, and I am grateful for that.”
Proper sleep is going to affect your body and you are going to have a stronger body, but also your mind is going to be more effective. For me it’s mostly about sleep quality. I know many people sleep 8 hours, for me 6 hours usually is enough and that’s the minimum I shoot for. You’ve got to find what’s your ideal amount of sleep. What helped me was to calculate in 1.5 hour-increments (that is supposedly how long one full sleep cycle lasts, be sure to add sometime for falling asleep). Maybe thats 8 hours or 5 hours, but: You’ve got to watch the quality of your sleep and see if you feel well-rested in the morning and if not then maybe it’s an issue with stress or maybe you shouldn’t eat that much in the evening or even try not eating in the evening. Often I left out dinner in the evening and lately I stopped having a meal in the evening altogether because I feel clearer and sleep better and also because of the many health benefits of “Intermittent Fasting“.
When I was younger I didn’t mind so much what I was eating. I was eating stuff that wasn’t too healthy for my body and not paying too much attention to the quality of the food I was eating. The food you eat has a strong effect on you. If you’re younger then your body is more resilient but as you get older it becomes even more important to eat food that really nourishes your body and mind (see top 10 brain foods by Jim Kwik). I’m not going to say which foods are healthy or not – you’ve just got to find out for yourself. What I am going to say however is that I gravitate towards natural food and away from obvious bad food choices like processed food and an overconsumption of grains and sugar. Anthony Robbins had a great quote at his seminar that I really liked: “The longer the shelf life, the shorter your life”. Just think about a banana and how quickly it starts to get brown and deteriorate. If food can lie around for one or even two years and not undergo any substantial changes then you can be pretty sure it is dead food.
One very helpful guideline I use when I look at food is to have two categories of “good food”: There is food that is good because it is fresh, high-quality food. Food that actually nourishes the body, that has grown naturally AND then there is “good” food. It tastes really good but it is “good” in a different way. Like chips, sweets, a burger. This “good” food is very entertaining to the body and your taste buds, but it doesn’t really have good nutritional value. I make it a must for me to focus on eating foods that are good instead of foods that are “good”.
I want to have this balance where I mostly eat food that is healthy for my body and mind because I want to maximise energy and long-term well-being. This is also something I learned from Anthony Robbins. When I was at his seminar, he was having amazing energy and was in a great flow. You could see that his body and mind were at a peak state and that he was used to this. He talked about this mindset of “eating for energy instead of mere pleasure” and how this helps him to maintain this state of high energy in his body most of the time. His primary goal when eating is to maximize his energy. So I took this lesson from him and when I make a food decision I ask myself: “Is this food going to nourish me and give me energy – or is it going to drain energy?” Is it something that would give ma a short-term high, where it feels and tastes “good” and entertains my taste buds, or is it something where I am going to have the energy in the afternoon or evening to do what I need to get done and to feel great in my body. Is this food going to make me feel good for a few seconds or is it going to make me feel good for the rest of the day and for the next day and the following weeks to come? This is a decision you’ve got to make every time you are in front of some food or when you are going shopping. I am well aware of the pleasure that “good” food brings (and believe me I sometimes look at tasty foods and feel desire for them) but I prioritize energy and well-being over it. If you start applying this then you will experience a big shift.
Also considering diet I suggest that you experiment for yourself what foods you like most and what gives you the most energy. There are many diet options and people are likewise convinced of starkly contrasting viewpoints. The real answer can only lie in personal experience and in trying things out for ourselves. I’m personally still experimenting with my diet. What is really important here is that you make a decision for yourself. That is – you don’t let your decisions be dictated from outside influences (advertisement, food choices offered, your peers) but instead you use your own mind and willpower, you think and reflect: “How does this food make me feel?”, “Does this food support my highest aspirations and goals for my body and life?” and then next time you can make an informed and well-reflected decision. You may think: “Last time when I ate this food I didn’t feel so good afterwards. I wasn’t productive. I was super-drowsy.” So then you can avoid it. You can say: “No. I’m going to make a decision that is more sustainable, where I’m going to have more energy and be able to get more things done and I’m happier over the long term in my life.” Also remember that this is a step-by-step process and that Change Happens Gradually – especially when changing old habits. Be patient and kind with yourself! Even a small step and improvement is a great success!
The issue of food has affected my life greatly. I know people who say: “Oh, but I want to enjoy food.” You can definitely enjoy food. There is food that is really good and healthy and once you are getting away from foods that are “super-entertaining” (and manufactured to be that way), then you are going to start enjoying wholesome and healthier foods that are actually good for you. These foods are entertaining in their own way – it’s a more subtle entertainment which you have to learn to really appreciate though.
You can substantially increase your energy if you are moving and using your body intensely and regularly. That can be a minimum of walking each day (there’s this thing with 10.000 steps, which is a little controversial as brisk walking is different than very slow walking for example). Still even slow walking (outdoors!) is better than just sitting all day and will increase your energy levels – and it’s a great and simple place to start incorporating more movement into your days! I suggest doing 4 minutes of Tabata exercises in the morning (like suggested on Impact Theory with Shawn Stevenson who is a nutritionist and sleep expert). This helps to reset your cortisol-levels and leads to lower cortisol-levels in the evening (which translates to better sleep). But this not only helps with improving sleep quality but you also get a minimum of exercise done right in the morning. Another thing I do is when I am going to or coming from work I always jog. I like to make exercise a useful part of my day so I use it for routes I would have to cover anyways (it’ about a 5 minute jog each time). I also do some QiGong each day (this is great for joint flexibility and de-stressing) to mobilize the body. I also usually exercise for 20 minutes each day (I’ve been doing only the 4 minutes of Tabatas in the morning recently as I have been fasting). Using your body gives you a lot of energy! I don’t know how exactly it works but exercise energizes – Movement matters!
Let’s go through the steps again and see if you can remember. The first one we talked about was…
1. If you have a clear P…… then you are going to have more energy and you are going to feel more inspired. Your body is going to give you energy, because there is a reason for summoning up that energy within you. Then you are going to get more things done and you are also going to be happier – because there is meaning to your life.
2. The second thing that is really important, if there is a lot of stuff going in in your life is… It’s S….-M………. If you manage your stress very well and if you can decrease stress and let go of unnecessary tension then you are going to have a lot more energy and you are going to be more effective in your life. Also in the evening your levels of stress are going to affect how well you are able to fall asleep. It’s good to solve that problem of stress when it arises (by having proper Stress-Management) – during the day, so that you can enjoy a relaxed evening and refreshing sleep. Your self-talk, especially your n……. Self-Talk is going to have a big influence on your stress levels as well as sleep. If you can have positive self-talk then you are going to be much more relaxed. When you practice having self-awareness via Meditation then you can recognise unnecessary tensions earlier, even before they manifest in your body. If you have good body awareness and you practice improving and aligning your posture, like I explain here, or do some other type of body exercises, then you can also release unnecessary stresses and you are going to have more energy!
Remember: Excess tension is like a cage for energy. The energy is there but it is locked within the tension in your body. You can imagine that once you let go of the tension, the energy becomes free and it can flow through your body. It can flow into the things you want to accomplish in your life. It is a much more pleasant experience this way.
3. The next thing that is kind of the bridge between mind and body (what you do when your eyes are getting heavy) is S….. The quality of your sleep is affected by reducing negative and nourishing positive self talk and a healthy attitude. Also what you can do in the evening before going to bed is to set an I……… You plan clearly in your mind’s eye that you are going to sleep well and maximize the time you are sleeping, whatever the amount of time you have. You set the intention: “Okay. These X hours are going to be enough, my body is going be well-rested and refreshed from these X hours of sleep. There is going to be sufficient energy and I am going to wake up in the morning feeling motivated, happy and smiling. I’m going to be full of purpose, I know why I am getting up in the morning.” You can also visualise the first steps in the morning like: getting up, doing your morning routine (if you have one), or you can visualise eating or having your coffee in a relaxed way and then leaving the house motivated and energized. Setting an intention before bed is going to increase your energy because you are going to be sleeping better (positive attitude) and you are going to strengthen your purpose. Of course you can also use this for your days! By doing positive visualisation and affirmations you are actually shielding yourself from negative, unconstructive self talk because you have set a clear direction. If you do this intention setting in the evening there is going to be much less resistance and negative self-talk in the morning because you have primed (pre-programmed) yourself. If you keep up with this you can really change your habits in a deep way. This is going to help you a lot!
4. Now we are at the body level. The most important thing that we put into our body is our F…. This has a huge impact. What I learned from Anthony Robbins is to use food where you are maximizing your energy levels and not your (momentary) entertainment and enjoyment. You can have enjoyment as well from food that tastes good and that is nourishing and healthy, not from “good” foods (at least largely) and this is going to be an “honest” kind of good. It’s going to be more subtle than very entertaining food. The quality of the food is h… and if the quality of the food is high then your body is going to give you much more energy. It’s not going to be just a short-term burst, where you’ll be happy for a few minutes, but if you eat really healthy and good food then you’ll have long-term well-being. Now you have to discover for yourself what foods suit you, besides just going for natural wholesome foods that have naturally grown and to remember that “the longer the shelf life, the shorter your life“. It is imperative that you make decisions by y……. Because of you let other people (or advertisements) make decisions for you then these decisions are not going to be in your best interest (but in other people’s interest). It’s really worth it to invest the energy in informing yourself because proper food is so important. You’re going to move so much more in a direction that you are truly enjoying than when you just resign to what your environments dictates out of laziness or habit. When you are eating food that has very high q……, then you are going to have more e….. in your body and you will feel happy not for 5 minutes, but for the rest of the day, for the next day and for many days. You’ll also feel proud of yourself for taking charge of this area of your life!
Another thing regarding food that i also recommend is to experiment with reducing or leaving out your evening meal or to read about Intermittent Fasting. Especially not eating heavy foods late in the evening. I’ve found for myself that is a good thing for me. Also I usually don’t snack throughout the day – this removes many unhealthy food choices. This is an example of utilizing a Bright Line decision (4:35 video, very important concept for changing habits effectively). This has helped me a lot in changing habits (even if other people sometimes call me extreme, it simply works!) If you want to go a little more in-depth on eating then I also recommend this (16:21 long video). So by avoiding snacking overall I have more discipline and am less distracted when working This is easier if you are not used to eating a lot of sugar throughout the day, if you are, plus are not happy with that, then you might have to take a look at other things first. Its very important though that what you do feels right to you and suits you. These are merely suggestions, but I can say from personal experience that it is really rewarding to experiment – even if it’s difficult or uncomfortable at times! Remember to take small steps if you want to make sustainable changes.
5. The last thing is E……. If you move your body then your body can detox because the lymph fluid in your body will circulate. Your body is designed for movement. It is said the brain’s foremost function is motor control – movement! So when you are using your body and especially when exercising or doing sports you are not only training your body but also your mind. You are increasing your brain’s performance. What helps too is the increased amount of oxygen – especially when you are moving outside. I like to combine things to make it more efficient – so I jog when I go to work or when I go shopping. Another thing I really like is doing exercise in the early morning, at least 4 minutes of high intensity (where your pulse actually rises and that feels streneous). This way you are going to have a positive benefit throughout the day. Again listen to yourself – if mornings are too difficult for you then it’s better to do it later in the day or even in the evening than not doing it at all. This helps a lot to increase your levels of energy!
Now looking at these steps, if you make a critical assessment: judge your own level of energy, look at these areas that I’ve talked about and find one area where you feel there is going to be the most leverage. Where you feel: “I really have to look at this area”. Then start systematically improving this area (you’ve got to begin simple). You can write down WHY you want to improve this area of your life (both positive and negative consequences) and HOW you could go about doing it. Then commit to at least 1 small action (it’s best when you can take that action immediately like right now after planning to get the ball rolling. That can be a simple 2-5 minute action like throwing away junk food from your kitchen or creating a meal plan.
When you apply this information then you will feel a great increase in your levels of energy! You will have more motivation (because you’re going to feel that you are living your life with P……) and if you do that you are going to have a much better experience and higher productivity. I can say from my own experience: It’s very worthwhile! I love doing it. I love keeping my energy high, by taking care of my Purpose and Attitude, my Sleep, my Stress-Management, eating healthy Foods and Exercise and this has helped me greatly. I can only recommend it. I hope you enjoyed this article and I look forward to talking to you next time!