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Do you want to boost your energy without having to pound another RedBull or going for the afternoon cup of Joe? This episode is for you. A lot of people struggle with fatigue, or are just sapped of energy on a regular basis. I believe that increasing energy is one of the most powerful ways to have a more happy life and I want to share things that can help you boost your energy without caffeine.First, a word on caffeine. I don’t have anything against caffeine other than that it was the stimulant that triggered my first panic attack ever. So ever since then, I have chosen not to consume caffeine to boost my energy and I have had to find other ways to keep me awake when I’m having a tired day. The other thing is that caffeine doesn’t actually produce energy in your body. It is a stimulant. It basically tricks your brain into thinking that you have energy, but it doesn’t actually have the building blocks of energy that your body needs.So here are some ways to boost energy without having to rely on that cup of Joe every day.

1. Hydration

If your urine is not pale yellow or straw colored, you need more water. Dehydration can suck your energy, make you moody and even cause joint and muscle pain.

2. Move more

Stretching or simple yoga, dance, go for a walk.

3. Eat smaller meals more often

Instead of 3 meals, eat smaller meals more often. This helps keep blood sugar levels steady. Avoid large amounts of sugar and fat (AKA most baked goods).

4. Optimize your Breathing

Increasing oxygen flow to your body is an amazing trick to help you feel energized. Yoga can really make you feel energized at the end, not just because you are stretching and moving, but because you have been focused on breathing the whole time. I recently used a device to measure my breathing while I wasn’t thinking about it and found that my breathing was quite shallow while I work and most of the time. This isn’t always a bad thing – research shows that breathing while you are in an intense focus is more shallow and frequent than when you are sleeping, for instance, but it was very interesting to be given a reminder to breathe deeply when I hadn’t for over an hour.

5. Sleep better

Adults should get 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night, and should never drop below 6 hours consistently. I have been using a sleep tracker that tells me how I’m doing in my sleep habits. Some studies show that you can develop what researchers call sleep debt and sleep credit. If you have been consistently getting less than 6 hours of sleep, you might be accumulating sleep debt that can be very bad for energy and for all kinds of things.Make sure your room is dark, cool, and quiet. If you can’t keep it quiet, try introducing a gentle white noise that can drown out noises that may disrupt sleep cycles.Don’t just set a wake up alarm, set a wind-down alarm or two to help remind you to start winding down for the night.If you need help winding down and sleeping better, check out my evening routine for boosting positive emotion here.

6. Eat Things that will boost energy

Raw cacao (I like nibs)

Chia seeds

Eat more spinach (or food with B-vitamins). These help you convert nutrients you eat into energy

7. Decrease Your allostatic load

Any spikes in stress increase cortisol and adrenaline in your blood. This increases your allostatic load, which overtime if you are constantly stressed or anxious, can be exhausting. 

What can you let go of today? What can you include that decreases stress? Who can you connect to today? 

Mindfulness can decrease your allostatic load. One study showed that LKM for just 10 minutes a day altered the size of the amygdala in the brain (which is primarily responsible for perception of threats and spikes in anxiety).

8. Connect to your Purpose and Values

Stress comes from constantly spending effort on something that you do not value. 

Energy comes when you set intention toward something that you deeply value and that you believe is helping you accomplish your purpose in life. 

Look at the activities you engage in each day and ask yourself, “how is this connected to what I value most?” Or “is this something that is helping me connect to my purpose in life?” 

In her book The Upside of Stress, Kelly McGonigal talks about how we can convert threat-based stress into challenge-based stress by connecting the stressful event to something you deeply value. When stress turns from threat to challenge, instead of being sapped by stress, you are energized by it. This is one of the upsides of stress, according to Dr. McGonigal.

9. Rock out to your favorite tunes

Belting out your favorite song gives you a lift, according to a study in the Journal of Music Therapy. Researchers measured people’s arousal levels after singing along or just listening to one song and found that the subjects felt more energetic after crooning. Hitting those high notes requires some effort, triggering a stress response that gives you a boost, the researchers say. Too shy to sing? Tapping along to a song can have the same effect.

10. Connect to People You Love

There is a story of a man who was doing a service mission in the South Pacific who got caught in a storm while sailing between two islands. His boat capsized. He was thrown into a relentless ocean and the storm wasn’t letting up. His energy was sapped and he started to think that it was over for him. He even began thinking about what people would think when they heard he had died at sea. Then he remembered his girlfriend who had been sending him letters from the United States. He knew her love for him and believed deeply in this connection. As he thought of this love, something inside of him took strength and he was given the energy to keep swimming and save his life. 

Who loves you? When was the last time you connected with them? Can you connect with them and reach out to them to boost your energy? You also might help boost their energy too. 

11. Look forward

What are you looking forward to?

Having something to look forward to can boost your energy and increase positive anticipation. If you don’t have something already to look forward to, add something to your calendar right now. You deserve it and it will boost your energy.