Wednesday, May 7, 2008

How to Increase Your Energy

It takes more distress and poison to kill someone who has peace of mind and loves life." Bernie S. Siegel, M.D.

As a motivational speaker conducting leadership training and keynote speeches around the world, I'm often asked to combine the topic of leadership with "life balance" and stress management. Here are 15 easy tips that will help you increase your energy, enthusiasm and reduce stress. And if you're in a leadership position, how can you be an effective leader and set a good example if you are not motivated and energized to perform good work?

1) Get enough sleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation in Washington, D.C., 65% of Americans are sleep deprived. Try to get at least seven hours of sleep per night.

2) Go to bed and wake up around the same time each day. Within the same hour is ideal. Researchers at Stanford Universitys Sleep Disorder Center have found it is possible to catch up on sleep during the weekends, but this can also upset your circadian rhythms and leave you more tired on Monday morning.

3) Do not eat or drink anything within one hour of your bedtime. Your body will only have to work harder to digest your food, which interrupts sleep patterns. By drinking liquids right before bedtime its more likely youll have to get up in the middle of the night.

4) Put your nervous system on glide at least one hour before retiring for the night. You can do this by using soft lighting (no more than 25 watts) relaxing music, a scented bubble bath with candles or some other quiet activity. Try avoiding work at least three hours before you go to bed as this can energize you. The same is true with exercise.

5) Drink plenty of water during the day. Dehydration causes you to feel fatigued even if you are eating healthy and going to bed at a reasonable hour.

6) Plan at least one activity during the day that gives you pleasure and energizes you just to think about it.

7) Socialize with others. Make certain you spend quality time with other adults during the day. And if you work outside the home, preferably where you can discuss something besides business or the kids.

8) Exercise in the morning. Depending on your biorhythms and schedule, many attendees in my speaking engagements report that morning exercise gives them increased energy and a sense of greater calm during the workday. They often tell me they have to drag themselves out the door, but feel so much better afterwards.

9) Take a hot and cold shower to increase your energy. Upon awakening in the morning, take a hot shower with eucalyptus oil sprinkled on a loofah sponge. End with a shot of cooler water. This will invigorate your body, stimulate blood flow and bring oxygen to your cells.

10) Pour on the protein. Foods rich in protein help improve mental acuity and slow the absorption of carbohydrates. Eggs, fish, low fat dairy, nuts, seeds, peanut butter, also meat and poultry if youre not a vegetarian. Still, make sure you include plenty of other foods for moderation.

11) Cut back on caffeine. If you love coffee or colas (coffee lovers I can relate) cut back and consider adding green tea to your daily regimen. Green tea contains powerful anti-oxidants and less caffeine. It has enough caffeine to perk you up but usually not so much that you experience that crash later in the day.

12) Have a goal of taking at least two weeks vacation time a year. Work your way up to three and four weeks a year. Start taking off two days per week, if thats at all possible, where you refuse to do any type of work that would tax your mind and stress you out. If you are very busy or self-employed like I am, make this something to strive for in the future.

13) Spend time actually planning a getaway vacation. For many of us, staying home for a holiday is nice, but were still surrounded by bills, laundry, phone calls and other stressful distractions. Consider a goal of taking that dream destination vacation youve always wanted whether its to Tahiti, Paris, or a national park. If this seems virtually impossible, I strongly recommend you read the article titled How to Set Goals and Get What You Want under the free articles section at I dreamed of an Alaska cruise for many years, practiced the simple time-tested techniques in that article, and cruised there for a third time in May 2005.

14) Get outdoors every day even if its overcast. Where I live in the Pacific Northwest, winters are normally gray. Winter 2005 was unusual with its turquoise-blue sunny skies and temperatures reaching almost 70 degrees in January. However, its a proven fact that with reduced sunlight, many people all over the world suffer from SAD, Seasonal Affective Disorder, during the winter months.

15) Listen to mood enhancing music during the day. What type of music energizes you and gets those feel-good hormones into your brain? Blues and jazz? R&B or rock and roll? A word of caution: be careful listening to your favorite music right before bedtime. I sometimes listen to contemporary smooth jazzlots of saxophone and trumpets late into the night, and often it energizes me rather than putting me to sleep.

Take personal responsibility for maximizing your success and minimizing stress. You cant control many external circumstances such as other people, traffic and weather; but you can control your environment. Write down three action steps youll take to improve your well-being. Share these with someone. Develop a buddy system for accountability. When you write them down and commit to them, youre more likely to follow through. Heres to much success and less stress!

Colleen Kettenhofen is a professional speaker, author and workplace expert who has spoken in 47 states and six countries. She is co-author of The Masters of Success, as featured on The Today Show, along with Ken Blanchard and Jack Canfield. Colleen's most popular topics: leadership and management skills, dealing with difficult people, public speaking. To order the book, or for more free articles and e-newsletter, visit, Colleen is available for keynotes, breakout sessions and seminars.

You are free to reprint or repost this article provided Colleen's name, website and email are included at the end of the article.


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