Low energy can hit any time of the day.
It can happen when your blood sugar drops midway through the day, can arrive at the end of a stressful week, or can be a lingering cloud over your life. Whether you want to boost your energy in the moment, or begin creating a life with fuller, focused energy, these 6 tricks can help you boost your mood instantly.
It’s common to turn to energy “quick-fixes’ like caffeine, sugar, energy drinks, even “healthy” bars and “natural” snacks when you need an energy boost. Food can certainly alleviate some low-energy symptoms, but eating every time you want energy can kick off bad habits.
You body needs fuel, but it doesn’t always need extra calories. Before you reach for the quick carbs, coffee, or energy shakes, try one of these easy energy hacks on for size. They’re powerful ways to wake up, get focused, and get yourself back in the game… instantly.
1. Power Pose
In her groundbreaking research, Harvard profession Amy Cuddy discovered that standing in a “power pose” for just two minutes can actually lower cortisol levels and raise testosterone levels measurably. (1)
What does that mean in layman’s terms? That you can actually drop your stress and elevate your energy and confidence in 120 seconds, simply by changing your body language.
Try It: Stand up and stretch your arms overhead. Hold for two minutes.
2. Prime Your Mind
A technique called “priming” can actually ignite your energy.
Priming is a way of bringing ideas, feelings, and actions to the front of your mind. In his book Thinking Fast and Slow, author Daniel Kahneman talks about the power words and images can have over our minds. Images and words in our environment can actually work as cognitive, emotional, and physical stimuli.
He describes one study, where the actions of participants was actually changed, simply by hanging a photo of money on the wall.
“Money-primed people become more independent than they would be without the associative trigger. They persevered almost twice as long in trying to solve a very difficult problem before they asked the experimenter for help, a crisp demonstration of increased self-reliance. Money-primed people are also more selfish: they were much less willing to spend time helping another student who pretended to be confused about an experimental task. When an experimenter clumsily dropped a bunch of pencils on the floor, the participants with money (unconsciously) on their mind picked up fewer pencils.
Money-primed undergraduates also showed a greater preference for being alone. The general theme of these findings is that the idea of money primes individualism: a reluctance to be involved with others, to depend on others, or to accept demands from others. The psychologist who has done this remarkable research, Kathleen Vohs,
Living in a culture that surrounds us with reminders of money may shape our behavior and our attitudes in ways that we do not know about and of which we may not be proud. Some cultures provide frequent reminders of respect, others constantly remind their members of God, and some societies prime obedience by large images of the Dear Leader.”
If a photo of money can actually make people more independent or less helpful, think of what looking at inspiring photos of athletes, or flipping through a fitness magazine could do to your energy level.
This quick trick can actually prime your mind, or bring it into a new, energetic awareness! This method works with words, too. Say energy-related words like “sun, power, strong, motivated” and you can actually change the way you feel.
3. Use Your Breath
A trick from Pranayama yoga can give you instant energy. Deerga Swasam is a practice yogi’s have used for ages to increase energy. You’ll feel results in 5 seconds, and noticeably change your energy level in just five minutes.
In Deerga Swasam, your breath is slowed down. But, it’s also held. Breathing in and holding your breath while your lungs are full is called “the top of the breath”. Exhaling the air out of your lungs and holding that deflated position is called “the bottom of your breath.
During Deerga Swasam, you breath slowly until your lungs are full, then hold energy at the top of the breath. Start with just five seconds, then let the air out slowly. You may have noticed that the exhalation is twice as long as the inhalation. According to yogi’s, we increase our energy on the exhale. So the longer the exhale, the better.
Try It: Inhale, hold breath at the top of your breath, exhale. Repeat for 5 minutes.
[Related: How to Do Belly Breathing Like a Pro]
4. Drink Cold Water
Water can boost your energy by immediately combatting any signs of dehydration. A lack of water can actually slow the flow of oxygen to your brain, making your body tired and less alert. Give your system a happy wakeup call with a cold glass of water, and keep yourself from the low-energy blues that can come from lack of proper hydration.
The best part? This is a zero-calorie trick!
Try It: Stand up, move, and drink a glass of refreshing ice water.
5. Wake Up Your Senses
Smell is a powerful thing. And while that can be an unsavory truth, it’s also a truth that can be used to increase energy. Consider the chemical processes associated with scent:
“Smell is the most direct of all our senses. When I hold a violet to my nose and inhale, odor molecules float back into the nasal cavity behind the bridge of the nose, where they are absorbed by the mucosa containing receptor cells bearing microscopic hairs called cilia. Five million of these cells fire impulses to the brain’s olfactory bulb or smell center. Such cells are unique to the nose. If you destroy a neuron in the brain, it’s finished forever; it won’t regrow. If you damage neurons in your eyes or ears, both organs will be irreparably damaged. But the neurons in the nose are replaced about every thirty days and, unlike any other neurons in the body, they stick right out and wave in the air current like anemones on a coral reef.- Diane Ackerman, via Brain Pickings
For thousands of years, aromatherapy has used power of scent to support health. You can hack aromatherapy at home with a single vial of peppermint oil. It’s easy to access (you can usually find it online or at your local health food store for less than $10) and is believed to improve mental clarity and raise energy levels. Tap into this instant mood-booster with a single drop.
[Related: DIY Thieves Oil (7 Ways to Use It)]
Try It: Rub one drop of peppermint oil into the palm of your hands. Cup your hands around your nose and breathe for 20-30 seconds. Enjoy the mood boost.
Though every part of you is screaming to slow down, lay down, and be lazy, one of the quickest ways to boost your energy is to start moving. Motion is a powerful force when it comes to igniting energy.
Take Your Energy To the Next Level
Tired of feeling tired? Your body can bounce back to life when you apply my proven three-part formula for boosting your energy, which I’ve outlined in How to Double Your Energy.
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Yuri Elkaim is one of the world’s most trusted health and fitness experts. A former pro soccer player turned NYT bestselling author of The All-Day Energy Diet and The All-Day Fat Burning Diet, his clear, science-backed advice has transformed the lives of more than 500,000 men and women and he’s on a mission to help 100 million people by 2040. Read his inspiring story, “From Soccer to Bed to No Hair on My Head” that started it all.