Reduce Your Stress to Increase Your Energy
Written by Jean Thorson
Your energy level is vital for the quality of life you want to live. The question is, what is your current energy level? Are you a “dragger”? That person always looking for energy to jump start your day? Or are you a “peak ‘performer”? That person who wakes up ready to share your passionate energy with the world? For those peak performers, you may find that this information is a review to how you go about your day. But, if you consider yourself a dragger, I hope you find this blog resourceful. At least the part about giving yourself a 3-5 minute BREAK in your already overwhelming multitasking day to recharge the brain.
Stress – we all have it – which is not necessarily a terrible thing. In fact, our body needs stress to grow stronger both physically and mentally. The question is, are you able to manage it? Do you know how to recharge your brain daily to provide yourself with optimal energy?
I took an hour out of my busy day to listen to Dr. Heidi Hanna talk about 5 Ways to Reduce Stress and Increase Energy. Dr. Hanna is the founder and Chief Energy Officer of Synergy and the Executive Director of the American Institute of Stress. In her book, Recharge, she explains how to train the brain to manage energy more efficiently in order to sustain optimal health, happiness and performance.
Did you know that our brain has five times more negative circuits than positive circuits causing the brain to always look for safety first before pursuing reward? In other words, our brain is always scanning for threats (survival mode). Add to that the lack of sleep, poor nutrition, minimal movement and/or multitasking from morning until night to the equation and we are on a fast track to burn-out and fatigue.
As a coach who listens to a lot of conversations throughout my day, I notice that fatigue and stress is a common theme. My hope is that by adding these simple steps to your daily routine, you can be on the fasttrack to reducing your stress and increasing your energy level, giving you the life you deserve to live.
5 Steps to Reduce Stress and Increase Energy
Step #1 – Prepare your brain for good quality sleep.
Having a bedtime routine that includes shutting down electronics an hour before you plan to get those 6-8 hours of rest your body needs. The routine may include some meditation music, reading a book, journaling, a leisure walk or light stretching. One great suggestion she gave was to put your phone in airplane mode. A way to say, I’m not available. This way you can still use your phone for the needed things like music, photos, alarms, etc., without being distracted by incoming alerts. Why does she recommend no technology in this down time? Because those electronic devices have electromagnetic fields coming off that can disrupt our rhythm to turn off.
Step #2 – Have a positive morning routine.
Before you pick up that phone, turn on the TV or plug into the computer to see what you have missed in the world, Dr. Hanna suggests doing some morning movement and meditation. Having a morning walk or stretching routine that allows you to think about who you want to be before you think about what you want to do for today is great for stress management. Putting your brain into a gratitude state will help start a productive mindset rather than a reactive mindset. And when you do finally plug into the world, she suggests searching for something funny first – whatever that may be for you! There is proven research that humor helps decrease the stress hormone, cortisol. And don’t be afraid to share it with someone. Because let’s be honest, when we turn on the news these days, it’s usually doesn’t involve things that make us laugh.
Step #3 – Connect with what you’re eating.
It’s so simple, but why is it so hard to eat a good clean diet?! Why, because most of us do not take the time to connect with what it is we are eating. By connecting to what you are eating may help prevent you from emotional eating. We are in such a hurry throughout our day that we need fast and convenient in order for it to work. Truth is, you are in control of your brains vitality by what you feed it. Now we all know there are lots of different diets out there, especially when it comes to fueling our body for recovery, strength building, endurance training and weight loss. Many of our clean eating diets provide what our brain needs. But one that is suggested for those focused on optimal brain health is the mediterranean diet. Not only is it suggested for the type of foods to eat for vitality, but also for the connection to what you are eating. Actually sitting down and enjoying every bite and tasting the food. Taking that quality time to allow your body to properly digest what you are feeding it.
Step #4 – Make movement an all-day priority.
It is rewarding as a coach to see you show up day after day for FUN FITNESS. But, is it enough? Are you giving yourself small movement breaks during the rest of your day? I love the quote that Ari Whitten, author of the book Forever Fat Loss, shared – Are you a BEAST in the gym and a SLOTH outside of it? In other words, do you sit at a desk or on the couch for the rest of your day assuming that your 60 minutes was enough? Dr. Hanna highly suggests that you take a quality 3-5 minute reboot break every hour to regain focus and energy. And while you are at it, encourage those on your team/staff to do the same to prevent those brain cramps that slow down productivity.
Step #5 – Recharge with mini-breaks throughout your day.
These mini-breaks throughout your day may be just what the doctor ordered. Dr. Hanna talks about having a tool kit or list of 10 things that you can do to help recharge you in 3-5 minutes. Don’t worry, 5 minutes of burpees do not have to be on the list. But, these breaks may include: meditation with music or breathing patterns to allow your cognitive state to calm down, journaling, writing a positive note to someone, walking, stretching or connecting with a loved one, friend or pet. And don’t forget humor. Find something that makes you laugh, it really does the body and brain good.
If you would like more information about Dr. Heidi Hanna and how to boost your brainpower CLICK HERE.
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