Most Americans don't have the energy they would like, and a recent study showed that 31 percent of adults have such severe fatigue that they consider it to be disabling. In fact, the American lifestyle is triggering "the perfect storm" for a human energy crisis of major proportions. Why?
1. A substantial percentage of vitamins, minerals, and other key nutrients are destroyed in food processing. This is why we're seeing people that are both obese and malnourished for the first time in human history.
2. The average night's sleep until 135 years ago (when light bulbs were invented) was nine hours a night. We are now down to less than seven hours, a whopping 30 percent pay cut to our body.
3. The speed (and stress level) of human life is increasing. Where the news media used to have the advertising mantra "sex sells," they now have "fear sells."
The good news? Optimizing your energy production can be easy! Simply follow these four tips, and prepare to be amazed:
1. Feed your body.
Cut back on sugar (except for chocolate in moderation, which I consider a health food) and slowly switch to whole grains and whole foods. In addition, I recommend taking a powdered multivitamin, which can supply many tablets worth of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and energy cofactors in a single drink.
2. Use your body.
When it comes to efficiency our bodies have a very simple "use it or lose it" approach. So get your exercise in—preferably out in the sunshine. And make sure that your exercise is fun. For example, activities like shopping and even sex can qualify as moderate exercise—some studies have shown regular sex can make you appear up to 10 years younger! You can even wear a simple pedometer and aim to get at least 10,000 steps of walking each day. Start slow and work your way up.
3. Rest your body.
Sleep replenishes the body's energy and heals its muscles. Have insomnia? Natural sleep aids can be very helpful. These include melatonin, magnesium, and the herbs theanine, lemon balm, wild lettuce, valerian, passionflower, and hops. Another simple tip? The smell of lavender helps you sleep, so try putting a spray or two of lavender oil on your pillow or upper lip before going to bed.
Don't have time for sleep? Make a list of the things you do each day that you don't enjoy. For example, watching the news often starts to feel awful after five to ten seconds. If so, turn it off! Are there meetings you participate in that you hate and when you really consider it, serve no useful function? Ditch them and use that time for sleep!
4. Follow your bliss.
If you are living a life you hate, don't expect to have abundant energy to keep you flying down the highway of life in the wrong direction. Your body knows better. Make a list of the things you do regularly. Have two columns: one for things you enjoy and another for things that bring you down. For the "feels bad" column, separate items into "things you will be arrested or lose your job if you don't do" and "other things you think you should do." For those things in the last column, start withdrawing your energy from those and shift your focus to the "things that feel good" activities. You'll be amazed at how much better you'll feel and how your energy will increase.
When asked to do something, take a moment to see how it feels. If it feels bad, say no. Doctor's orders!
Another helpful tool? An energy analysis program can help you tailor an energy program specifically for you. So be sure that you are living in a way that actually fills your gas tank with energy instead of using energy loan sharks like sugar or excessive caffeine. Ready to have a high-energy life you love? You can!