Coffee, energy drinks and poor-grade chocolate, while certainly effective ways to boost your energy, they’re also the most commonly known stimulants that leave you drained and depleted by the time midday comes.
While your average cup of coffee is full of nutrients and antioxidants, it does come at a cost.
Caffeine is a brain stimulant that blocks the hormone adenosine, once adenosine is blocked your brain activity begins to increase which promotes the release of dopamine, and norepinephrine: two neurotransmitters that make you feel more focused after ingesting a cup of coffee.
But, because of the body’s natural ability to build tolerance, the effects of coffee will quickly start to fade which in turn will leave you wanting to have more of this magical brew, but drinking more doesn’t more energy, in most cases ingesting more coffee will only leave you feeling tired to a greater extent.
Coffee naturally leads to addiction, which can promote withdrawal symptoms once you stop ingesting it.
Energy drinks, chocolate bars, and other artificially produced “energy boost” products fall under the same category. It’s time to stop giving your body things that only provide temporary triggers to your brain, and consider opting for more natural and healthy choices that provide just as potent energy boost, if not better.
1. Matcha Tea
Matcha contains caffeine, which differs from regular caffeine that you find in coffee.
Caffeine in your matcha tea helps to establish bonds with a range of nutrients, rather than spiking your adrenal glands. This process reverses the effect of an adrenaline spike, and instead matcha releases the caffeine over a period several hours, so your energy levels remain balanced and you can remain energized for longer, without that painful feeling of drowsiness.
The L-Theanine amino acid found in your system bonds perfectly with the caffeine that you find in matcha, which helps to regulate the release of caffeine based on your body requirements.
Matcha is also an alkaline drink, versus coffee, which is acidic.
Dehydration is one of the most common reasons for feeling tired, sleepy and unmotivated. Drinking enough water is crucial for remaining hydrated and healthy.
On average men need 3.7 liters of fluids per day, and women need 2.7 liters. All fluids count, including milk, juice, coffee, tea, and even water-rich foods. Thirst and urine color might be better guidelines for staying hydrated. Weather, activity level, illness, and age can all impact water needs. — Greatist
Signs of dehydration usually include feeling lightheaded, stiff in the body, and an overwhelming sense of tiredness. Remember to drink plenty of water!
3. Get a Breath of Fresh Air
Sitting indoors all day is going to leave you feeling awful. There’s nothing worse than being stuck in a cubicle that’s positioned in a four-wall room. Scientific research has shown that spending time outside leads to mental clarity, increase focused, and natural relief from stress.
If you live 10 minutes from work by car, pick days on which to walk to work instead, it will help to start off your day on a more positive note.
4. Cacao beans
Cacao beans (often referred to as cacao nibs) are amongst the planets most nutrient dense foods. Cacao beans contain compounds like serotonin, dopamine, and phenylethylamine. These compounds promote mental well-being, and are often associated as the happy neurotransmitters.
Magnesium is essential for healthy function of the nervous system and to fight against fatigue, just a handful of cacao beans can provide a significant boost towards your recommended daily allowance of magnesium. And unlike coffee, you don’t get that nasty feeling of a crash afterwards.
5. Coconut oil
The medium-chain triglycerides that you find in coconut oil are broken down by your body (liver) and then turned into ketones — a source of energy for your brain. Your body uses medium-chain triglycerides as a source of energy, and coconut oil is rich in these fatty acids that naturally promote your energy. Having just a teaspoon of coconut oil in the morning , virgin cold pressed is the best, will aid your body in fighting against inflammation, while providing better bowel movement and improved energy levels.
6. Meditation & Yoga
Mind feels cluttered, and body stiff like concrete? You won’t find two better alternatives for fighting against mental and physical fatigue than the practice of meditation and yoga. Through the process of becoming mindful of your own body, breath and surroundings — your mind, and the nervous system, automatically enters a state of deep rest, which reduces the number of thoughts and thought-reactions that you have.
In the process of becoming more calm, you find yourself with more energy to spend on things that are important to you. When you’re stressed or angered, your thoughts and emotions follow that same path, which can quickly leave you feeling depleted as you spend most of your energy worrying and thinking about the past, future, and things that bother you, but don’t necessarily change your life in any way.
Read my beginner-friendly guide on how to start meditating at home if you want to incorporate meditation in your daily life.
7. Breathing Exercises
Breath delivers oxygen to your blood and brain, without breathing there’s not much else left than to die, so it’s important to remember to breathe consciously whenever you can.
In Yogic tradition, these exercises are commonly referred to as pranayama — the science of breathing.
Accessing your inner power with your breath is a useful tool when wanting to live your life to its fullest. Pranayama is the control and extension of the breath which awakens Prana (life force energy). Practicing the way you inhale and exhale can help you manipulate your vital energy to successfully activate or soothe your mood. — Gigi Yogini
Through carefully designed breathing exercises, one can promote his own well-being and increase energy levels through mindful techniques that impact the body and brain.
Want to try? Head over to your local yoga studio to learn more, or search YouTube for pranayama exercises. It only takes 1-3 minutes to notice a significant improvement in your energy, worth a try!
8. Green Juices & Smoothies
The nice thing about drinking raw juices and vegetable smoothies is that your body doesn’t have to go through the process of breaking the food down, so all those vital minerals, enzymes and vitamins directly benefit your system upon ingesting. Green juices promote an alkaline state of body, whilst hydrating and providing a boost in energy through the nutrient rich contents.
The energy you get from cold pressed juices, including smoothies, is much lighter than that of coffee, but remains just as energizing as you nourish your body with vital life energy. Mercola has listed other benefits, and the process of making your own green vegetable juices at home.
9. Physical Exercise
Cliche? Perhaps. But physical exercise is a time tested alternative for getting your blood moving and endorphins flowing. The average human can sit anywhere from 5-7 hours a day, which isn’t optimal for physical or mental health. For those without a prior fitness programme, try to incorporate a range of stretches into your daily routine.
Smartphone users can search their app stores for “workout routine” apps that are encouraging to stick with your regular workout each day. Exercise is all about building up energy, and only as little as 7 minutes of exercise can make all the difference in how you feel and act.
10. Be Mindful of Yourself
It’s easy to forget about the most important thing in this world, you. While having responsibilities is part of life, being responsible of how you treat yourself is perhaps the most crucial responsibility one has. Being overly stressed, self-pressurizing, and over indulged in certain activities can quickly detriment your sense of well-being, especially in the long run.
Being mindful of yourself starts with noticing the things that boost your energy, and the things that take it away. As you learn more about your personal psyche and how it interacts with the world, it will become easier to make sound choices and decisions based on what makes your life experience pleasant.
Can you boost your energy naturally?
Those of us who grew up eating snacks for breakfast and lunch are definitely going to feel the effects of this the most, putting poor-quality food into your body for extended periods of times is going to leave some damaging effects, but not all is lost. Through a determined approach of changing your diet, and mental mind state, it’s possible to improve the way that your body expels energy, which will leave you feeling lighter, and with a new clarity in your mind.