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Health & Spirit

Power-Ups! When Your Energy Stalls, Flip a Switch

Marilynn Preston on

I wish I could make you cut back on sugar, breathe away your stress or eat only grass-fed beef. But wishes are like dishes: You usually have to do them yourself. What I can do is introduce you to "power-ups": moment-by-moment strategies to spark joy and boost your well-being.

1) DANCE TO ENHANCE

The Setup: A stressful workday has ended. You're exhausted. You'd planned to lift weights at the gym, but it takes all your strength just to stumble home and collapse on the couch. Where's your energy? Where's the remote? Where's the wine?

The Power-Up: Start the music. As soon as you get home, crank up Lady Gaga or a playlist of your favorite tunes and -- without thinking, without excuses -- start dancing around the house. You don't need a partner, shoes or even clothes.

The payoff is immediate: just five to 15 minutes of musical movin' and groovin' is a great way to get your heart pumping and your mojo jumping and to rapidly turn your body from lazy to crazy for more action.

The Follow-Up: Did you know that listening to music while you exercise can increase your stamina? It's true. One study found that cyclists could ride 25 percent longer when listening to music. The faster the beat, the quicker we tend to move, whether it be walking, running or riding the rowing machine.

Next time you feel your workout slowing to a crawl, crank up the music and watch what happens!

2) FEELING TIRED? ENERG-EYES!

The Setup: Your big party is starting in 20 minutes. You've been working hard all day, cooking, cleaning, hiding things in closets. Now the company's coming and you feel like the wettest of dishrags. No time for a nap. No time for a walk. You've got to re-energize fast or risk being your own party pooper.

The Power-Up: Take matters into your own hands. Sit down at a table or desk. Put your elbows on the surface in front of you. Close your eyes, and cover them with the palms of your hands, pressing gently against the entire eye area.

As you do that, breathe deeply, noticing the sound of your inhalation and your exhalation. Let go of thoughts, worries and expectations. When your mind wanders, and it will, come back to the sound of your breath. After a few minutes, take your hands down and open your eyes slowly, consciously. You should feel refreshed and ready to host a magnificent party.

The Follow-Up: What actually happens when you listen to your breath? It's a simple, ancient and very effective way of clearing your mind of useless chatter and focusing it on a single point.

With that deep attention comes a kind of calm that is profoundly restorative. Listen with your ears but also listen with your spirit. When you open your eyes, allow your heart to open as well, and pour that love into your guests.

3) EXERCISE YOUR HEART

The Setup: It's Saturday morning, and you're still in bed. You've been waiting for the weekend all week. Now it's here and you can't move. You tell yourself to get up; jump on the bike; go to the gym. Your self tells you to shut up; stay under the covers. You feel listless, restless, useless.

The Power-Up: Give your heart a dose of vitamin C. Exercise compassion -- the energy-boosting vitamin C that recharges your batteries and boosts your self-esteem. Take a few hours to do something useful for someone else. Tutor a kid. Clean a stream. Gather up your unused toys, clothes and books and recycle them to the needy. The universe rewards us with energy and good feelings when we give selflessly to others. Try it.

The Follow-Up: Doing for others gives you energy. So does doing for yourself. Does that sound like selfishness? It's not. Denying yourself pleasure blocks the free flow of joy in your life. What can you do in the next 24 hours that would bring you joy? A massage? A mango? Two hours of uninterrupted reading? Big or small, do something special for yourself. Be grateful you have a self.

ENERGY EXPRESS-O! PASSION IS A POWER-UP, TOO

"Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you." -- Oprah Winfrey

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Marilynn Preston is the author of Energy Express, America's longest-running healthy lifestyle column. Her new book "All Is Well: The Art {and Science} of Personal Well-Being" is available now on Amazon and elsewhere. Visit Creators Publishing at creators.com/books/all-is-well to learn more. For more on personal well-being, visit www.MarilynnPreston.com.

Copyright 2017 Creators Syndicate Inc.
 

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