How to have more energy is easy when you understand the root causes of low energy and use four easy-to-apply tips to address them.
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As a high school teacher, I always thought deadening exhaustion at the end of the day was inevitable. I felt compelled to take a nap, like there wasn’t any way I’d be able to stand up another minute. Snickers bars and Dr. Pepper were my go-to for energy.
And that was before I had kids.
Once I had my kids, the times I resorted to sugar and caffeine for energy increased. I knew this choice wasn't healthy for me. Surely, I didn’t have to follow an unhealthy route. Unfortunately, I lived this way for over a decade, trying different forms of exercise, decreasing caffeine, etc., but nothing decreased my low energy.
A Deeper Root Cause
Other health symptoms indicated my low energy had a deeper root cause, such as monthly migraines and irregular menstrual cycles.
While doing my doctorate, a colleague introduced me to Chinese medicine, and I began looking at my body as a whole system. I understood more about what food to eat and why.
Additionally, Chinese medicine taught me how moving more throughout the day and spending time in nature are essential.
You can benefit from my experience, first by learning more about what causes low energy and then by understanding other health consequences that arise from not addressing this problem.
Finally, you’ll be able to make changes right away with four easy-to-apply tips that address the root causes of low energy.
What Causes Low Energy
The secret for more energy is balance.
In other words, if all parts are working together, you will feel energized and vital. You can fall out of balance by fighting against the forces that could serve you. Some of the forces are internal and others are external.
Internally, you will suffer from low energy when you fail to eat nourishing food.
Food is crucial to generate both blood and energy. Without enough food, a person can have too little blood, or the blood can be too thick. When these problems occur, the muscles feel fatigued, headaches pound away, and lethargy sets in. The organs also cannot do their jobs correctly.
Healthy Kidneys and B Vitamins
For example, the kidneys and adrenals (part of one system in Asian medicine) need B vitamins. Without B12, the adrenal glands cannot control cortisol secretion. If insufficient B8 levels occur, the adrenaline-induced stress response gets out of control. B5 helps the body respond appropriately to emotional and physical stress.
Benefits of Vitamin C
Vitamin C also plays a role. Deficiency of this nutrient leads to a decrease in glutathione, which reduces free radicals and fights age-related adrenal fatigue. Food also generates the electrical energy necessary for the body to function.
Your body constitution tells you more about imbalances in your body. You can learn more about body constitution here and take the body constitution quiz to discover your current health state.
How to Have More Energy by Charging Your Energy System
All body systems have an electrical component. Without food, the heart cannot pump, the spleen and stomach cannot digest food, the small intestine cannot absorb nutrients, the lungs don't remove toxins effectively, etc.
The net effect of not eating whole foods is that people's bodies suffer from what is called energy stagnation.
Think of a light switch in your home.
When energy is flowing and you turn on the switch, the light turns on. If the breaker has blown or a wire is faulty, the light stays dark.
The same is true in the body. If there are blockages, energy cannot flow, leading to less and less energy over time.
How does low energy affect your health or overall well-being?
If not attended to early, you can develop chronic fatigue syndrome. Symptoms include feeling tired and achy, suffering from sleep problems, experiencing nervousness, and struggling with poor digestion.
Chinese medicine described this condition thousands of years ago. Even at a less intense level, low energy affects your relationships, job performance, mood, blood pressure, metabolism, and immune system.
Have you even noticed that you feel cold when you're tired?
This symptom indicates that your body is depleted and cannot support even the simple function of circulating qi and blood to keep you warm. More importantly, the source of all disease in the body is low energy or blocked energy.
Where energy is blocked, the body is diseased.
Think of a stagnant creek. Water isn't flowing and the creek smells foul, algae covers the surface, and all life weakens and dies. The same is true in the body. Long-term illness, chronic pain, and even cancer result from low energy that is not treated. Making a wide range of health mistakes can cause blocks and stagnation.
4 Tips for More Energy
Tip #1: Eat whole, unprocessed food that is cooked and/or fermented.
First, whole food has nutrients your body uses to create the blood and the electricity needed to function optimally.
When the food is already cooked or fermented, the body does not have to work so hard to digest it.
Based on studies out of Asia, you can actually absorb more nutrients from cooked or fermented foods.
Tip #2: How to Have More Energy is to Breathe deeply.
When you breathe deeply, your sympathetic nervous system slows down and the parasympathetic nervous system kicks in.
This relaxation opens the energy circuits in your body and regulates adrenal gland activity. It also boosts energy by increasing oxygen and decreasing toxins (the lungs clear over 70% of the body's toxic load).
Tip #3: Go on a walk.
Ideally you should walk in a natural setting. As you walk, breathe deeply if possible. Just being in a natural setting helps.
Wherever you look, you see plants growing, water flowing, clouds moving etc. These all evidence the energy of nature around you.
It helps when you realize your body, like any part of an energy circuit, takes in this energy. People in Japan even go so far as to do what's called forest bathing. They go to the forest, cover themselves in leaves, and rest.
Tip #4: Do qigong.
Energy is the source of life. It flows through all of nature and through the human body.
In qigong, it is described as “vital essence" or “Qi." This energy creates health, harmony and well-being. Qigong warm-ups, stretches and flowing movements help release chronically-held tension and stress, open healing energy through the body, and ignite life force energy.
You can enjoy a wide range of free and membership only qigong classes here on Radiant Shenti. Learn more about our teachers and enjoy some of their classes.