“I just need more energy doc. What can you give me?” With tiredness becoming more prevalent in today’s society, this is becoming one of the most common questions I hear in my practice.
Many people feel tired without really understanding why, and often believe there must be an underlying medical cause. Sometimes, there may be, but most of the time, the answer is much more simple.
According to the UK Royal College Of Psychiatrists, it is now thought that 1 in 5 people feel unusually tired and 1 in 10 have prolonged fatigue. With additional concerns around health and safety, fatigue is now recognized as a workplace hazardfor both employees and their colleagues. But if there is no medical cause for tiredness, what can we really do to help?
Most successful approaches are based around the law of conservation of energy. We don’t create or destroy energy, we just receive and expend it. So if we apply this in a practical way, we can see that low energy levels are most likely to come from expending more energy than we receive. In crude terms, if we’re feeling tiredness all too often we’re either not getting enough energy from our environment or using too much energy on our daily activities.
Sounds a little too obvious? Maybe, but applying this practice has had incredible effects on the energy levels of my patients and clients over the years. The most successful ways I have found to help people naturally increase their energy include the following:
1. Eating whole foods
Taking the correct form of balanced nutrients that our bodies need can have remarkable effects on our energy levels. It’s not uncommon to feel tired and lethargic after a large unbalanced meal full of starchy carbohydrates and processed foods, and a recent study confirmed that a whole food diet can significantly increase our energy levels.
2. Drinking more water
According to Harvard Health, fatigue is one of the first signs of under-hydration, and there are many health benefits to be gained from drinking more water. Studies have shown that even mild dehydration can affect mood and energy levels in both women and men.
3. Deep breathing exercises
Dr. Andrew Weil, a leader in integrative medicine, has written extensively about the art and science of breathing. With many of my patients and clients over the last two decades, we’ve found that regular deep breathing exercises can increase energy levels in the space of moments. The next time you happen to feel tired, try taking 10 deep mindful breaths from your diaphragm and notice how much better you feel.
Every day can potentially bring stress into our lives. Equally so, it is important to include a daily activity that helps relieve that stress. Mindfulness activities are most beneficial in achieving this, with meditation in particular being scientifically proven to help reduce stress and anxiety and also shown to increase our energy levels.
5. Head outside
Spending time with nature for just 20 minutes each day has been shown to help increase energy and vitality, according to a 2010 study in Rochester. Lead author Richard Ryan concluded that “nature is fuel for the soul” and also helps people build resilience to physical illness. The study also noted that even simply recalling outdoor experiences helped to increase feelings of happiness and health.
6. Review your daily interactions
Every single day we get to decide how we want to expend our energy. As stress is associated with fatigue, it is essential that we become more conscious of how we’re using our energy. Don’t constantly over-stretch yourself. Become wary of what -- or who -- may be draining your energy. Save your energy for the most deserving causes. And be sure to take some time out for yourself every single day to rest, recuperate and recharge.
There are other ways to help with medically unexplained tiredness, and the best approach will always depend on the underlying physical, mental or social factors that contribute towards tiredness. As it was recently shown that the vast majority of tiredness symptoms are mainly thought to be related to lifestyle rather than genes, it’s always worth remembering that a lifestyle problem also needs a lifestyle solution.
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This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com. Minor edits have been done by the Entrepreneur.com.ph editors