Increasing Energy Levels Naturally: Tip #1
One of the most common complaints I hear in my practice is about not having enough energy. Over the next few months, I will share simple practices that can be done to enhance your energy levels naturally. Some may be obvious – but worth restating, while other practices may give you new perspectives that you may not have considered previously.
Increase Your Energy Levels Tip #1: Breathe
By far, the most important tip I can share is remembering to breathe properly. Let me tell you why. Your body cannot heal and repair at the same time as being stressed. When we breathe shallow, quick breaths our nervous system kicks into a fight or flight response. This means that the body is gearing up to take action – either running away or going into combat – both of which require an incredible amount of energy. The body shunts precious resources away from the extremities, away from digestion and cellular repair. The heart rate rises, the muscles tense – the body readies itself to spring into action. This is fine and well when we need it, but often in this day and age we operate in this capacity when there is no immediate danger. There is no proverbial tiger to run away from. There may be deadlines or relationship stressors, but none of these actually require any physical running or fighting in the moment. And so that energy is wasted. Not only that, that energy is not being used for digestion, for repairing cuts, wounds, and for normal cellular repair mechanisms – a double whammy!
A further complication from long term improper breathing and high stress levels is related to your adrenal glands. Cortisol gets released into your bloodstream during a stress response. Short term it helps necessitate the physiological state change needed for a fight or flight response, but long term can lead to adrenal fatigue and burnout. Arguably, many medical conditions can be linked to chronic stress on the body.
So what can we to prevent complications associated with long-term stress? Breathe, and then breathe some more. If you’ve never learned how to breathe properly, but your hand on your belly and experiment! Change the length of your inhale…see if you can feel your ribs, your diaphragm. Become curious about what a deep breath feels like. Become interested in what happens to your body when you consciously slow down your breathing. Even a few deep, proper breaths can signal to your body to return to the parasympathetic nervous system, to go back to tending to the thousands of functions it is responsible for.
Meditation and yoga are excellent choices for learning how to become more mindful about your breath, as well as improving your energy levels. Working with an energy healer can help achieve those states of relaxation. One study in the Journal of Alternative and Complimentary Medicine studied the effects of Reiki on heart rate, blood pressure and more.
In another study in the International Journal of Neuroscience, Qi Gong (a moving meditation focused on the breath) benefited patients with fibromyalgia. And there are many more studies to show the benefits of proper breathing; but we don’t really need to look to science to prove this – we can feel it. If we’re upset about something – irritated, stressed, mad, emotional – there often comes this moment when we realize we’ve been holding our breath, or breathing really quickly. And then as soon as we start taking a few mindful deep breaths, we can instantly feel our stress level lowering, our heart rate lowering, and all of a sudden it’s like we can see again. We start noticing the trees and the colour of the sky, we start hearing children laughing in the background, we start remembering what we were doing before we got upset, and all of a sudden it just doesn’t seem like that big of a deal anymore.
Call it grace, or just your body physiology returning to normal – either way, that natural state of being, where things are okay, is always accessible and only a breath away.