How to Boost Your Energy Level

Gretchen Rubin on creating your own personal happiness

Feeling energetic is a key to feeling happy. Studies show that when you feel energetic, you feel much better about yourself. On the other hand, when you feel exhausted, tasks that would ordinarily make you happy — like putting up holiday decoratons — make you feel overwhelmed and blue. So here are some tips for giving yourself an energy lift.

1. Exercise. Even a quick ten-minute walk will increase your energy and boost your mood. This really works! Try it!

2. Listen to lively music.

3. Get enough sleep. If the alarm blasts you out of a sound sleep every morning, you’re not getting enough—and it matters.

4. Take a nap. For some people, a 10-30 minute snooze is a big help. I can’t nap, myself, but my father has been known to take three naps in one day.

5. Act energetic. Research shows that when people move faster, their metabolism speeds up. Acting energetic will make you feel more energetic.

6. Talk to friends. I’ve noticed that if I’m feeling low, and then run into a friend on the street, I walk away feeling much more energetic. Reach out if you need a boost.

7. Get something done. Crossing a nagging chore off your to-do list provides a big rush of energy. For a huge surge, clean out a closet. You’ll be amazed at how great you feel afterward.

8. Do NOT use food. It’s tempting to reach for a carton of ice cream when you’re feeling listless, but in the end, all those extra calories will just drag you down.

Energy (or lack of energy) is contagious. If you feel energetic, you’ll help the people around you feel energetic, too. And that makes them feel happier, too.

Editor’s Note: Gretchen Rubin is the author of the New York Times bestseller The Happiness Project.  Each Wednesday is tip day on her blog.

3 comments so far.

  1. avatar Joan Larsen says:

    Face it .   .   . each and every one of us has low times.  Sometimes there are reasons – good reasons — but sometime it is a warning signal that we have run life’s treadmill too fast or too long.  We each have our own description or words for the feelings we have, but we need a time for ourselves for a change.  If it means lounging, reading, doing nothing, getting a good 8-hour sleep three nights in a row, I believe we must go with the flow.  Those that don’t heed the warning signals usually become sick in the 1001 ways one can feel just plain lousy.

    IF we don’t fight it, but go with the flow, take it easy whenever we can, we find that we have built back our reserves.  We may have needed to be alone – and that is fine.  But to me one of the first steps back from that overdone feeling is to call that friend that you can say absolutely anything to and they understand.  They’ve been there too. 

    But I have found the secret of getting back that love of life is to find you are needed, wanted, by another.  Reach out and do something good for another and you have no time to think of yourself.  At work, challenge yourself and not get caught in the status quo that makes every day like every other day.  The idea is to keep your mind stimulated and your body again on the go.  Still a bit uptight?  Loosen up and find someone to laugh with.  Laughter I find is contagious — and others often look on with envy.  You feel good about yourself about then.  I called it “charged up” and finding the good about situations and make them work for you.

    Finding things to love about life and doing them, find people who are not negative and confrontational over just about everything, and you probably will find your energy is back.

    And now if Gretchen would just tell me how to temper my highs, cut back on my enthusiasm a bit, and not juggle so many balls in the air at a single time.  . for that is “me”.  But something within tells me that I have to make the most of life – and that usually means interacting with many others as I move ahead.  I love the feeling — but like everyone else, I DO run out of steam.  It’s inevitable.  And so it is time to go with it — to hide out a bit, rest, just like we all do at times.  People cycle — and we NEED to give our brains some rest as well as our bodies.
    We just have to know it is OK.  The energy will return as we are ready to think about others more than ourselves. 

    It works.  It works really well.

    • avatar mary burdt says:

      Joan—I feel like you were talking directly to me in your comments. Rest when you need to, Mary, go with the flow; connect with a special friend; go on, Mary, even when you feel like hiding under the covers. When my husband died in January, I have never felt so depleted, so alone, so vulnerable, and so afraid. I needed a push, and maybe you have given me that. It is true, we all need to be loved by that someone special. But to be loved, we need to be lovable and that is what I intend to do. It will take me some time to get there, but I will. Mary

      • avatar Joan Larsen says:

        Mary — when we have major traumas – even smaller ones that seem large at the time as they are happening to US, for gosh sake – we must go with the flow.  I hve been there after a death.  Two months later, and I hope I seem almost normal, but then — there is a day that I have to “take to my bed”.  Go with it, don’t fight it.  You have had serious trauma and more and it takes whatever time it takes to recover.  Unless you have the kind of friend who has “been there”, understands and wants to listen, it is better to not talk.  You want release — but the receptive person on the other end is needed.  You don’t want advice.  You want understanding.  It helps to get out your feelings but only when you feel a connection.

        And no, you don’t feel energetic — and why should you?  It is like you have been beaten with a soft bat repeatedly and sometimes you are cowering.  Your brain has to have time to regroup and recover as you do.  There is no magic number on how long that will take. 
        If you didn’t feel sad there is something wrong — this was your husband and you loved him.  You look ahead and you don’t see a rainbow yet.

        Only when you feel like you can be a little of the old you, you venture out.  People express sympathy a couple of times, but if they haven’t been there, they want you to move on.
        It is if you have an illness that takes an indeterminate time to get well.  But when you feel you see a ray of sunlight, try to venture out and begin talking to people without revealing your “story”.  Listen to their stories – hopefully positive instead – and if you hear laughs, all the better.  Let me know when you have had your first good laugh as it foretells that you may be making that baby step forward.  You have the inner fortitude, Mary, and you will come back and who knows where the road ahead will lead you.  But I know this will happen — but just know the setbacks are part of the grieving process and you are healing from the inside out.  Let;s talk again as the days go on.  . or weeks.  I am thinking about you but I am smart emough to know that this is one step at a time but you, in time, will prevail and smile once again.  Joan