Positive Energy: the Most Valuable Currency You Have

Generate good vibes through physical, mental and emotional health.

By SHARE

The most vital currency we have, worth more than its weight in gold, is our own energy. Without it, life feels like a burden. With it, happiness seems attainable. Where you spend your energy and how you replenish your energy are two of the most important things to consider in your daily living. Choose wisely.

There are three areas to concentrate on to increase your positive energy and sustain it throughout the day: physical, mental and emotional. Below are positive ways to add to your energy bank. I've also added action steps to take to stay on your positive energy track.

EXERCISE

• Working Out

Exercise conditions your heart, lungs and blood vessels to regulate energy. Working out also helps increase blood flow, pumping oxygen through the body, which is energizing. Physical activity also helps relieve stress, which improves energy levels as well.

[See: 7 Mind-Blowing Benefits of Exercise.]

• Neurotonic Training

This type of training has been used to help people with adrenal issues because it helps stimulate the nervous system but doesn't overtax it. People with slower metabolisms need to excite the nervous system just enough to have some excitatory hormones kick in like adrenaline; too much can put them at risk of adrenal fatigue and slow their metabolism even more. Great Neurotonic exercises include "light" sessions of boxing or martial arts where there intensity follows a sequence of "go," then "slow". Sessions should be kept short, to 20 minutes or less. 

Physical Action Steps

• Try shorter, challenging workouts.

• Incorporate active recovery workouts like yoga, swimming, hiking and foam rolling into your workout regimen.

• Be sure to warm up and cool down during workouts, and try stretching in the morning and at night to balance blood flow.

DIET

Superfoods

Foods high in micronutrients (antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, essential fats, probiotics, digestive enzymes, etc.) are usually low in calories. Because they are so nutrient-dense, you don't need to eat very many of them to feel satisfied and energized. Superfoods to add to your diet include: chia seeds, açai berry, gogi berry, raw cacao, raw young coconut and maca.

[Read: Upgrade Your Health With These 7 Superfoods.]

• Morning liquid fasts

You can dramatically elevate your energy by fasting on liquids such as freshly juiced veggies with fiber from the pulp or added fiber through chia seeds, for example. Fasting is not for everyone and usually not a good idea if you are going to do a hard workout afterwards, but for many people, the increased energy you get from fasting is more stable than the "caffeine jolt" from coffee.

Your blood sugar is naturally low first thing in the morning from being used during your sleep, so when you drink your juice, you will instantly feel the natural "sugar" in it because your body wants to replenish energy. The added fiber will help slow the digestion of this sugar and help sustain your elevated energy without creating a sugar "crash."

Nutrition Action Steps:

• Incorporate one superfood into your diet each day.

• Do not skip meals.

• Drink half your bodyweight in ounces of water per day – keep a 1-liter water bottle on your desk, and drink three bottles by the end of your workday.

MENTAL HEALTH

Meditation

Many studies have shown the effectiveness of meditation on reducing stress and improving energy. Calming practices like meditation help to stimulate the parasympathetic portion of the autonomic nervous system, or the "rest-and-digest" system. This helps bring the body into balance and restore energy. A good 20-minute meditation has been shown to be as effective on energy levels as a good night's sleep.

[Read: 3 Meditation Techniques for Beginners.]

• Deep Sleep

Getting the right amount of deep sleep, one of the stages of your circadian/sleep cycle is vital for energy. This is the stage where many of the "excitatory" hormones are produced and regenerated. Lack of quality deep sleep will reduce these hormones and may lower your energy levels.

Mental Action Steps:

• Meditate daily by downloading a guided meditation app or getting a guided meditation CD or DVD.

• Address the root of your stress by facing it head-on with good communication, and ask for help if you need it.

• Shut down your computer and phone a few hours before going to bed, and keep your room dark and quiet to avoid waking up in the middle of the night from the light and sound.

EMOTIONAL HEALTH

• Mantra

Having a good mantra to help inspire you throughout the day, like "I am fearless," is a great way to stay positive and energized all day. The more emotionally connected you get to your mantra, the more energy you will have. By searching for ways to create your own personal mantra or find existing mantras that resonate with your spiritual being, you increase your positive energy before you even speak them.

[Read: Your Brain on Om: The Science of Mantra.]

• Music

Music has the power to evoke emotion. I've personally found that combining the right music and movement along with an effective mantra can be life-changing. Not everyone has the same taste in music, but everyone can benefit from the emotional and energetic impact music can have on the mind and body. Investing the time to scour iTunes, an online streaming service or even a record store will create a sense of responsibility for your own well-being that you may not have experienced without hand-picking your choices.

Emotional Action Steps:

• Write down mantras that you like and start saying them out loud consistently. The act of writing, then speaking them will create a shift in your energy levels.

• Put in the extra time to fine-tune your choices so the songs will create a seamless energy infusion throughout the day. Use iTunes, Sirius Radio, Sound Cloud, Pandora and Spotify.

• Assess your emotional progress to adjust as well as celebrate your improvement. 

Hungry for more? Write to eatandrun@usnews.com with your questions, concerns, and feedback.

Well known for his work as a trainer on NBC's The Biggest Loser, Brett Hoebel is one of New York and Los Angeles' most popular fitness and nutrition experts. In addition to his certifications in nutrition, yoga and functional training, Hoebel was trained in martial arts (Capoeira and Muay Thai kickboxing) and has a pre-med, neuroscience background. He is the founder of Hoebel Fitness, a body-mind approach dedicated to inspiring healthy living, as well as the creator of in-home lifestyle-fitness programs RevAbs, reVamp, and his new 20 Minute Body program to debut in 2014. Hoebel believes in "fitness from within," acknowledging that a healthy life starts by changing yourself from the inside out.