Mind & Body

Body Of Emotion

Sometimes physical health is just a state of mind. Your feelings help determine how well your immune system works, how fast you age, and much more.

Body Of Emotion
Pin it Eva Mueller Illustration By Fumi Watanabe

How to feel more energy
Do you try to do too much too quickly? The results can be frustration, exhaustion, a compromised immune system, and not enough physical and emotional resources to face your next challenge.

"A hidden energy crisis threatens our world," says Judith Orloff, M.D., assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of California, Los Angeles, and author of Positive Energy. "Society throws people into chronic physical, emotional, and spiritual depletion. Multi-tasking lets us manage a deluge of very real duties, but it also jeopardizes the now."

Likewise, rushing depletes energy. "We haven't been taught to guard positive energy, to see slowing down as a virtue," says Orloff, who suggests examining the pace of your life to determine whether it supplies energy or siphons it away.

Here are seven strategies from Positive Energy for cultivating just that:

1. Ask yourself: "Does my pace feel good?" But first, give yourself a break from your usual flow of thoughts. Sit quietly, eyes closed, and take a few long, deep breaths until you're relaxed. After a minute or two, go ahead and ask the question. You know you're operating at just the right speed if your answer is yes.
2. Then, assess your need for speed. Start asking yourself: How does my pacing feel at work? At home? On vacation? With friends? Rely on intuition for answers.
3. If you're a multitasker, take 10 minutes to work at a nurturing pace. Use that time to do only one thing--answer e-mail, talk on the phone, read a report--and don't let your focus scatter. Do you feel more energetic? If so, savor that feeling and build on it. And don't sweat the time out. "Energy never lies," Orloff says. "If you work at your right rhythm, you will be more productive; trust me."
4. When time is crunched, plan mini-breaks to energize yourself. For just a minute, take a few deep breaths as you touch your intuitive center between your eyebrows (press lightly with two fingers). This heightens your focus and brings you back into balance.
5. Commit to at least one self- compassionate action a week. "Planning regular downtime nurtures positive energy," Orloff says. Schedule a nap, a movie, or time to sit still and listen to music.
6. Prioritize your to-do list. Recognize that not everything has to be tackled today. Do what is essential, and stop there.
7. Get completely absorbed in doing just one thing. Whether you are playing golf or filing papers, take a little time each day to fully inhabit your body.