Last week I introduced you to the first 5 of my 10 Energy Commandments; 5 simple – though not necessarily easy – ways to add energy to your life. I hope you tried at least one new idea last week and are keen to keep moving ahead on the quest for more energy NOW.
Small steps to great gains, in key areas of your life every day. That’s your goal. Below I share the last 5 commandments. If you missed the first five read last week’s blog.
The 10 Energy Commandments represent vital body, mind and spirit activities that will help you get ENERGY NOW. Read each commandment, make the effort to imprint the ideas as they apply to you… and take a step. Thou shall not let yourself down!
1) Thou shall move your body every day
2) Thou shall make healthy food choices most of the time
3) Thou shall drink more water …SERIOUSLY!
4) Thou shall get enough sleep and relaxation!
5) Thou shall seek happiness
6) Thou shall be kind to others
Imagine a world where everyone is just a little kinder. When you’re trying to merge into traffic, someone lets you in. When shopping, you allow a person in a hurry to go ahead of you in the checkout line. You get back to your car and find someone has put money in the parking meter.
Rushing ‘break neck’ through our day, we so often forget that how we relate to ourselves and others is much more important than the things we do. Much of the time we hurry through activities so focused on the outcome that we miss the life affirming interactions along the way. Begin your own kindness campaign by engaging in one small intentional act of kindness every day.
Why? Research shows kindness makes us happier and healthier. People who perform random acts of kindness report being happier, and when the acts are varied – holding the door open for a stranger, helping someone with directions, doing a roommate’s dishes – those happy feelings last longer than if you were to perform one act of kindness repeatedly.
Beyond happy feelings, kindness is good for your health. Those who regularly help people have better mental health and lower rates of depression, and tend to have better immune systems. Kindness can also help regulate emotions, which has a positive impact on our health.
Go through your day with an openness to be kind. Walk with your head up and eyes open. Connect with people. Look for opportunities to engage, help, and be kind. One small kind act a day is good for your health! Chapter 11 is all about the energizing benefits of kindness.
7) Thou shall get in touch with your emotional health
“I don’t want to talk about it.” Why is it that even the briefest mention of emotions can make some people very uncomfortable? It’s true it would be easier to avoid the hard feelings like fear, anger, guilt, sadness or frustration but emotions are a part of our human make-up and we can’t always ignore the bad and embrace the good. That’s a quick route to having the energy sucked out of you!
Emotional health is about understanding the emotions you have at your disposal and using them in ways that promote health. It’s about communicating more openly with the important people in your life and listening more closely to your own heart. It’s not about shutting away the stuff that doesn’t feel good and hoping it will go away. There’s a good chance it won’t.
In the big picture there is no quick fix for improving emotional health and perhaps that’s why a small steps approach works in the fight to make improvements? It’s simple, but it’s not easy. Begin now to pay attention to your heart. When you’re feeling ‘off’ dig a little deeper to determine what’s eating you. Rather than shut down communication during challenging conversations begin with honesty and say “This is hard for me, but I will try to tell you what I’m feeling.” And don’t ever be afraid of seeking outside help to connect more healthfully to the challenging inside work.
8) Thou shall exercise your grey matter
You might be thinking “Why do I need to exercise my grey matter? I think every day!” It makes sense intellectually that your physical body needs regular exercise, but your brain? Yes, it’s true. Your grey matter benefits from exercise in much the same way your body does. It grows when you challenge it regularly and make it work harder than it’s used to.
Just like in your muscles, the neurons in your brain fire when activated. And just like in your muscles, if you’re working harder you generate more ‘fire power’ and lay down a stronger foundation for – in this case – more smarts!.
You know how ‘brain exercise’ feels if you’ve ever tried to solve a difficult puzzle or tried something new and unfamiliar. You have to think harder … and while you’re doing that your brain is ‘pumping iron’.
Life is not about routine. When you try new things or challenge yourself intellectually, the break from routine will bring about big benefits.
Try something new. Have a conversation with someone on a topic you’re unfamiliar with. Do puzzles, read more, take a class, learn a language. Stretch outside your comfort zone and strengthen your brain!
9) Thou shall prioritize yourself DAILY
So much to do and so little time to do it. You’ve already absorbed a fair bit of information that could lead to overwhelm, but don’t fret. Remember, this book is all about small steps to great gains. I know this is the 9th commandment but perhaps it should be the first, because the first step toward energy now is to prioritize yourself … first … even in small steps.
If you don’t make an effort to put yourself on your daily ‘to do’ list you know you’ll be overlooked … wait, you already have been overlooked haven’t you? Well, it’s time then to make that extra effort and carve out just a little bit of time each day where you do something just for you.
Start small if you have to. 5 minutes of peace behind a closed bedroom door, a 10 minute walk on your coffee break, 15 minutes to sit and read your book at lunch; just make sure you do it daily and make sure it’s something just for you. Put yourself back on your own ‘to do’ list and start to feel the power of prioritizing YOU.
10) Thou shall exercise good judgement DAILY
I’ve said this many times already. Change is challenging. And in the busy day-to-day rollercoaster ride that is life, the status quo – or what we already know – is vastly easier to wrap our heads around. When fatigue and stress are high we default to what is familiar out of habit or laziness or lack of awareness. When fatigued we’re more likely default to the couch instead of the gym. When we’re stressed we most often default to comfort foods over healthier options. When work gets busy we regularly default to task management over business or career development. We don’t exercise our best judgement. We choose what is easy and tell ourselves “I’ll get to it next time.”
In the new plan ‘next time’ is now. Be aware of every ‘in an instant’ decision you make that will bring you closer to more energy now. Start today. Keep at it! Do it for yourself!
10 commandments. You can take them or leave them, but you’ve come this far so why stop now? I say TAKE THEM! Keep taking small steps toward the new you. Remain open-minded. Good things are just around the corner.
The holiday season is when we typically abandon our exercise, healthy eating and rest so by the New Year we’re 5 pounds heavier and kicking ourselves for not being more disciplined.
THIS YEAR adopt a small steps approach to self-care. When relatives descend and holiday parties overtake your schedule you can still take care of your health through small, meaningful efforts. Short walks, healthy snacks between big meals, a nap on the couch, lots of water between parties. Embrace the fun of the season.. Take small steps to ENERGY NOW and visit Energy TV for great video tips.
Michelle Cederberg, CSP (Canada’s Newest Certified Speaking Professional) MKin, BA Psyc, CEP
Helping people with full schedules and a long list of responsibilities maximize their personal energy.