Welcome back to Part 2 of our series on how to elevate your vitality to the next level!
Last week we talked about five easy energy-boosting practices that are guaranteed to give you a lift. This week we’re going to ramp up the difficulty. The ideas we talk about today are going to take more time and effort to integrate into your lifestyle. The good news is that once you start practicing these habits you’ll notice many benefits besides just an increase in your energy levels.
6. Lift Weights
By now you’ve heard that strength training is one of the best activities you can do for your body. Most everyone agrees that it helps you look better, feel better and be more active. However, not every knows that lifting also increases your energy level.
Working out makes you happier. This study following law-enforcement officers shows lifting weights improves your mood, satisfaction and productivity and lowers overall anxiety and depression.
Don’t have several hours a week to work out? Not a problem! It turns out you only need 11 minutes of strength-training per day, three days a week to increase your energy, metabolism and fat burning ability.
Three days a week still too much? Even a single resistance workout can help you sleep better, recover faster and think more clearly.
No matter which you choose, any form of strength training will perk you up and put a little spring back in your step.
7. Take a Weekly Sabbatical from Work
What if you could take a vacation one day out of every week? What if you had one 24-hour period out of seven when you didn’t have to do any difficult, stressful or draining activities? Does it sound too good to be true? There are actually millions of people in the world who take a day off every week.
Traditional Jews abstain from work during their weekly Shabbat that starts Friday at sundown. They spend that time relaxing with family, resting and attending religious services. Many Buddhist countries observe a weekly Uposatha for prayer, meditation and giving alms to the poor. Seventh-Day Adventists are also known for resting from work duties during their weekly Sabbath.
But it’s not just religious groups who have learned the value of a weekly mini-vacation. Brian Tracy, best-selling author and success expert, believes that taking at least one full day of rest every week is critical to high achievement. “Every single study in this area,” he says, “shows that you will be far more productive…if you take one or two days off completely than you ever would be if you worked straight through for seven days.”
What if you own a business? Can you still be profitable if you’re only open six days a week? The craft retailer Hobby Lobby and the fast food restaurant Chik-Fil-A are both closed nationwide every Sunday. In 2016, Chik-Fil-A posted $7.8 Billion in sales, Hobby Lobby was at $4.6 Billion. So yes, you can be very, very profitable.
Taking weekly time off reduces stress, cuts inflammation, boosts your immune system and helps you sleep better. Studies even suggest it will help you live longer!
Think of all the things you could do with a day off every week. You could spend more time with your family. Go to the lake. Hike in the mountains. Take a long nap. Catch up on your favorite book. Play games. Eat a seven course meal with a great bottle of wine. The possibilities are endless.
The body needs regular breaks. So does the mind. Just like working out your muscles, you can’t work every day or you will eventually break down. So pull out your calendar and force yourself to take the time off. Schedule it. Like any habit it’s going to be hard to put in place but the rewards will be well worth it.
8. Sleep At Least Eight Hours Every Night
If you want to live a highly productive and successful life, you must schedule the optimal amount of sleep for yourself. One-third of all Americans get insufficient sleep every day. This is a serious problem because deep, REM sleep is a requirement for every part of your being.
If you don’t get the appropriate amount of Zzzs, your brain won’t work as well. Problem-solving, logic, reaction times, alertness and awareness have all been shown to drop sharply when you’re tired.
The same thing is true for your muscles and tissues. Elite bodybuilders know that sleep is one of the foundations for getting stronger. While your body rests, protein is synthesized, growth hormones are released and tired muscle fibers are rebuilt bigger and better.
Good sleep makes you happier and healthier. Your body processes stress better when you get a full night’s sleep. In addition, your immune system gets a boost, aggression levels go down and mood-stabilizing chemicals are balanced.
Think you’re fine with only 4-5 hours a night? Think again! One of the biggest problems with sleep deprivation is that it ruins your ability to make accurate decisions and judgements. The Exxon Valdez oil spill, the Chernobyl disaster and the explosion of the Challenger shuttle can all be traced to bad decisions made by sleep-deprived individuals.
How much sleep do elite performers get? Here’s a quick list:
Usain Bolt (6 Gold Medals, sprinting) – 8-10 hours every night
Rafael Nadal (14 Grand Slam tennis titles) – 8-9 hours a night
LeBron James (4 MVP titles) – 12 hours a night
Steve Nash (2 MVP titles) – 10 hours/night plus 1-2 hour naps on game days
Roger Federer (17 Grand Slam titles) – He needs 11-12 hours of sleep or he “doesn’t feel right.”
Ariana Huffington, CEO HuffingtonPost – 8 hours plus naps
Jeff Bezos, CEO Amazon – 8 hours
Jennifer Lopez – 8 hours
Matthew McConaughey – 8.5 hours
Ellen DeGeneres – 8 hours
9. Remove All Negative People From Your Intimate Circle
Yup, you heard me correctly. ALL negative people. Not some. Not most. All. This means nobody is immune. If your wife won’t stop saying terrible things about you then it’s your responsibility to get divorced and find someone who will appreciate you. If your boss keeps telling you you’re stupid, the only way to get ahead is to leave him in the dust and find a new gig. If your dad always calls you a pathetic loser, your self-esteem will never improve until you’re out of range of his bullshit.
Energy is contagious. Positive or negative, it doesn’t make any difference. It’s all energy and it’s all going to affect you. Take control of your circle. Fill it with great people. If your circle is currently full of unhappy people, go out on your own and start a new one. Search for great, upbeat, positive minds. They’re out there – and they’re looking for you!
Of course you’re not going to be able to cut all negative people from your life. You can’t control your neighbors, your co-workers or your family. But you CAN drastically reduce the amount of contact you have with those people.
Instead of having lunch with your negative co-workers or associates, eat elsewhere or eat quickly and then excuse yourself (you have a phonecall, you always take a lunch walk, you need a nap, etc). With negative neighbors who want to complain about their lives, either politely excuse yourself or listen for a few minutes, offer a few positive thoughts and then escape.
Family is harder. Your sister calls every day to talk about her failed marriage. Your mom constantly texts you that she is fat, ugly and worthless. Your unemployed Uncle rants every evening about how the government is the reason he can’t get a job.
As a Superior Man, you want to support your unhappy family but sooner or later something is going to give – either they’ll get more positive or you’ll get more negative. If you’ve already spent hundreds of hours counseling these people it’s probably time to reduce contact.
Try talking to them only one or two times a week and for shorter periods of time. Have positive subjects or maybe fun joint-projects to discuss. Be upbeat, enthusiastic, loving and then leave as soon as you can. If your family is particularly toxic, you may need to physically move to another house – or even another city.
Remember, whether you want it to or not, your environment is ALWAYS shaping you. If you don’t consciously choose who has access to your time, you will never be in control of your own success and happiness.
10. Cut Refined Carbs Out of Your Diet
Ever get tired in the middle of the day? There’s a very good chance your breakfast is to blame.
The average American breakfast includes one or more of the following: Frappuccino or sweetened coffee drink, muffin, sugar cereal, white toast or bread, danish, donut or an energy drink. What is the common denominator in all of these foods? Every one of them is full of refined carbohydrates.
So what are refined carbs? They’re formed by taking a whole carbohydrate – like Whole Wheat – and stripping that wheat kernel of its healthy, outer covering. In many cases that modified carb is then bleached and other chemicals are added. In essence they’re an unnatural food product. Refined carbs don’t exist in nature. There are no plants that will give you table sugar, corn syrup or white rice.
Here are four studies (out of hundreds) showing how processed carbs are linked to Type 2 Diabetes, Inflammation, Heart Disease and Cancer.
Okay, so maybe this stuff isn’t great for us. But are they really that big a deal? According to Facebook, there some new cancer-causing substance pretty much every day. The problem, like so many things in our modern world, isn’t about quality – it’s about quantity.
The main dietary sources of processed carbs are white flour, white bread, white rice, pastries, sodas, snacks, pasta, candy, breakfast cereals, added sugars and processed foods. In other words, basically everything on the American diet. This means we’re getting huge quantities of refined carbs every single day. This is a big problem for our pancreas.
Refined carbs turn into sugar in our bodies and if we eat too much sugar our insulin level spikes, our appetite is unbalanced, our mood swings and suddenly we go from upbeat and energized to asleep on our desks. The only way to combat our fatigue is to reach for more sugar and so the cycle continues. Spike. Crash. Spike. Crash.
Even worse, the cycle gets stronger over time. How strong? One shocking study proved our craving for sugar is even more powerful than an addiction to cocaine!
It’s important to note that carbs themselves aren’t bad! Whole carbohydrates are THE BEST SOURCE of fuel for the body. Vegetables, whole grains, whole cereals and fruits are all excellent for the body in healthy proportions.
In fact, for most people, even refined carbs are acceptable in small amounts. The key is moderation. Just like alcohol, you need to exercise caution. A teaspoon of sugar in your daily coffee, a donut once a week or the occasional white rice in your sushi will be fine. The problems come when you start eating those processed foods regularly.
So be careful. Treat refined carbs like any potent, addictive substance. And when in doubt, avoid them altogether. Your quality – and quantity – of life will improve.
Bonus – 11: Ejaculate No More Than Once a Week
You are probably thinking I’m crazy at this point. Only have sex once a week? Even worse, only masturbate once a week? Unless you’re 90 years old, a Tibetan monk or Varys from GoT, I’m pretty much telling you to do the impossible. Right?
Actually, according to Taoist Sexual Philosophy, ejaculating 4x a month is not only possible, it’s an incredible way to:
– Increase your overall daily energy
– Help you last longer in bed
– Give you more self-control in life
and the biggie
– Enable guys to have multiple-orgasms!
We’ll be talking more about Tantric Sexuality and Non-Ejaculatory Orgasms in future posts. For the moment, you can read a great overview on the topic here at Nateliason.com.
Until then, have a great week! Live with more energy!
Photo credits: Thomas Ashlock, Brad Neathery, Becca Tapert, Noah Grezlak, Morgan Basham, and Sharon McCutcheon.