Office Zombie Bad! How to have more energy at work-naturally.

I really get it.  You don’t want to be a zombie at work.

It’s a bust for you, and it’s generally not the best way to score points with your boss. And I know, our modern lifestyle often looks insane–working extreme hours, crashing late every night, under-slept, under-hydrated, quick meal breaks that consist more of “proprietary processed ingredients” than actual whole foods.

I’m not gonna lie–in those moments of exhaustion, it’s f’ing tough to resist the urge to reach for the 5-Hour Energy shot or whatever other chemical fuel is in grabbing distance. The typical strategy is “just maintain”. Keep your head down, carry on and treat yourself better when you get home–or when you retire.

Harken to me Hero!  There is another way!

more-energy-at-workHow can you have more energy at work, without The whole point of holistic wellness is to steadily introduce simple, free, and immediately available alternatives to the less-than-healthy habits you may have gotten yourself into.

Here’s a simple analogy for building up a reliance on external, chemical boosts of energy: each time you use coffee, energy drinks, candy, carbs, pharmaceuticals and the like to stave off fatigue or give yourself that extra boost, you are withdrawing from your savings account.

Remember, we build up a savings account for emergencies, for big purchases, to rest easy at night, and to accrue interest over the long-term. In this analogy, your body’s ability to naturally produce, maintain and increase its own clean energy is your savings account, and the interest is the sweet energy abundance that shows up as positivity, as consistent action, as personal resiliency.

But caffeine, simple or processed sugars and other “pick-me-up” substances have a high toll on the body and this savings account–especially when used every day. By substituting a foreign and artificial substance into your body each time you start to get tired, unfocused or in a low mood, you are teaching your body to depend more and more on these outside inputs instead of strengthening your body’s natural ability to do the same thing–and this exhausts your savings.

And a day comes when you realize the cup of coffee isn’t simply providing a quick boost, but has completely taken the place of any natural vibrancy you may have once had. Remember the comical yet depressing reality of the E-Z chairs from Wall-E? Yea, it’s like that.

I promise you this: it is totally possible to generate an abundant enough inner savings account that your daily interactions (professional or otherwise) are paid for by the interest you accrue off this healthy savings.  Does that sound good?  Keep reading =)

Here are few articles exemplifying the intense side-effects and potential dangers of these chemicals taken daily:

Caffeine

• http://www.livestrong.com/article/128501-negative-health-effects-drinking-coffee/
• http://www.livestrong.com/article/206896-coffee-health-risks/
• http://news.softpedia.com/news/Top-14-Coffee-Effects-on-Your-Health-70537.shtml

Energy Drinks

• http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/the-health-dangers-of-energy-drinks/
• http://www.thesportjournal.org/article/energy-drinks-effects-student-athletes-and-implications-athletic-departments
• http://www.energyfiend.com/energy-drink-side-effects

 Processed Sugars and Artificial Sweeteners

• http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/nutrition/refined-sugar
• http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/nutrition/artificial-sweeteners
• http://naturalbias.com/how-sugar-can-ruin-your-life/

And yes fellow Superhero, I know I am already preaching to the choir.  So let’s do this thing!

A quick disclaimer.

I drink pu-erh (fermented Chinese tea) almost every morning. Ever since living in Argentina, I love me a good Maté. I’ll even have a latte at my local cafe once every week or two. And I have an incredible soft spot for home-baked ginger cookies and Trader Joe’s mango sorbet.

I am not an absolutist, saying something is completely to be avoided (within sensible reason). My main priority with this and other articles is to offer more wise choices and balance into your daily life and overall lifestyle.

Taking the first steps.

What other option is there when fatigue hits, you’re still in the middle of your work day, and you’ve gotta show up strong?

Below, I offer you three methods to keep you alert, intelligent and Red Bull free. These methods are simple, immediately effective, and fabulously free (and actually help to build that inner savings account over the long-term).

1. Self-massage for your face. (two minutes)

A simple face massage has been shown to:

• improve mood
• reduce mental stress
• stimulate focus and creativity
• relieve nasal-sinus congestion
• relieve cerebral-sinus pressure (relieves sinus headaches)
• relax eye strain (from too much computer use or reading)
• boost immune system response through lymph stimulation and detoxification
• increase circulation
• decrease wrinkles
• increase vibrant and glowing skin

Amazing huh?! What’s more amazing is that this technique has been passed down through the living wisdom of preventative medicine. Thanks ancestors (historical high-five!).

Use the guided exercise below to learn a super simple self-massage that will leave you fresh and alert, and looking more youthful and attractive (which, in the end, is what this is all about right?).

2. Breathe, damn you! Breathe! (two minutes)

more-energy-at-workConscious breathing is like a good magician’s trick–it’s so obvious we look right past it.

Right past it to coffee, Red Bull,and Youtube viral videos (475 million views, really?!).

Controlled breathing is used by yogis, singers, musicians, asthmatics, long distance runners, orators and Office Awesomeness heroes (including you)!

Now, it has been found that most of us have adopted very unhealthy breathing habits that we enter into unconsciously throughout the day.

There are many negative effects linked to unnatural, improper breathing patterns, as well as many positive effects linked to natural and healthy patterns.

Now, some of the many benefits of deep or complete breathing:

• calming and focusing the mind
• reduction of physical tension and stress
• natural painkiller (by releasing endorphins)
• improved organ circulation (deep breathing movement massages internal organs and blood vessels)
• releasing toxins (body is designed to release 70 percent of its toxins through breath!)
• better digestion (by massaging the vagus nerve and stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system)
• strong immune response (again, vagus nerve and parasympathetic response)
• less internal inflammation (healthy breathing reduces the acidity of blood and body, thus reducing inflammation and even creating a cancer-resistant environment)
• reduction anxiety (note that deep breathing may have the opposite effect in a panic attack)
• gain conscious control to release fear, anger, shame, and other negative emotions
• improves spinal cord, nerves and brain (through increased oxygen in the body)
• reduces impulsive eating and weight gain (better breathing means nourishing your body more fully through ways other than eating)

Holy crap–healthy breath is amazing (and fabulously free)! And, when you learn to inhale through the nose, you are adding the benefits of warming, humidifying and cleaning the air that enters your body.

So, let’s learn a simple and effective method of deep breathing.

The cool thing is that you can be super-stealthy with this breath, practicing in public to experience the numerous benefits listed above.

3. Chew your water—seriously. (30 seconds)

more-energy-at-workNow, I know the colloquial phrase “chewing water” means ‘impossible’, but just bear with me. The practice here is to chew a mouthful of water–plain and simple.

Before you start to give me that incredulous look (yes, that look), hear me out. There is both an ancient art and modern science to chewing water. The sages of India, China, Mongolia, Egypt and other ancient cultures maintained that our saliva is richly encoded with our personalized metabolic profile (though my bet is they did not use that exact term).

When you chew water, this living metabolic information mixes with the water (also full of living information) which is then swallowed and dispersed through your digestive system.

These sages taught that doing this practice keeps your body in better overall balance and tuned in to its nutritional and biochemical needs.

Now, if that is too woo-woo for you, here is a modern scientific angle, provided by the American Health Institute (www.ahealth.com):

• 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated.
• In 37% of Americans, the thirst mechanism is so weak that it is often mistaken for hunger.
• One glass of water will shut down midnight hunger pangs for almost 100% of the dieters studied in a U-Washington study.
• Lack of water, the number 1 trigger of daytime fatigue.
• Preliminary research indicates that 8-10 glasses of water a day could significantly ease back and joint pain for up to 80% of sufferers.
• A mere 2% drop in body water can trigger fuzzy short-term memory, trouble with basic math, and difficulty focusing on the computer screen or on a printed page.
• Drinking 5 glasses of water daily decreases the risk of colon cancer by 45%, plus it can slash the risk of breast cancer by 79%, and one is 50% less likely to develop bladder cancer.

If you think you are feeling a hunger pang or an overall energy slow-down, especially between meals and at other odd times, reach first for the glass of water than for the trail mix or candy bar. Chances are good that your body was really asking for hydration all along.

This practice will keep you super-hydrated, and it will also cut down on overeating. What’s more, when we are snacking at work, we are reaching for salty, sugary, carb-based processed foods anyway.

And it is exactly these kinds of foods, eaten when the body is not hungry but thirsty, that will seriously slow down your physical and mental energy.

Second, when you chew, you stimulate saliva production. Saliva is an amazing substance that contains among other things amylase and lysozyme. These two substances have powerful benefits to the body, including:

• cleaning the mouth of stuck food particles
• inhibiting bacterial growth in the oral cavity
• improving freshness of breath (by cleaning and disinfecting the mouth and throat)
• sending an extra boost of digestive enzymes to the stomach
• making respiration easier by coating the mouth and throat
• tricks the body into greater alertness because it thinks food is coming.

So by chewing your water, you activate saliva production, which is then able to work its magic in your mouth, throat and GI tract.

When you combine the first and second scientific points, you get the modern support for chewing water at work to stay alert and healthy!

Now, this is a super-simple technique, and really doesn’t need to be over-thought:

1. Take a swig of water
2. Chew it good until it becomes more viscous or thick (usually about 30 second)
3. Swallow
4. Be healed!

Imperfect Action

Now, these methods aren’t about “getting it right” (I really dislike that mentality). The point instead is to start seeing your environment differently, start listening with more sensitivity to your body, and realizing you have many more positive and healthy choices that are simple, free and within immediate reach.

Try each of these out, but don’t get overwhelmed. It is much better to give a full try to only one of these techniques than to try all of them and get flustered. Really put these techniques and principles to the test, seeing the results that you get–regardless of what I or others say. These results speak most loudly. But, give each technique a fair and thorough try.

And again, these are the techniques that have been passed down through living human history, forming the foundation of simple and free preventative self-care. Own your heritage human!

Grateful to spread the good word,
Eka, aka SuperSpark

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