Tag Archives: Energy

Looking for the Good Within

Breathe, and take a moment to think about how you truly feel in these uncontrollable times. We all feel some level of anxiety, some more than others. How we manage and handle this anxiety will impact both us and those around us. 

There is COVID-19 news everywhere we turn and we feel like a pressure cooker at home, lonely, anxious and ready to explode. Some of us feel lost and unable to control things for us and our loved ones. What feels overnight, we have been confined to our homes with or without family members.

As it is said that,” You can’t calm the storm… so stop trying. What you can do is calm yourself. The storm will pass.” We need to gather ourselves and stay calm for ourselves but also our elderly, our children and the immune-compromised. 

What can I say to help you in this time of need? What if we tried to change your thought process by changing your frame of mind? Can we try to change the story you are telling yourself? At this time, tell yourself that the Universe is giving the world a chance to reset itself by slowing down, for you to look at life from a different perspective and reconsider our ways. Sometimes taking time to do nothing brings everything in perspective.

We realize that we are deeply interconnected with human interaction that we have taken for granted. Becoming aware of what we had and being grateful for the smallest of things we have now, will help us move forward. You are alive and breathing if you are reading this and we need to feel the warmth of gratitude. You may like to place a ‘gratitude jar’ in your home and let everyone put in a slip for expressing what they are grateful for. You will realize that there are chaos and difficulty in the real world, but you are still able to find things that you are thankful for in this present moment. Writing and reading these slips of gratitude will help change your thought process to look for the good! As I mention in my book, ‘You Are the Cake’, “The simple daily act of gratitude can lower our stress levels and ground us for a healthier and happier life… Be in the moment and feel how fortunate you are in so many ways. Count your blessings.” Read these slips of gratitude and over time your mind will automatically look for the good. 

Send out your positive vibes to others and those suffering. But in all this do not lose focus that you must practice self-care and compassion. You have time now to spare, so sit down and be steadfast and reduce your anxiety. Don’t give all your attention to the external world. Look for the good within. How do you do this and reduce stress? Meditation, Visualization Tapping are different ways of achieving this (you can find more information in my book, You Are the Cake). At this time of need, I have made the kindle version available at virtually no cost to everyone.

Here is a short Metta or loving-kindness meditation and visualization we can use to reduce our fears and send out positive vibes to the world. 

  1. Sit in a comfortable position, close your eyes.
  2. Breathe in and out regulating the breath. 
  3. Visualize yourself, your family, your loved ones, the community and the people of the world one by one.  
  4. Say this in your mind with a feeling of compassion.

May I and the others be happy, safe and well. 

May there be peace, wellness, and love. 

All is okay 

  1.  Continue breathing with calmness in every breath. 
  2.  Close your eyes and picture that you are gathering all your negative stressful thoughts. Visualize yourself taking a broom and sweeping up all the negativity. Picture it being put into a bag and thrown away. Let go of this stress and move forward towards looking for the good. 
  3. Visualize yourself calm, well and happy. Breathe, be grateful and open your eyes gently. Let that smile linger on your face and in your heart. 
  4.  Feel the stillness deep inside and keep some energy and balance within.

Mental and social isolation can get to one. I suggest that you connect with your friends and family via phone, video conferencing, emails or so many more ways. I can video-chat, participate in group calls or multiplayer social games with my friends. This laughter and connection make me feel good and centered.   

Listen to the fact that we need to shelter-in-place to provide safety and flatten the curve of this deadly outbreak. To those who can offer help to the elderly via shopping or other errands, please reach out safely. You can donate to the families of the first responders, our heroes or the homeless. Donate blood at the Red Cross. Some people are printing 3D face masks for the responders, others sewing masks. Do whatever you can to help this hurting world. Working on a hobby will keep you focused and fulfilled. I enjoy painting and trying to sing, but when I do then everyone leaves the room!

We can take turns becoming a balm for each other. Let’s not worry about being perfect or getting it all right. Know that you are doing the best you can. 

Reduce your stress, be in the moment and be grateful for the smallest of things. Stress makes you believe that everything needs to happen right now while faith assures you that everything will happen at the right and perfect time. Have faith and move towards looking for the good. 

Geetanjali Arunkumar is the author of ‘You Are the Cake’ and a wellness coach. 

How to Preserve Your Energy

This is not a discussion on conserving energy resources given by Nature like oil and gas. This is a discussion on conserving the energy we human beings possess at the individual level so that we can make the optimum use of the resources that are given to us: the body and the mind. It is too common to miss the obvious and concentrate on things that sound glorious, all the while ignoring that which is nearer to us and that which can be accomplished easily. It is a fad today to speak of conserving energy, of mapping non-conventional energy sources, and of decreasing our use of non-renewable energy sources. In the momentum and intensity of such discussions, most of which do not find practical solutions, we forget that each one of us has been blessed with tremendous sources of energy in the mechanisms of our body and mind. We need to focus on how to harness these sources that we possess to excel in our endeavours.

Our body is a storehouse of energy but unfortunately, we not only do not know how to use it, but often times we waste its energy without bringing any good. Most people use their limbs for purposeless actions. Abusing physical energy is so common that some people think it is the natural course to take. It is really ironical that most of the times people put their bodies to severe stress and misuse its energy in the name of recreation or leisure. In the pretext of resting their bodies, most people just torture it. The ancient sages of India were very particular about the energy of the human body and acknowledged even the minutest expenditure of energy like that which is expended while we blink our eyes. The first step in preserving our energy is to preserve our physical energy, the energy that is produced by and contained in the body. It is surprising how much physical energy can be saved by just doing a rapid mental calculation about the work and motion involved in any action.Yoga begins with the taming of the physical body. Only a body tethered in silence and moving only on purpose is fit for yoga. Needless swaying of heads and moving of limbs creates a strong disturbance that percolates to the deeper recesses of the mind.

Just like a camera consumes energy even if it is just switched on, similarly our sense organs consume energy even if they just stay put on a particular object. The best way to conserve the energy of the sense organs is to restrain from taking in any sensory input that one does not need. Then, the eyes would see only what has to be seen, the ears would hear only what has to be heard, the tongue would taste only what is to be tasted, the skin would touch only what has to be touched, and the nose would smell only what has to be smelled. Trained in such a fashion, not only would the distraction caused by the senses be reduced to a bare minimum, the sensory experience of such trained senses would be accentuated and superfine with a remarkable intensity.

We constantly blame the mind for distractions and for losing focus. Our complaint is that the mind is wandering all the time. Imagine a person who is served several plates of mouth-watering dishes at the same time, all dishes exuding mind-blowing scents, and served with royal dressings. How can that person concentrate on only one dish then? Such is the predicament of our mind. It is constantly being simultaneously fed several sensory inputs. When the eyes see, all the other four senses do not shut down and so is the case with the other sense-organs. Much like a person,who is aware of the usage of electricity,would switch off the electrical appliances that are not needed; we should switch off our sense-organs that we are not using at that momentThat would lead to an enormous energy surplus in our body.

In preserving the physical energy the importance of sleep cannot be overemphasized. Numerous present-day ailments can be cured by a regular and full dose of sleep. Conservation of individual energy has to be done at the level of breathing also. Long and sustained breathing cycles help the body to be calm andand have better reflexes. It is not for nothing that all traditions of martial arts give tremendous importance to the control of breath. This also shows the importance of living in pure and unpolluted environments.To produce a good breathing cycle, we need to also eat nutritious and wholesome food. It is quite common to have one’s body spend lot of energy on digesting unwanted or improper food that was supposed to give energy in the first place!

Human beings possess an exceptional intellectual capacity. Most of it is squandered in unnecessary ruminations on things that are of no use either at the individual or the collective level. To focus our thinking and analysis is an art that has to be perfected in order to get the most of our brains. Precision of thought and a daring to do intellectually daunting tasks preserves and also invigorates our intellectual energy. A thorough grounding in logic helps one to eventually transcend all linear thought. A trained intellect can ably rein the mind.

In the pursuit of the preservation of individual energy the biggest challenge is preserving the energy of the mind, mental energy. Thoughts consume the mind. To preserve the mental energy and also to preserve the mind itself, one needs to constantly question the need for a particular thought to arise in the mind. Brooding on the past and worrying about the future are the most common leaks of the mental energy. When our mind is drained of its energy, it goes into ill-health commonly known as psychological ailments that could range from a minor bout of depression to an acute incidence of schizophrenia. Daydreaming and fantasising also rapidly consume the mental energy. To train the mind from abstaining from activities that needlessly consume its energy, one should root it on a theme of focus that the mind would hold on to when it does not have any purposeful activity to do. Too many attachments clutter the mind. A minimalist lifestyle and a detached attitude help the mind to focus its energy and prioritise its goals. Strong attachments are like forgotten anchors that do not allow the ship of the mind to move forward. Uncluttering one’s mind from attachments and unrealistic expectations helps the mind to behave in a trained and disciplined manner. With less and less of garbage the mind would not have to suffer its stench!

If one can preserve the mental energy, then it leads to the preservation of the intellectual and physical energy as well. Such conserving of energy is one of the first steps towards a spiritual life.

Swamiji is Editor of Prabuddha Bharata.This article was first published in the Prabuddha Bharata, monthly journal of The Ramakrishna Order started by Swami Vivekananda in 1896. 


To read same article in Hindi.

To read same article in English.

Skyrocket Your Energy Level

Do you ever watch a group of kids at play and wonder where they get all that energy? If you were able to bottle all that vim and vigor, you would make a fortune selling this elixir at offices in early afternoons or at the juice bar in the local fitness center.

You are not alone when you get that sagging feeling in the early afternoon, or when you just don’t have quite enough oomph to finish your exercise routine.

There has been a proliferation of energy drinks and “healthy” granola bars in the market, as the solution to replenishing that empty fuel tank.

However, most of these highly sweetened liquids and foods use sugars to give your body a quick energy boost. The catch is, not only do you exhaust the sugar-supplied energy very quickly; it also slows your metabolism down and can further hinder you’re the progress towards your fitness goals.

The good news is, there are a number of other things that you can do to increase your energy levels…naturally. Some of it has to do with shift in dietary habits, while others involve lifestyle changes, and then there are exercises that immensely help fill up your energy reserves.

Dietary Energy Boosters

Reduce your sugar consumption
Sugar causes energy fluctuations that contribute to fatigue. Eat foods and snacks that are high in protein and good, complex carbohydrates, the source of energy.

Increase your iron intake
An iron deficiency is responsible for much of the chronic fatigue. Eat foods that are high in iron and take a good, natural iron supplement.

Drink lots of water
A dehydrated body tires easily, so stay hydrated with frequent glasses of water.

Eat smaller and frequent meals
Large meals, particularly lunch, will contribute to that groggy feeling in the early afternoon. More frequent meals stabilize insulin levels and keep your metabolism up throughout the day.

Eat brain food
Consume healthy fats like those in fish and green leafy vegetables to boost your brain function and provide energy.

Eat healthy snacks
A snack of protein, complex carbohydrates, fresh fruits and vegetables will keep your blood sugars at a consistent level all day long. Protein combats fatigue and builds muscle mass to appear toned.

Whole grains take longer for your system to metabolize and give a steady supply of energy, not the quick, short-lived burst that sugars supply.

Enjoy your cup of coffee but don’t over do it. The initial rush from caffeine is not long-lasting and will leave you fatigued and dehydrated.

Eat lots of fiber
Fiber promotes satiety and the slow release of sugar will give you sustained energy throughout the day.

Lifestyle Changes for An Energy Boost

Practice deep breathing
Breathing with your abdominal muscles will increase your oxygen intake to improve your lung capacity and increase overall stamina overtime.

Start your day with a big breakfast
Your body needs a jump-start in the morning and a good, well-balanced breakfast rich in protein and complex carbohydrates is the best way to start the day and feel fresh for a long time.

Stop smoking
Smoking depletes oxygen and in turn reduces stamina to leave you feeling fatigued.

Sleep with the sun
Sleep hormones are linked to natural light. Going to sleep early helps you awaken naturally without requiring an alarm.  If it is still light outside, create the illusion of darkness by using heavy curtains to block off sunlight and streetlights, switching off laptops, cell phones and other gadgets to prepare your body for a restful night of sleep.

Read before going to bed
Establish a sleep ritual like reading before retiring. It helps block out other noise in your mind and helps you fall asleep faster.

Avoid sleeping with pets
Pets on your bed will disturb your sleep if you keep bumping into them. So get the dog and cat to sleep in their own beds. That way everyone wakes up feeling fresh.

Exercises That Provide Energy Boost

Get up and stretch
It is important to take a break to stretch from sitting down for too long to maintain a good blood flow to your body and brain. Stretch your body out will keep you from sagging into lethargy and bad posture.

Have a short morning workout routine
This will shake off your sleepiness, rev up your metabolism and get your blood flowing for most of the day.

Play competitive sports
Playing a sport requires thinking and will spark your mental energy. Desire to win and winning provides adrenaline rush to keep you feeling youthful.

Go for a brisk, short walk after a big meal. It will aid digestion and avoid feeling bloated.

Try doing the following to beat drowsiness. Remove your watch, and stand straight. Extend your right arm slightly, palm down. With your left hand, rub the right arm firmly from wrist to shoulder. Rotate palm upwards, and rub firmly from shoulder to wrist.

Repeat this until ten repetitions are completed. Reverse and rub the left arm with the right hand.

Stand straight with feet slightly spread. Raise your hands to shoulder height, elbows bent at 90 degrees, palms facing down. Start shaking your hands very fast with your wrists relaxed. Do this for a count to 100.

All of the above will help restore your energy and awaken you.

Puja Mukherjee, is a certified fitness trainer, who woke up one morning to drop everything in the pursuit of her passion for fitness. She says the best part about her job is to liberate her clients from their preconceived notions about fitness and see them be dazzled. Follow her at www.getmeanmuscle.com.