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Amplify Your Physical Energy

Written by: Marisa Thomas, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 

Learn how to cultivate five sources of energy to thrive and SHINE each day. In my September 12 article, “Powering Your Mental Force”, I introduced you to the insights from my research on the energy sources that fuel our performance. I began by exploring the nucleus of all the five main energy forces, “Mental Force”.

As a reminder, I define the five energy forces:

  • Mental

  • Physical

  • Social

  • Cultural

  • Environmental

You learned how powerful your mind is. It’s your supercomputer that powers the way your body works, and the actions you take in any given situation. Your conscious and subconscious thoughts influence your choices, impulses, reactions, decisions, and actions, but you are ultimately in control of cultivating the mindset that will help you thrive rather than just survive.


I outlined how:

  1. There is a connection between deep subconscious thought and physical ability.

  2. Fear and doubt can hinder achieving our goals.

  3. There is power in conscious, constructive thought.

  4. Asking for and accepting help is critical.

In learning to cultivate your mental strength and agility, I developed a five-step methodology that you can practice in meditation or by practically applying the five phases of the DoorS methodology in your day-to-day routines.

  • D ‒ Disconnect (find mental space and quiet the mind)

  • o ‒ offload (relinquish the thoughts that are no longer serving you)

  • o ‒ open (expand your thinking toward new opportunities)

  • r ‒ redirect (point your thoughts toward optimizing new goals)

  • S ‒ Set an Intention (visualize succeeding at new destinations of success)

A guided meditation of the DoorS methodology can be found on the “Programs” page of my website.


In today’s article, you will learn about how your physical energy can be cultivated and optimized.


Your physical force is far more than activity and exercise. It’s also about what we choose to put into our bodies that can either energize us or drain us. How are we helping or disabling our bodies to function most productively for us? If we eat too many of the wrong things we can, slow our digestive system down, we can clog our arteries, and even do irreversible damage to certain organs in the body. If the damage we are inflicting on our bodies through our daily routines and diets were clearly visible to us, we would likely be more committed and motivated to keep them in better shape. What we do see, isn’t necessarily an indication of our physical health, weight alone is but one indicator among many. There are many other clues and your energy level is a big one.


I like to think of Physical Force in its aggregate as a means to make you SHINE!

  • S Sleep

  • H Hydrate

  • I Inspect

  • N Nourish

  • E Exercise

When we SHINE, we show up outwardly at our best. We radiate energy, demonstrate peak performance, and engage with clarity and purpose. The word itself has positive connotations.


When we describe people that inspire us or make a positive impression on us, we will use phrases like

  • He/She/They just radiate confidence

  • I’ve never seen their work shine so brightly

  • He/She/They have the ability to make things so clear

  • He/She/They are so bright

  • That discussion was so illuminating

  • They really shine at…

  • That discussion really shed light on how…

  • I can see things more clearly now

Cheesy as it may seem, the connection between the words we associate with something or someone that shines is our outward physical being at its best! So let’s use this acronym to help guide what’s needed to optimize our physical presence and performance. None of this is new or rocket science, but it’s amazing how we can neglect one or multiple parts of the equation that makeup SHINE.


Let’s start with the importance of sleep.


Sleep: It’s our body’s natural way of recharging, and powering up. We physically cannot function without sleep and we function at our best when we have enough quality sleep. Too much sleep, just like anything else we might overindulge in, does not lead to peak performance. So what is the right amount of quality sleep? There are two things to address here. 1) the right amount and 2) quality.


According to experts in this field, the average healthy adult requires between 7 and 9 hours of sleep every night. Children require more ‒ up to 13hrs from preschool age, reducing as we reach adulthood. The Sleep Foundation states “Scientific research makes clear that sleep is essential at any age. Sleep powers the mind, restores the body, and fortifies virtually every system in the body”.


It stands to reason that we, therefore, make sleep a priority and routine. When we do, we lay the foundation by which we can SHINE.


The pressures of modern society have increased expectations of what we should be able to fit into our days. In fact, I see those who inevitably head towards a meltdown at some point, brag about how little sleep they need to function. In fact, it’s impossible for them to sleep more than 4 to 6 hours a night. But what they don’t see is that their body has adjusted to high productivity and little rest. Their mind doesn’t want to sleep. It has too much to process. Too much downtime will make them lose that momentum. So the mind works to only give the littlest amount of sleep to maintain the momentum. This pace and a continual cycle of activity with little rest in between is not sustainable and actually inhibits progress to your full potential, even if you consider yourself to be highly successful. What that generally means in this situation is that you are successful at one particular thing and much of what life has to offer overall is compromised. You can be at physical peak fitness until the body just can’t take it anymore. You don’t see it coming. It just stops. If you want well-rounded success and joy in your life, Sleep is extremely important. If you are already in a habit of high productivity and little sleep, it’s going to take some hard work to form a new habit to prioritize sleep and targeting productivity toward fewer important things. Net-net you will achieve more of what brings you joy and find momentum in elevating those fewer but more impactful and important elements of your life.


Numerous studies have shown the impact a good night's sleep can have on our energy, focus, and concentration. Why make things harder on ourselves? Too often in modern society, we seem to treat sleep the same way as building physical strength. We test ourselves on how much we can do on the littlest of sleep, then celebrate this as a victory. Well, this isn’t the place where you do that. This is where you take the victory lap on savoring a good night's sleep and waking well-rested and with energy. It’s from this place we will do our best work and have our best days.


So what can you do to break poor sleep habits and gain a healthy sleeping routine?


Begin to explore the following questions to find what will work best for you. I’m going to point you back to the DoorS methodology and those two important themes that keep coming up. Priority and routine.

  1. What can I do to disconnect and quiet my mind before bed each night?

  2. What do I need to offload to give my mind the space needed to prioritize sleep?

  3. What routines am I open to exploring to promote a good night's sleep? How can I open up to recognizing my accomplishments on the other side of a good night's sleep? What am I grateful for today?

  4. What routines should I redirect my energy toward? Where should I redirect my energy and thoughts to help me feel at peace with where I am ending today? What do I want to be true for tomorrow

  5. What intentions can I set for establishing a healthy sleep routine? Visualize what it feels like to wake up well-rested each day. What is this allowing you to accomplish? Set an intention for what you are looking forward to tomorrow.

No matter what the situation that has me stressed, or left with low energy, there is something at the core of it, that I need to start prioritizing and creating a routine for. In this case, we are focused on making sleep a priority and finding routines that best help us wake up energized, happy, and focused. Check out this Harvard Health article for helpful tips on getting a quality night's sleep.


Let’s move to step 2 on your journey to SHINE.


Hydrate ‒ This is going to be short and sweet. We all know that hydration is of utmost importance to a healthy body and mind. Our bodies are made up of a lot of water between 55% and 60%. All major organs in our bodies contain over 70% water. These organs are vital to our survival. When we get dehydrated, it can cause us to feel ill, lightheaded, and weak, and we may even pass out. Prolonged periods without water can be fatal. Water feeds our cells, helps regulate our temperature, helps transport and metabolize certain nutrients in our bodies, keeps our joints supple, and much more.


It's SUPER IMPORTANT! Drink plenty of fluids each day. In the June 30 2022 Earthday Health article, written by Kelly Kennedy and medically reviewed by Lynn Grieger, entitled “Hydration Calculator: How Much Water Do You Need to Drink a Day?” It states that


“The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine suggest that each day women get a total of about 2.7 liters (L), or 11 cups, of fluid and men, get about 3.7 L (16 cups)”


Step 3 of SHINE is often forgotten, so I want to stress the importance to this middle child. Neglect to give this step the right attention can cause your biggest regrets and trouble.


Inspect ‒ Life is precious but also very vulnerable to life-threatening illnesses and diseases. Advancement in modern medicine is quite remarkable and with early detection, we can fight off, control, or completely cure most of these illnesses and diseases. The key phrase here is “early detection”. I’ll be transparent. I'm not the best at this, but I do have an amazing Dr who holds me accountable for making my annual health visits and she keeps me on top of making sure I’m visiting various specialists for routine checks.


At a minimum make your annual health check-up a priority and be honest with your Dr about things you have noticed, changes to your body that you have questions about, changes in your energy levels, and ability to focus. Request a thorough check through blood tests and vitals. Ask what you should be looking out for or getting tested for at your age. Depending on your family's health history, you may be at higher risk for certain conditions and it’s important that you are transparent about that and ask about what you can do to maintain vigilance and create habits that help lessen that risk.


As we age, our bodies and mental fitness change, and like with most other things, we have to acknowledge that and continually learn to adapt. Lord knows I had pretty poor dietary habits in my younger years, but I felt fine so I continued for years with unhealthy choices. I started smoking at an early age and it took multiple attempts to stop but I did. I would drink far too much alcohol on a daily basis throughout my 20s and 30s, with a rich social life both personally and through work events. Looking back I wish I had made many different choices, but the past has served to influence how I choose to inspect my habits and how they affect my body and mind. I’ve realized I have a lot of control over addressing, limiting, and getting in front of habits that drain my energy and impact my focus. Living in that mode even at the height of confidence, caused me to lack resilience and calm in moments of stress.


Despite what I’ve learned about the importance of frequently stopping and inspecting my situation and choices, I continue to allow myself to fall into less effective rhythms and habits. What’s behind that? Distraction.


I’m a visionary, a creative soul, my attention can easily be swept up by the excitement of a new venture, bringing to life new possibilities. I can often find myself forgetting to stop, look and listen to myself and ensure I’m maintaining balance and inspecting my habits, body, and mind. I cannot say I’m consistent with maintaining these routines and I often have to get myself back on track and that’s ok. The important thing is that I take notice and make the necessary changes. It takes constant effort. I have lots of good reasons to commit to doing that. What are some of the reasons that will help keep you accountable for inspecting your health regularly?


Nourish: We are over halfway to shining at our brightest. Here I want to dial in on the different facets of nourishment. It simply comes down to what we are feeding our body, mind, and soul at any given time. There’s a balance that needs to be achieved in order to function with “flow”, ease, and calm.


Ok, I know you are wondering where on earth did the “soul” part come from. Well, science calls it neuroscience, spiritualists may call it their faith and here I’m going to think of it as that inner being, connected to a higher force or universal energy, that guides what makes you who you are. The driving force behind what makes you happy or sad, capable or hindered. It’s not something you can see. It’s not something you can really describe. It’s a culmination of experiential imprints, either good or bad that we carry around with us, that our subconscious draws on with every action, decision, emotion, and feeling. It runs deep, so when past scars, pain, and trauma are prompted for recall, we emote in remembrance of that same feeling. We are rarely aware of the connection being made to those deep-rooted scars or moments of elation. We just know what we are feeling in the moment, based on the present situation we face, and we allow it to dictate our actions and choices.


So why is this important under the heading of nourishment? Whatever past traumas or celebrations we have experienced leave an imprint and that imprint charts the path we then are most likely to take and repeat going forward. A pattern emerges. The question is what pattern do you want to be creating and which patterns do you want to redirect and improve on?


What we proactively feed our mind is also extremely important. How we speak to ourselves, needs to be constantly checked and validated. We often nourish our minds with made-up dialogue that we convince ourselves to be true. When that occurs, our actions are influenced by what we “think” to be the truth. It generally takes skillful questioning from a colleague, friend, mentor, or coach to help us see the lies we have been feeding ourselves. From there you can reframe the dialogue, and move forward with informed and validated thinking.


And now to the final element of nourishment. The element that you most likely expected this entire section to be about. What we feed our body.


Our diets help feed our bodies with the nutrients, vitamins, and energy we need to thrive. Even when we are dieting and trying to lose weight, it’s important to eat a well-rounded, varied and nutritious diet. Just eating less of the wrong things, may meet the objective of losing weight, but it’s not going to provide you with the balanced nutrients and energy you need to thrive.


Spoiler alert ‒ you are not going to learn anything you don’t already know about eating a well-balanced diet.


The average healthy adult should consume ~2000 calories each day. Calories should come from five main sources:

  • Fresh Vegetables

  • Fresh fruits

  • Whole grains

  • Lean proteins

  • Nuts

  • Legumes

The Department of Health and Human Services has tons of data and tools to help you define the right quantities of each of these healthy calorie sources. Remember to limit your intake of “empty” calories. Foods such as processed foods, cookies, fries, ice cream, chips, foods with high sugar content, and soda to name but a few. I know. It’s easier said than done. Notice therefore that I didn’t say avoid or eliminate. I’m a strong believer that if you allow yourself a little of what’s on the naughty list from time to time, you are happier and more likely to stick to a healthy balanced diet with greater consistency. Trust me I’m speaking from experience. When I overindulge from the “naughty list”, I feel temporary satisfaction for sure, but my energy levels, motivation, and focus quite literally sink. Oh, and I hate the way I look, which depresses me even further into the family-sized chip bag. Why do I buy the family size, when I know I just bought the flavor only I like? It’s clearly intended to be consumed only by me. Not the family ‒ Ok, seriously, as I’m writing, I’m actually salivating thinking about the dill pickle bag of chips that’s calling my name from the pantry. My brain is now trying to convince me it’s ok to eat the bag of chips. I’m already overweight, this one bag of chips is not going to make a difference. I’ll do better tomorrow. Umm, the chances are I’ll tell myself the same tomorrow and when I want to go for a walk or do my exercises, I’ll be too tired and tell myself, it’s my body’s way of telling me I need to rest. So I will rest and likely eat another bag of chips. And so it goes, the perpetual downward spiral begins. So here I am again trying to find the inner strength to fight the urge to indulge off the “naughty list”. Maybe that’s where I need to start. I am a self-confessed rule breaker, so present me with anything that is labeled naughty or forbidden, and my curiosity shoots through the roof. If you’re like me and managing a well-balanced diet doesn’t come easy, what is it that drives you to crave more of the wrong stuff? What needs to be true to drive us to want to choose healthier options? Actually, this is a fascinating set of questions for me, because my answers to the first question are not really true. Let me share the list I came up with for myself on “what drives me to crave more of the wrong stuff”?

  • Convenience

  • Comfort

  • Tastier

  • Ease

  • Makes me feel good

So then I asked myself, is it really more convenient, comforting, tastier, or easier? Does it really make me feel good?


In each case, my answer was “no”. It’s just as easy and convenient to choose fruit, veggies, or yogurt for a quick snack. Actually the foods I turn to for comfort, cause me discomfort. They sit heavy and cause me heartburn. I actually prefer and gain more satisfaction from eating fresh vegetables and lean meats. I could live off of asparagus, green beans, salads, and chicken or fish. They are my favorite foods. It really takes me less time to prepare a healthy meal than it does an unhealthy meal. And finally, while it feels great as I eat the unhealthy option, I actually don’t feel good after. I feel sluggish, tired, heavy, and in need of heartburn meds. I also find it harder to sleep as a result, so wake up a right old cranky pants.


Even just writing this has made me forget all about the nasty, greasy bag of chips I craved earlier.


Let’s explore the second question. What needs to be true to drive me to crave healthy choices?


In answering this question, I needed to first understand what’s my motivation. For me, this is to have boundless energy, clarity of thought, and to feel light. My outward appearance should match that description. I have chosen to visualize what this would look like, and pull on my past where this was true. I know I can achieve this because I already have, it’s just a matter of taking myself there again. I remind myself what it felt like, and how my days went. It’s inspiring and energizing just to think about it. So what were some of the habits I had formed and how did I maintain them?


Shocker. Here come those two words again ‒ I made planning my meals a priority. I developed a routine in the stores I would visit, the food I would choose, the meals I’d prepare, and the snacks I would reach for. I’d use the MyFitness Pal app to help me feel good about my choices and keep me balanced and eating the right quantity of the right things. Seeing my achievements day in and day out was really encouraging and motivated me to keep going. I enjoyed celebrating my successes and they were constant. Success breeds success.


You’ve heard my story now and the struggles I have with maintaining a healthy diet. It’s constant work, which I’m grateful for. The challenge is one I have learned to embrace rather than avoid. Having a well-balanced diet is essential for maintaining optimal physical energy.


Now to the final ingredient to SHINE!


Exercise. If you have done well at balancing all the other ingredients above, you have a solid foundation to thrive and grow stronger with your physical fitness. If you are running on empty, have neglected health concerns, or feed your body and mind the wrong things, it’s just too hard to get a foothold in an effective exercise regime. Sure, you can still exercise, but you will miss the full benefits should the other elements be out of balance.


There are varying degrees of physical fitness regimes, that are generally dictated by your motivation. If you are highly competitive and have anchored towards specific sports or fitness activities, your exercise patterns and routine will be driven by the motivation to succeed and be at your best. If your motivation is to maintain a specific desired weight and look, the exercise choices you make will be inspired by that. If your motivation is to lose weight and gain muscle definition, your exercise activities will be inspired by that vision.


If you are to succeed at sustaining your physical fitness regimes, you need to first establish and be married to your motivation. Start with simple questions, and build from there:

  1. How are you feeling about your physical activity levels?

  2. How happy are you with the way you look and feel?

  3. What do you want to be true?

  4. What do you want to gain from reaching your goal? What will that mean to you?

  5. What do you need to get started?

  6. What will need to be true to sustain and maintain momentum toward your goals?

  7. Who can help you keep accountable?

  8. How will you know when you have arrived at achieving your initial goal?

Now that you have taken all the necessary steps to SHINE and thrive with optimal physical energy, stop and consider what you did to reach your initial goal. The hard work to sustain or improve where you have arrived will become important. Make a point to celebrate your success; reflect back on what was and what is now; show yourself gratitude for what you have gained; give thanks to the new you and then, ask yourself, “What now?”.


Are you looking to SHINE brighter and propel your career and leadership impact to the next level? Then, visit my website at, www.doorseffect.com, and let's connect!


Follow me on Facebook, LinkedIn, and visit my website for more info!


 

Marisa Thomas, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Marisa Thomas is a talent amplifier, forward-leaning visionary, and strategic business leader. She is the Founder of DoorSeffect LLC and describes herself as a “constructive optimist,” striving to continually lift, adapt and evolve the way business leaders think and approach their people and business growth. She is charting a new course to bring a deeper sense of relatability and connection between business outcomes, technology, customer needs, and the “Human-force.” Her mission is to ‒ Transform the thinking; Evolve the person; Arrive!


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