Monday, May 11, 2015

Improve Your Energy, Improve Your Life

Scott H. Young has 10 Ways to Improve Your Energy. The suggestions range from ways to increase your physical energy -- by eating smaller meals, drinking plenty of water, and exercising more -- to ways to increase your mental and emotional energy.

Among the suggestions on how to increase emotional and mental energy:
  • Learn new things every day
  • Play games
  • Find a hobby
  • Inject your day with optimism
  • Align action with conscience (be the kind of person you admire)
  • Set goals
  • Find a purpose
In addition, Myrko Thum gives 5 ways to increase energy:
  • Breathing
  • Eating well
  • Aerobic exercise
  • Sleeping
  • Mental and Emotional energy (see above)
I include his because of his addition of breathing and sleeping. We know we need enough sleep -- we also ought to take naps during the day -- but we rarely think about good breathing. This is something that those who take yoga or tai chi know, however. Knowing how to breath correctly improves your energy. It's worth learning how to do.

In addition, there is increased attention to mindfulness. This is paying attention to what you are doing in the moment rather than doing things without thinking about them. The benefits of mindfulness are decreased stress and improved mental and emotional energy. Among the ways to improve mindfulness are:
  • Meditation
  • Deep breathing
  • Listening to music (calming, slow-tempo)
  • Cleaning house
  • Observing your thoughts (rather than fighting them)
Also, check out this 60 Minutes piece by Anderson Cooper on mindfulness.

I could definitely improve on the physical energy front, I could probably learn how to inject my day with more optimism, and I definitely need to work on mindfulness techniques, but I think I am good on all the rest.

It is vital to have a great deal of energy to accomplish anything. Those with low energy will find that they not only do not accomplish much in life, but are generally unhappy with themselves, their lives, and those around them. 

How are you doing on these ways to improve your energy?

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Writing vs. Speaking -- Two Different Brain Systems

It may seem strange at first that people can write sentences they would never have spoken. Yet, this is a phenomenon every writing teacher has encountered -- from pretty much every student, even if in different degrees. Well, it turns out that writing and speaking are different brain systems.

When I have taught students writing, I have always encouraged them to read aloud what they have written so that they can pick up on errors in writing they would not make when speaking. You can hear what you wrote wrong, but only if you read it aloud to hear it. I doubt many students ever listened to me. This research shows I was right to suggest this, and that they all should have listened to me. I hope readers of this blog will listen to the science.