Give yourself a natural energy boost on the job

Consider what the average body does every 24 hours: Your heart beats 100,689 times. Your blood travels 168 million miles. You breathe 23,040 times, inhaling 438 cubic feet of air. You eat more than 3 pounds of food, and drink about 3 quarts of liquids. You lose almost a pound of waste. You speak 25,000 words. You move 750 muscles. You exercise 7 million brain cells.

And you wonder why you are tired?

There is an energy crisis in America, and it has nothing to do with fossil fuels or the price of oil. Millions of people get up each morning, already weary about what the day holds for them.

Grab some coffee, rush out the door, fight traffic and arrive at work "ready" for another day. Seriously, it makes you tired just thinking about it.

But you have options.

I've been energetic all my life. I thrive on a busy schedule with plenty of challenges. I'm a kid at heart, and I don't see that changing. People grow old, not from working hard or playing, but because they quit working and playing hard.

Successful people generally have lots of energy. And many people believe the better your energy, the more likely you'll get what you want. They have a secret: They have learned to harness and focus their energy.

We're constantly inundated with advertisements for drinks or pills to boost our energy. Most of this is marketed to teenagers and young adults. According to the Washington Post, 500 new energy drink products were introduced in one year alone.

Nutritionists worry that many of these drinks, which are often full of caffeine and sugar, are dangerous. Yet energy drinks are a multibillion-dollar industry.

I'm not interested in an adrenaline rush or bounce-off-the-walls energy. I believe in a more natural energy boost, one that is achieved by being hardworking, focused and willing to put in whatever effort is necessary to achieve my goals.

But maintaining a high energy level all day every day can be difficult. Here are some simple ideas that most people might not think of. They keep you going without resorting to pills, energy drinks or other dangerous options:

•Wear bright colors. Projecting a positive, energetic attitude through your wardrobe can bring out enthusiasm and good spirits in others. A positive response from people around you will stimulate your own motivation. I always wear colorful ties and shirts.

•Eat a power snack. A little chocolate can give you a slight endorphin buzz, along with a mild jolt of caffeine. When your energy flags in the afternoon, mixed nuts, dried fruits, granola, and/or some yogurt can rejuvenate you. Check with a dietician or trainer to select the best snacks.

•Stretch and exercise. One good stretch when you're feeling tired is rolling up and down on your tiptoes a few times. This can get your circulatory system moving, sending oxygen and glucose through your body for a burst of energy. Light stretching and exercise helps you stay on track.

•Smell some citrus. Citrus scents like lemon, grapefruit, and lime can enhance your alertness. I actually use a citrus room freshener in my office.

•Drink some water. Dehydration can sap your energy, so make sure you get plenty of water throughout the day. And when you feel tired, splash a little cold water on your face to wake yourself up.

•Change your clothes. About halfway through your day, put on a fresh pair of socks. As crazy as it sounds, experts say that it can make you feel refreshed and ready to tackle the rest of your day, especially if you spend a lot of time on your feet. Many athletes change their uniforms at halftime to maintain their competitive edge.

•Get enough sleep so your body can recover. Mix up your routine. And remember, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy -- and the same holds true for Jill. Give yourself a break!

Mackay's Moral: The world's work is done every day by people who could have stayed in bed, but didn't.

Harvey Mackay is a Minneapolis businessman. Contact him at 612-378-6202 or send e-mail to harvey@mackay.com. His column is distributed by United Feature Syndicate.

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