Needing some helpful tips to power through your day? If you have a huge project, challenging workout, or a long day ahead of you, sugary snacks and drinks are not the answer. If you're lacking energy, we've got the recipe for success. According to Parade, by finding smart ways to power through a stressful day, you'll perform so much better in all aspects of your life. Here are the top science-backed strategies to instantly give you more energy to power through your day.
1. Start the Day with an Energizing Stretch
Stokes swears by this endorphin-boosting move, which she performs while still in bed every morning: “I extend my arms over my head, then lengthen every part of my body completely, stretching my arms, legs and core as far as I can,” she says. “Then I wrap my arms around my knees and pull them in to hug my chest.” Repeat for a total of three times, and add a mantra such as “I’m grateful for this body” or “Today will be a good day,” she suggests.
2. Drink Your Coffee in Smaller Doses
Instead of downing several cups in quick succession, drink small amounts of caffeine throughout the day to maximize your stamina, so you can concentrate for longer stretches of time. Researchers from Rush University Medical Center in Chicago gave study subjects hourly doses of about two ounces of coffee and found that their ability to stay alert improved significantly compared to previous studies that tested larger doses.
3. Take a Six-minute “contrast” Shower
Wake up with tired muscles? Jump in the shower for about six minutes, alternating one minute of hot water with one minute of cold water (about 59 degrees) three times. Athletes swear that the contrast between these two temperature extremes helps their muscles recover from exertion and provides instant physical energy. (If you have a heart condition, check with your doctor first.)
4. Snack on Popcorn
It’s a great 3 p.m. pick-me-up for more than one reason. This tasty whole grain contains more of the cancer-fighting antioxidant polyphenol per serving than any fruit or vegetable, scientists reported at the American Chemical Society’s annual meeting, and polyphenols are known to be a powerful energy source. Try SkinnyPop’s new microwave variety—the sea salt flavor contains only three ingredients: popcorn, palm oil and sea salt.
5. Make Yourself Yawn
According to several studies, the action of stretching your jaw and deeply inhaling increases blood flow and improves fluid circulation in your brain—snapping it to attention and sharpening your focus. Try it when you’re facing a particularly tough mental task.
6. Wear Red
Headed out for a tough workout? Throw on a red tank or T-shirt—you may move faster and benefit from a more intense workout whenever you see yourself in the mirror. A study from the University of Rochester in New York found that just looking at the color red can physiologically cause your muscles to react more forcefully, leading to better athletic performance and speed.
7. Give Your Brain a Break
You might think that meditation is only for chilling out, but it’s actually an excellent way to stimulate your senses. “Constant thinking is a form of stress and can cause mental exhaustion,” says Paula Tursi, founder and director of Reflections Yoga in New York City. “When we train the mind to be more still, we have that much more energy.” Start here: Inhale to the count of 10 and exhale to the count of 15. Then set a timer for five minutes and try to let your mind be free; acknowledge the thoughts you’re having, but don’t try to think about or solve any problems.
8. Turn on the Right Tunes
For a song to truly put a spring in your step, it needs to start off gently, slowly build in intensity, contain positive lyrics and boast plenty of bass and drums, says researcher David M. Greenberg of the UK’s University of Cambridge. He put together a scientifically proven energy-boosting playlist for music streaming service Spotify, featuring songs like “Viva La Vida” by Coldplay, “Walking on Sunshine” by Katrina and the Waves and “Lovely Day” by Bill Withers.
What was your favorite tip to power through your day? How do you gain energy? Let us know in the comments!