I feel I have low energy all the time

By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.

Can it be partially psychological?

This is a very important question to answer because having a closer look at it will change many of the false beliefs you may have about your energy levels most of the time. While it is very important to of course eat healthy food and sleep well, you may need to ask yourself if there is also more to it.

Have you ever felt very tired and lazy, and suddenly got a phone call from someone you see as very interesting or got some news that you are going to a very interesting trip or traveling?
What happens?

Most probably you suddenly got energy and felt recharged.
The real question is why do we a lot of the times have low energy, and how can we use this sort of information to feel energized most of the time?
This article will answer these questions for you. (see also Why are some people lazy)

What is happening most of the time?

Your subconscious mind is responsible for execution and is by far the most powerful part of the human mind and maybe even the world we know today. Since it is responsible for execution, sometimes it believes it is helping us not do what tends to bring pain to us, like doing certain tasks or studying.

As a result we experience negative emotions and they tremendously put us down and make us feel very lazy. Our subconscious mind doesn’t think rationally and what it is doing is protecting you from the things that you don’t like by sending you negative emotions towards them. We must put this conclusion into consideration when we are feeling down. Just like the example I gave you above, you need to do something similar to give yourself a boost.

So what is it? We don’t have trips everyday.
Most people don’t put the time into thinking or planning how they can easily get over with the tasks that are causing them a lot of the worry and the pain. If you take the time to make a small plan on how you can easily finish the task, you will instantly get a burst of energy back.

Next time you have low energy, look at the one or two tasks that are causing anxiety or most of the negative emotions and make a plan.

How can I boost more energy?

A study has shown a very important factor to successfully keep self-control when learning a new habit such as time management for example or quitting a bad habit like smoking.

The study was on participants who were trying to quit smoking and how they can help them with their self-discipline. The results showed that the participants who constantly put their concentration on why they were quitting smoking managed to smoke fewer cigarettes.

When you use abstract thinking, constantly reminding yourself why you are doing these tasks and why you want to finish them, you are more likely to be motivated and have more self-discipline to continue finishing your tasks.

Now that you have learned about the relationship between negative emotions and energy levels, there is one important factor to put into consideration to keep you motivated and thus energized. The more positive emotions you experience during your task, the more energy levels you get as you are performing it.

This definitely differs from one person to the other, but you will be surprised to know how very small and simple things can motivate you. Simple things such as using stickers, has alone resulted in excitement when working on a task with some people. You do realize I mentioned that many of these things are silly but they give positive feelings to people. (see also How to hide your emotions)

To you it maybe a cup of coffee or using your favorite pen or wearing clothes that make you feel good. Figure it out for yourself, the examples are endless. What is for sure though, the more you add things that will give you positive feelings, the more likely you will experience better emotions as you are working, and the more you will raise your energy and motivation levels.

Reconsidering taking breaks… a little bit

We always comfort ourselves with the idea that if we take a break we’ll come back refreshed and work. Is this idea always true?

If you get back to your memories of when you took breaks, you will realize that sometimes it worked and sometimes you came with total loss of desire to continue.
So in order to answer this question, let’s first have a look at what recent psychological research has found. In a recent study of students who took a good break as they were studying and working on their papers to replenish themselves, they came back without increased motivation. Giving in to temptation proved to increase your tendency to get back less productive.

So does this really mean that breaks are not good for you?
Not at all, it is not about the breaks, it is about when you decide to take them.
If you take them right in the middle of a task that is not finished, you are bound to come back and rebuild your motivation and momentum all over again. However, you when finish a task and take a break, all the positive energy from your sense of achievement combined with the nice feelings from your break will give you a boost to start your next task.

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