Energy Zappers Depleting Your Zest For Life

"Energy is the power that drives every human being. It is not lost by exertion but maintained by it."


Germaine Greer

If you don't feel up for the kids, are annoyed at every demand, and you're living for the weekend, than it is time to fix what's zapping your energy.

We can compare our energy levels to, let's say, an air in a car tire. If the tire has no holes, it can keep the air inside for years. If the tire has a hole, even a tiny one, it will deflate with time and all your efforts to pump it up will be useless until you plug that hole.

The same applies to your energy level. Before deciding where to begin to increase it, I would recommend looking at your energy zappers first. No matter how strenuously energy boosting you do, the energy will just continue to drain until you plug your "holes".


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Check out these energy zappers and see how many apply to you.

1Lack of sleep

Sleep is a time for repairing and restoring and it is the true source of our energy. A poor night sleep is the biggest and fastest energy zapper in most people's lives. One bad night can ruin the next 24-48 hours.

When it comes to sleep, both quantity and quality matter. Lack of sleep, disrupted sleep, and irregular sleep patterns have a dire effect on energy levels, creativity, mental alertness, general wellbeing and health. People who are unable to sleep properly at night tend to be weary most of the time and lack the ability to concentrate.

What to do? Simply trying to go to bed earlier will usually fail. If you go to bed when you are not enough sleepy it takes a long time to fall asleep. The very attempt to force yourself to sleep actually awakes you, making it more difficult to sleep.

Go to bed when you are sleepy and get up at the same time every morning. If you got not enough sleep one night, you will feel drowsy earlier and get more sleep the next night. If you are full of energy and aren't exhausted, you may need somewhat less sleep hours.
Read some tips on how to improve your night sleep on HealthAssit.

2Weekend oversleep

Do you look forward to the weekend to sleep yourself out? Carrying a sleep debt throughout the week with the hopes of paying it off on the weekend is a bad strategy. Studies have found sleeping longer than usual on weekends can disrupt your body's natural sleep schedule (circadian rhythm)1.

What to do? I think the key here is to establish your sleep schedule and have a will-power to follow it on weekends.

3Clutter, mess and disorganization

Our cluttered, disorganized and unpleasant surroundings can drain us of more energy than we realize. According to the American Demographic Society, Americans waste more than 9 million hours each day looking for lost and misplaced items!

Looking for lost or misplaced stuff is a huge physical drain. Being long looking for necessary thing adds emotional drain. And trying to remember where all things are is a big mental drain. Just being in a cluttered room makes a person tired. A cluttered environment tends to clutter your mind.

What to do? Clean your clutter and organize your environment. Give everything a storage place. Throw out items you no longer need or love. Some areas you might consider giving a clean-up: work-place, home, wardrobe, computer.

4Procrastination: unfinished tasks and projects

Everything undone, incomplete or unresolved in your personal or professional life drains your energy. As long as affairs are left unfinished they continue to distract you.

Procrastination is quite toxic. I have noticed if there is something I have left undone it keeps running through my mind until it is done. This causes needless energy spending.

What to do? Try outsourcing your life. See which tasks can be eliminated or delegated. Decide what you aren't going to do. Focus on what is really important and can actually be done. Also, don't put off till tomorrow what you can do today.

5Anger

Anger can be a powerful destructive force. It drains your energy and makes you waste your time in negative thinking.

Most people have some difficulty handling their anger. The problem is usually not the anger itself but the ways in which it is expressed. Some people express their anger in aggressive ways, such as breaking things, lashing out at others, exploding in rage, intimidating and offending. Others express it indirectly, in passive-aggressive ways like sarcasm, nagging or silence and withdrawal. All of these ways are destructive and simply don't work, since they just keep you stuck in the anger and drain your emotional, physical, and mental energy.

What to do? Of course there are exceptions: some people redirect anger towards building success for themselves, but on the whole anger is draining rather than invigorating. When you find yourself engaged in anger, change the focus.

6Living beyond your means: Overspending

Living beyond your means is a persistent energy zapper. Trying to keep up with co-workers and friends who have a larger financial resource than you will certainly create financial trouble.

What to do? Sticking to the budget that fits your level of income can help prevent your energy from being zapped by worry how to pay bills each month. Know exactly how much you have to spend and use money wisely. When going out for shopping keep a list of items which you "really" need to buy and stick to your list. Develop plan for financial future and try to increase your source of income.

Having freedom from financial worry can certainly lead to the freedom to achieve success in many areas of life as well.

7Information overload & addiction

Do you feel overwhelmed with the amount of information that enters your life in the form of media, books, magazines and e-mail? The information glut drains your time and your emotional energy. Worse, perhaps, it dulls your ability to think. Just because we have access to all the information in the world doesn't mean we can process it all.

Do you like blogs, e-mail and social networking sites to get the latest news and keep in touch? But that love can quickly turn into an obsession if you aren't careful.

What to do? You have to decide which information is important enough to read, watch, or pay attention to.

William Van Winkle observed, "Data is like food. A good meal is served in reasonably sized portions from several food groups. It leaves you satisfied but not stuffed. Likewise with information, we're best served when we can partake of reasonable, useful portions, exercising discretion in what data we digest and how often we seek it out."

8Resentment: taking offence

Resentment drags you down and keeps you grasped by your past. In most cases where resentment takes place, the only person who suffers is the victim of the incident.

What to do? The only way the sufferer can get rid of the burden of resentment is forgiveness. Yea, this can be very difficult to achieve! But for as long as you continue to resent your offender, he or she will sap your joy for living and haunt your dreams at night.

9Worrying & Control issues

We spend a lot of time and energy trying to control everything that goes on around us: events, people and situations. Some people feel an urge to fix every problem that comes up but it is impossible to create a perfect world.

Constant worrying drains your brain of energy and focusing power, and it is a waste of your precious time. This is one of the most difficult to get rid of since worrying is completely irrational, yet something so inherently human.

What to do? When you find yourself getting into the worry mode, ask yourself, "What's the worst that can happen?" Though usually the worst doesn't happen, such question helps switch the thoughts from worry and empowers you to come up with a plan. The energy waste is reduced, turning your force into a creative power.

Let go off things you can't control and focus on what you can! Ask yourself if there is some action you need to take. If there is no action you need to take, then say to yourself: "There is nothing I need to do about this right now, so there's no point in focusing on it." and switch your attention elsewhere.

10Gossiping

People waste so much time, and create a negative environment by gossiping. It is a real energy drain to discuss others negatively. In fact, next time you gossip, take notice how your energy is lower than before you gossiped.

What to do? If you find yourself in a conversation with a gossip, although you may have no other choice but to listen, do not engage. When there is a break in conversation try to change the subject.

11"Energy vampires"

Did you ever talk to someone and felt tired, drained, depressed and exhausted afterwards? We often call such persons "Toxic people" or "Energy vampires". They suck positive energy out of you and leave feeling so mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically drained.

Toxic people are those who complain or grumble all the time, constantly in need for help, advice, sympathy, or confidence-boosting. They always expect the worse to happen. They encourage you to have feelings of guilt, inadequacy or inferiority. They blame others, spoil for a fight, and provoke quarrels.

However, there are other, more subtle toxic people. Deliberate "energy vampires" may be very appealing, charming, highly inventive or compellingly persuasive.

What to do? One of the first things to do is to be aware of who the energy vampires are in your life. Try to avoid toxic people if possible or limit time with them. Whenever the negative talk starts just smile and don't say anything. The less you pay attention to them, the less they'll affect you.

12Poor diet

When fast food and processed food is your main diet your body is not provided with enough vital nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, fiber, and essential fatty acids. You simply don't get what you need. Low levels of B-vitamins, potassium, iron, and iodine contribute to fatigue.

Sugary food may promise a quick rush of energy but are followed by an energy crash. These foods trigger a large output of insulin, which lowers blood sugar and leaves you feeling sluggish.

Too much food is just as dangerous for your energy as too little food. Too many kilocalories will leave you lethargic. Too few and you're deserting without the fuel and nutrients you need.

Waiting too long between meals can also sap your energy. If you skip meals, your body slows the metabolic rate and starts conserving energy because it lacks nutrients.

What to do? Eat healthy! Reduce the amount of processed foods. Focus on increasing fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, low fat dairy products and lean meats.

13Overwork

Being chronically overworked can seriously drain energy reserves. When your job extends over working hours, the things that could recharge your energy battery suffer as well. You get less sleep, less rest, and load up on caffeine.

What to do? It's important to seek a proper work-life balance in order to maintain energy levels. Work to live, don't live to work.

14Endless "to-do" list

Too many commitments are extremely exhausting. Often, just thinking about what you have to do is draining. In addition to the physical force that chores like cleaning the house, cooking, and grocery store shopping demand from you, they drain your time and energy without giving much joy.

What to do? Simplify your to-do list up to the few essential tasks. Organize your list - prioritize which ones you think should be done first. If something can be delegated to someone else, then do it. Also, make sure that once you complete the task, it's done properly. This helps to avoid going back and re-do anything.

15Lack of exercise

Lack of exercise = lack of energy. It's a downward cycle: If you don't exercise, you caní' be fit, and if you're not fit, you won't have the energy to exercise.

Exercise causes release of chemicals called endorphins into your blood stream. These chemicals give you a feeling of happiness and positively affect your overall sense of well-being.

What to do? Even though it seems like exercise might deplete your last remaining energy reserves, it's actually the best way to beat fatigue and feel refreshed.

References
  • 1. Yang CM, Spielman AJ, D'Ambrosio P, Serizawa S, Nunes J, Birnbaum J. Melatonin prevents the phase delay associated with a delayed weekend sleep pattern. Sleep. 2001 May 1;24(3):272-81. Pubmed

Published: 2009
Last updated: February 18, 2016

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