Having energy is a well-known concept to all of us. We are all aware of physical energy levels, how they affect us, and ways to increase our physical energy. Many of us do not pay heed to the mental aspect of energy, or if we do, it is more of an afterthought.
Mental energy is just as important as physical energy. It affects us just as much as our physical energy levels. Recently, with people becoming more open about discussing mental health and its importance, mental energy has become part of the conversation. It certainly is in my therapy rooms. To take care of ourselves and others, we need to be aware of our mental energy, and we need to be comfortable talking about it.
What Is Mental Energy?
Mental energy is essentially your mood or mindset, and it is your ability to perform tasks that require cognition. Your mental energy is a measure of how willing or capable you are of carrying out a task. You may be physically able to perform the task but having mental energy is often the driving force.
According to some studies (e.g. Sevincer, Busatta & Oettingen, 2014 – Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin), our mental energy or thinking impacts our physical performance of tasks. When we are full of mental energy and are able to process matters in a healthy and positive way, the physical outcomes are more pronounced and improved than when our mental energy is drained.
What I’m writing about here today, is slightly different than the topic of decision fatigue which I have written about before here: Scientific Ways to Reduce Decision Fatigue.
Benefits of Boosting Mental Energy
Increasing your mental energy levels, being in a healthy state of mind is beneficial to your overall well-being. The physical effects can be seen in various aspects of your life, from behavioural to mental.
There is a saying that goes “The energy of the mind is the essence of life,” and I find it hard to disagree when we look at the benefits of having a healthy state of mind with appropriately high mental energy levels.
First and foremost, your mental energy naturally affects your mental health before anything else:
- Increases Motivation: You may have noticed it yourself, that sometimes no matter how well-rested and physically prepared you are, you cannot start working on a project or task. It may be because you cannot seem to find the motivation, which stems from low mental energy levels. When you boost those energy levels, you often find that your motivation increases as well.
- Depression and Anxiety: Depression and anxiety are notorious for affecting your mental energy. It is hard work being depressed or anxious – they sap your mental energy. While increasing your mental energy is not going to be a fix to these issues, it can improve your condition. It can boost your ability to handle some of the symptoms of your anxiety and depression.
After the mental effects, your physical life is affected by your mental energy and how you choose to manage your mental health:
- Appetite: Your mental energy levels can even affect your food intake. The mind is connected to the stomach, surprisingly enough. When your energy levels are low, it can be hard to find an appetite, which is why increasing your energy levels can keep you eating well.
- Work Performance: There have been research studies into how mental energy levels can directly affect your performance (by the previously mentioned Gabriele Oettingen, for example). Boosting your energy levels is a great way to stay focused and motivated on your tasks and completing them to the best of your ability.
Naturally, your mental energy will affect your behaviour and interactions with everyone:
Social Life: There can be times where you are unable to interact with people socially. Your energy levels can greatly affect your interaction with those around you. Boosting your mental energy level can help you have healthy, happy interactions.
Commitments: There are times when you are unable to keep your commitments simply due to decreasing meatal energy levels. Having ways to increase your mental energy levels can help maintain the promises you have made, whether they are work or social commitments.
How To Increase Your Mental Energy
“Your strongest muscle … is your mind. Train it well”. The training approach can be important when it comes to maintaining mental vigour. We cannot always control our circumstances or the number of tasks we are working on at any given time. We can, however, manage and sustain our mental health and mental vitality throughout these moments. Our mental energy, like our physical energy, can be maintained in a variety of ways.
There are changes that we can all make in the way we live our lives to boost our mental energy levels. You can train yourself and your mind to work towards making your mental health a priority. You do not have to make all the changes at once, but even by starting with a few of the methods we are providing below, you can improve your mental energy levels.
You are probably going to hear people talking about the importance of sleep forever. The reason is sleep is essential for both your physical and mental energy levels.
Sleep can be divided into two parts Rapid Eye Movement (REM) and non-rapid eye movement. Non-REM sleep can be broken down into three more parts. N1- light sleep, N2 and finally N3.
N3- This phase is what we call deep sleep. Waking someone from deep sleep is difficult, and if you do manage to wake someone, they usually feel groggy and disorientated. The N3 or deep sleep phase of sleep is the most essential part to help you increase your mental energy levels, and it helps your body repair itself.
There are different ways you can take care of your sleep habits. You should attempt to maintain a regular sleep pattern. Sleeping at the same time can help boost your mental energy. Avoiding the use of your phone before bed and cutting down on caffeine before bed (and in life generally) are also ways in which you can maintain your sleep and, consequently, your mental energy levels.
2. A Healthy Diet
Eating well may sound like an obvious change that you can make, but it is one we can often ignore. You may have heard people saying how a healthy mind leads to a healthy body, and they would be right. As vital as a good diet is to our physical health, it is just as important to keep our brain working its best. Some foods can boost your mental energy in different ways, like memory or concentration.
The addition of things like whole grains to your diet can improve concentration and focus levels throughout the day. Berries like blackberries and blackcurrants can boost memory and help to reduce stress and anxiety levels, increasing your overall mental health and energy. Different foods and foods group can have other effects on your moods and mental health, so maintaining a healthy diet is key to boosting your energy levels. Avoiding foods that offer a short spike in physical energy (such as sugary foods and sweets, for example) can often lead to fatigue and slumps after the initial hit has worn off. I recommend consulting a professional or reading some professional advice on nutrition if you are suspect your diet may be contributing to your poor mental energy levels.
3. Going Outside
Most of us spend a lot of our time stuck inside all day. For a lot of us, everything from our free time to our working hours is spent indoors. Going outside is vital for our mental energy levels. You do not have to exercise or go somewhere far. Simply going for a walk in your neighbourhood to waking to your grocery store can be a great way to get some fresh air and natural sunlight. You do not even have to go for a walk, simply sitting outside and relaxing for a bit can prove incredibly beneficial to your mental energy and well-being.
Getting some fresh air every day not only helps in unwinding from a long day, but it also can help in handling some of the less severe symptoms of depression and anxiety.
4. Challenge Your Mind
It can be easy to get stuck in a monotonous routine, where you find your mind running on autopilot. You are not pushing your mind to work harder. Sometimes it is necessary to challenge your mind, to exercise it like you would your legs or your arms.
Switch up your regular routine, add something new to your day. Start to learn a new language or how to play an instrument. Start a new hobby or pick up an old hobby that you might have had. Play fun brain puzzles or brain teasers. Call it training your brain.
Keeping your mind active and stimulated is important to your mental energy levels. Find ways to develop mental growth.
5. Breaks Are Necessary
Everyone needs a break, yes, even you. Without taking breaks and overworking yourself can push you towards burnout. You will find yourself lacking the energy to do even the easiest things even for yourself.
When you feel that you are tiring, then take a break. Listing to your mental needs are just as important to your well being and physical needs. A break gives you time to recharge yourself and give yourself much needed time to relax. It gives your mind the time and space it needs to recharge and boost its energy levels. Which brings me nicely onto….
The world we live in is loud and busy all the time. Your mind can be filled with many thoughts all at the same time, a sometimes it can be hard to stop thinking. There are times in your day where it is important to slow down and not think.
Meditation is one way in which you can turn your mind off for some time. Practising meditation daily can help you control your thoughts and anxieties. It allows you to focus on yourself and recharge your mind after a long day.
Having a set time in the day where you can meditate and make time for your mind to relax is great to keep your energy levels maintained and keeping your mind healthy.
I naturally, also recommend self-hypnosis, here are some resources to help you in the regard:
Firstly, you might like some of these free resources with regards to self-hypnosis:
Both are basic and founded in very evidenced-based principles grounded in solid science rather than the majority of wooo and pseudoscience that is usually inherent with the topic of self-hypnosis. You can get a bunch of other free resources at this page of my college website too.
Secondly, you could make a small investment and buy my book “The Science of Self-Hypnosis: The Evidence-Based Way to Hypnotise Yourself” which can be found on Amazon etc.
7. Stress Control
It can be easy to say that we should not stress too much, but our lives are so hectic and stressful that avoiding stress is easier said than done. However, what you can do is control how you handle the stress and, in certain situations, minimise it as much as you are able.
Handling your stress or minimising it can be a wonderful way to maintain your energy levels and even increase their levels. You can minimise your stress by prioritising the work that you need to have completed. On the occasion that you are unable to complete your work/tasks, you can be satisfied in knowing the most important ones are taken care of. Another way to cut down on your stress levels is to avoid situations in which you know your stress levels may spike. Again though, I recommend seeking out assistance from a professional or following a good evidence-based programme to help you if you feel that stress is effecting your mental energy levels.
8. Keep Positive Company
The company we keep has an immense effect on our mental energy levels. Sometimes you can find that after interacting with the people in your social circle, you feel exhausted and drained, or you may feel rejuvenated and content.
Keeping a circle around you that is positive, supporting, and loyal is one way to ensure you are looking after your mental energy levels and your mental health. The company you keep is something you can completely control, and choosing people that make you feel better can be important.
When we are talking about mental energy levels, there are many factors that are not always in our control. However, the way that we think is in our control to a certain extent. Thinking positively is one way to care for your mental energy levels.
How you think about matters that affect your life is likely to have an impact upon your mental energy. Sometimes it is hard to remember that not everything is in your control, but if you focus only on what you can control, you can reduce the effect it has on you. One of the best things you can do for your mental energy is to think positively about your life matters.
Thinking about your mental energy may not always be on something you are thinking about. However, mental energy levels affect your life just like your physical health. Taking care of your mental energy and maintaining their levels has positive benefits on different parts of your life. There are a variety of ways available for you to care for your mental energy levels in your everyday life, and you can start anytime.
Has this piqued your interest in this field? Then have a read of these pages:
1. Would you like a satisfying and meaningful career as a hypnotherapist helping others? Are you a hypnotherapist looking for stimulating and career enhancing continued professional development and advanced studes? Explore the pages of this website.
Adam Eason’s Anglo European training college.
2. Are you a hypnotherapist looking to fulfil your ambitions or advance your career?
Hypnotherapist Mentoring with Adam Eason.
Likewise, if you’d like to learn more about self-hypnosis, understand the evidence based principles of it from a scientific perspective and learn how to apply it to many areas of your life while having fun and in a safe environment and have the opportunity to test everything you learn, then come and join me for my one day seminar which does all that and more, have a read here: The Science of Self-Hypnosis Seminar. Alternatively, go grab a copy of my Science of self-hypnosis book.
Adam I have commented on the excellent benefits of your ezine and specific articles before, but after the 18 months we have just had I just wanted to thank you once more for being such a source of inspiration at such a difficult time. As an airline pilot I am familiar with the stresses this pandemic has created for us all, and over the years your articles have been such a wonderful way to add clarity when surrounded by the chaos that work, pandemics and families continually produce. With renewed thanks chap and please keep up the good work!
Thank you for taking the time write and say so Martin, best wishes to you, Adam.