You've always suspected that there's more to the energy equation than getting 40 winks and eating three squares a day--and you're absolutely right. How optimistic, motivated, or engaged you feel--not to mention how many things you're trying to focus on at any given time--can bog you down or boost you up, according to experts. So we've gathered nine science-backed fixes that will send your strength and stamina soaring all day.
Leave Waffling To The Griddle
Chicken or pasta? Seaside or mountain vacation? And of those 20 bathing suits you just tried on, which one should you actually buy? When everyday decisions feel like a chore, take comfort in knowing it's not just you. A University of Minnesota study found that when people were asked to choose from an assortment of things they could buy, they had less stamina and fared worse on math problems than those who were asked simply to look at the options. "Making choices pushes us back and forth, which is energy zapping," says Kathleen Vohs, PhD, lead author of the study.
Be brash. Research from the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Germany found that gut reactions--even in something as complex as the stock market--often yield the best results. If you're having trouble trusting your instincts, remind yourself that most decisions are reversible. And whenever possible, limit your options (especially if you're shopping for bathing suits).
Orange You Happy?
Warm colors, such as red, yellow, and orange, are more energizing than their cool counterparts. That's because, according to ongoing research at the Eiseman Center for Color Information & Training, they're attention grabbing--which activates our brain circuitry. Your best bet for a dreary day's attire, then? "Orange," says Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute. "It's a blend of red, which is adrenaline producing in the viewer, and yellow, which reminds us of the sun and feelings of exuberance."
Sneak orange into your wardrobe through colorful accessories such as jewelry, socks, or scarves, and stock your office with orange sticky notes and file folders. Another way? Keep an orange on your desk and then savor it as your afternoon snack.
Take A Technology Time-Out
Write e-mails while reading a report and talking on the phone? We all do it, but technology is among the worst multitasking traps. A British experiment found that when people tried to juggle work and simultaneously keep up with their e-mail, their measured IQs dipped 10 points.
Find a few times during the day to close your e-mail and power off your phone. If work is especially busy, lunch can be your technology break. If even that feels impossible, set a 1-hour distraction-free window for when you first get home. The work may still be there an hour later--but you'll have all the more energy to handle it, stress free.
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