4 Ways to Increase Energy (Without That 4th Cup of Joe)

We've all been there. It's 3 pm on a busy day and we have just hit a wall. Or we've been staring at that wall all day. Here are some simple ways to boost your energy that don't involve reaching for another cup of coffee.

1. Massage your ears - Alright, stay with me on this one. Accupuncturists know that your body’s accupressure meridians pass through your outer ear. These are the energy pathways that run through you. When you massage your outer ear, you are uniting the meridians, and increasing energy flow throughout the entire body. Here’s the trick: Pinch the rim of each ear between your thumb and pointer finger and simply rub up and down for 10 to 30 seconds. Don’t knock it till you try it!

2. Move your booty - Well duh. I know that when I’m soul-crushingly tired, the last thing I want to do is get up and exercise. But if I can just lace up those tennis shoes and take the dog around the block (or to the end of the driveway), I feel much better. And there is a ton of research to back that up. Over 90% of studies have shown that exercise “increases energy and reduces fatigue.” If you are at work, shoot for getting up and walking around every 30 minutes or so. Walk to the bathroom, or go up a few flights of stairs and take the elevator down. Just get up and move.

3. Pop Some Peppermint - When feeling sleepy, pop a peppermint, grab a piece of mint gum or inhale some peppermint oil. Peppermint has a distinct fragrance that has been shown to relax the bronchial smooth muscles, thereby increasing oxygen and other nutrients to the brain. This creates a mental boost and energizes the mind and body. If you happen to find some peppermint oil, you can place a couple of drops on your palms, rub them together and inhale during a mid-day slump. You can also place a few drops on the back of the neck. A little tingly, but super effective.

4. Teach yourself something new - So you've been on the computer all day and it's 3 pm. Feeling a little slow and sleepy? Just switching over to another project or checking e-mail is not going to reinvigorate you. What will? Learning something new. “The more actively you can engage your brain, the more alerting an activity is going to be,” says John Caldwell, PhD, a fatigue management specialist and former NASA researcher. “You can actually overcome a good bit of sleep pressure just by engaging in something interesting.” So listen to an interesting podcast or brush up on your Spanish for a few minutes. Just do something different that stimulates the brain. Tip: Facebook does not stimulate the brain.

There you have it. Just devoting a few minutes to actively trying to stimulate your brain and body will get you through the rest of your workday. How do you increase energy?