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How to Boost Your Physical

and Mental Energy

Kimberlee Bethany Bonura, Ph.D.

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Kimberlee Bethany Bonura, Ph.D.

Fitness and Wellness Consultant

r. Kimberlee Bethany Bonura earned

her Ph.D. in Educational Psychology
from Florida State University, with a
research focus in Sport and Exercise Psychology
and graduate certificates in Program Evaluation
and Educational Measurement and Statistics.
Her doctoral dissertation, The Impact of Yoga
on Psychological Health in Older Adults, won national awards from the
American Psychological Association (Division 47) and the Association for
Applied Sport Psychology (AASP).
Dr. Bonura serves as a peer reviewer and a member of the editorial board of
the International Journal of Yoga Therapy. She is also a peer reviewer for
the Journal of Aging and Physical Activity, The Journal of Alternative and
Complementary Medicine, the Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks,
The Journal of Social Change, and the Journal of Sport & Exercise
Psychology. Dr. Bonura serves as a member of the Masters Thesis Award
Review Committee for the AASP and as a peer reviewer for the annual
International Conference on College Teaching and Learning, as well as
the annual conferences of the American Educational Research Association,
the Canadian Psychological Association, and the American Psychological
Association. She served as editor in chief of the Yoga Alliance newsletter
Yoga Matters from 2002 to 2004.
Dr. Bonura has been practicing yoga since 1989 and teaching yoga since
1997. She is a triple-certified yoga instructor, registered with the Yoga
Alliance, and a member of the International Association of Yoga Therapists.
Dr. Bonura holds certifications as a personal trainer, group fitness instructor,
kickboxing instructor, Tai Chi and Qigong instructor, senior fitness specialist,
weight management instructor, and prenatal and youth fitness specialist.
These certifications are issued by the Aerobics and Fitness Association

of America and the International Fitness Professionals Association. She

is also a Certified Anger Resolution Therapist and a Reiki Master in the
Usui system.
Dr. Bonura has a line of instructional yoga and fitness DVDs that focus on
older adult and adapted fitness programs. She has been published in local,
national, and international magazines and journals in the areas of yoga,
health, wellness, fitness, stress management, and performance enhancement.
Dr. Bonura has developed specialized programs in seated/chair yoga for older
adults; pelvic yoga for pre- and postpregnancy, pre- and postmenopause,
incontinence prevention, and sexual enhancement; yoga for empowerment,
designed to encourage self-esteem in teenagers and young adults; and
partner yoga for family and marital enhancement. She has consulted with
individuals and organizations, including elite athletes, higher education
institutions, nonprofit community organizations, and corporations.


Table of Contents

Professor Biography.............................................................................i
Course Scope......................................................................................1
Facing the Day with Energy4
Sleep: Your Energy 401(k) 11
Boost Your Energy with Breath18
Energy Give-and-Take at Work25
Energy Give-and-Take in Relationships33
Awareness of Energy with Mindfulness40
Conserving Energy with Deliberate Choice47
Nurturing Your Energy with Diet55
Boost Your Energy with Happiness and Play62
Energy, Emotion, and Loving-Kindness69

Table of Contents

Your Energy Baseline77
The Energetic Life You Choose85


This series of lectures is intended to convey general health, fitness, and
nutritional information and is for educational purposes only. It is not a
substitute for, nor does it replace, professional medical advice, diagnosis, or
treatment of health conditions. Please consult your physician or other healthcare professional before beginning or changing any fitness or nutrition
program to make sure that it is appropriate for your needs.
If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always
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avoid, or delay obtaining medical or health-related advice from your healthcare professional because of something you may have seen or heard in these
lectures. Current health and fitness research may exist that could affect the
educational information provided in these lectures, and advice found herein
may not be based on the most recent findings or developments. Therefore,
the use of any information provided in these lectures is solely at your own
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How to Boost Your Physical and Mental Energy


hy am I so tired?
If only I had more energy

Unfortunately, for too many people, these are almost daily refrains. We go
through our days under a constant energy deficit, and a recent study showed
that baby boomers are the fastest-growing consumers of energy drinks. What
can be done to restore our vitality? In this course, we are introduced to the
benefits of mindfulness and meditation, seemingly simple self-care measures
that can make a profound difference. The underlying message throughout
these lessons is that self-care is not a luxury; its a matter of self-preservation.
There are no quick fixes to undo the benefits of sleep deprivation. To truly
be energetic and perform your best now, and to support health and wellness
for the long term, you have to prioritize sleep. You will not have energy if
you do not get sufficient sleep. In Lecture 2, we review the research on the
benefits of sleep, discuss how sleep improves energy and performance, and
discuss strategies for improving sleep quality and making sleep a greater
priority. Sleep serves as the foundation for an energetic life.
There is no such thing as energy without breath, and most of us live our lives
with shallow, compromised breath that we dont even realize depletes our
energy. Breath and energy are intimately connected. When your quality of
breath is compromised, so are your energy levels. In Lecture 3, we discuss
the connection between sleep and exercise, and practice several breathing
exercises to provide a toolkit of breathing activities that you can use to
improve energy and facilitate relaxation in your daily life.
We spend close to 50 hours per week at work, and the quality of our work
lives has an impact on the quality of the rest of our lives, including our
energy. In Lecture 4, we will discuss the relationship between work and

energy, and how our work lives can both facilitate and drain our energy
levels. We will discuss strategies for effectively protecting and managing
energy at work.
The people in your life affect your energy levels. Relationships matter, and
scientific research has demonstrated the power of connection to promote
health and longevity. However, not all relationships have the same benefits.
It is important to know yourself and your own needs for connection versus
self-nurturing, and to reflect on the relationships that promote your wellbeing versus those which may actually reduce your well-being. In Lecture 5,
we discuss the relationship between energy and our social lives, and how our
interactions with others both nurture and drain our energy levels.
At its most basic, mindfulness is the concept of fully living in the present
moment. Learning mindfulness can be a powerful strategy for energy
management, by helping us to focus on the moment and activity at hand. In
Lecture 6, we will practice four mindfulness activities to help you learn how
to implement mindfulness in daily life.


Our environment, including the broader cultural impact of American society,

an overabundance of choices, and environment factors like the financial
climate, can all have profound impacts on our energy levels. Likewise, the
environment can be a positive force, supporting us in more easily making
healthful decisions. Key is to understand the impact of the environment on
our health, our well-being, and the choices that we make. In Lecture 7, we
review the impact of the environment on our energy levels and discuss how
choice, in particular, can be a drain to energy.
Your diet is interwoven with your energy level. On the one hand, in its
purest sense, food provides calories, a source of energy. However, even more
importantly, the types of food we eat and the relationship we have with food
will affect our energy overall. In Lecture 8, we will discuss the connection
between food and energy, and practice restorative yoga, which can help to
develop a healthy, nurturing relationship with food that promotes energy
rather than stress.

While happiness may seem intangible, research shows that happiness has a
direct impact on our quality of life and our performance. Likewise, play is
an important part of life, and finding time to play, relax, and enjoy life can
be a vital part of enhancing our energy levels. In Lecture 9, a variety of play
strategies are reviewed, including the use of exercise as a form of adult play.
Just as our relationships with others affect our energy for life, our internal
relationship has a profound impact on our energy to engage with the world.
When we deal authentically with our emotions, it may take immediate energy
to process sorrow, fear, and grief, but this is less than the ongoing energy it
takes to stuff and avoid our emotions. In Lecture 10, we will discuss how we
can better use our emotional perspective to support energy in our lives. We
will learn loving-kindness meditation as a healing activity.
Your personal life circumstances and constraints will affect your energy, and
provide a framework within which you should build realistic expectations
for your energy level. For instance, your age, your health status, and
whether you are a parent or caregiver may affect your sleep, your free time,
and your overall energy levels. In Lecture 11, we will discuss various life
circumstances that affect energy levels, and review strategies for boosting
energy when you are fatigued.
Overall, an energetic life exists within a framework of a life that is meaningful
to you. Key is to choose the activities on which you want to spend your energy,
so that you are making choices that matter to you and improve your overall
quality of life. We will end the course with guidelines and a framework for
building an energetic life that is most meaningful to you.

Facing the Day with Energy

Lecture 1

Lecture 1Facing the Day with Energy

any working adults wake up cranky and bleary-eyed. They require

food, a shower, and coffee before theyre ready to face the day.
Yet children often spring out of bed immediately, excited for the
morning. What happens along the way to turn energetic children into adults
who just want to burrow back under the covers? How do we reclaim our
energy? How do we boost both our physical energy to do things and our
mental energy to want to do them? This lecture will lay out a framework for
answering those questions.
What is Energy?
Scientific discussions on energy break it down into the calories we
eat, which our bodies use as fuel. But when we talk about energy
what we have, whether we have enough, or whether we are lacking
itwere not really talking about having enough calories to
physically create the energy we need. The average American eats
between 500 and 600 more calories a day now than in 1970, so
were not short on calories. Were also not really talking about the
work we need to do, since so many of us have desk jobs that dont
actually require a whole lot of physical capacity or power.
Were talking about something far more vague and complex
and nuanced. We are talking about our zestabout our vitality.
Sometimes we feel a little like were tired, draggingjust not quite
fully here, not quite fully engaged in our livesso we think we lack
energy, and we look for ways to boost our energy.
Health and energy are connected and related, but they are not the
same. You can be healthy but not have energy. You can have energy
for something in particular or life in general in spite of health
challenges. The thing that makes the difference is that internal
somethingthat sense of vitality and engagement with life.

Thats the big-picture view of energy that will form the framework
for this course: vitality. Engagement with life. The recognition that
you have the power to have one sort of attitude or another.
Work and Energy
Your feelings about your work influence how energetic you are. A
Gallup survey indicates that 70 percent of working Americans are
either unengaged or actively disengaged with their jobs. According
to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average working adult spends
7.6 hours per day working. Parents who work full time spend even
more time working, about 8.8 hours per day.

Wavebreakmedia Ltd/Wavebreak Media/Thinkstock.

There are lessons we can learn from the 30 percent who really want
to go to work in the mornings. Maybe we cant change our jobs or
careers, but we can still identify strategies to make the best of our
work situations in order to improve our work satisfaction and our
work-life balance.

As much as 70 percent of working Americans are either unengaged or actively

disengaged with their jobs.

Research that looks at the relationship between poverty and

intelligence has found that the same farmers in the month before
harvest (when they are financially stressed) versus a month after
harvest (when finances are easy) have statistically significant
differences in IQ. Just think about the places in your own life
where stress is reducing your cognitive performance. Think about
the additional time and effort you have to put into cognitive tasks
because of the stress in your life.
If stress is making your cognitive processing power less effective,
it will take more energy to do your job. When we talk about energy,
we have to talk about stress.
Sleep and Energy
You cannot have energy if you dont sleep. According to the
National Institutes of Health, the average adult needs seven to
eight hours of sleep per night. Even if you are getting six and a half
hours a night, you are still accumulating a sleep debt that is going
to cause fatigue. No matter what else you do, no matter your diet,
your exercise, or your psychological framework, you cannot power
through lack of sleep.

Lecture 1Facing the Day with Energy

During the power-driven 1980s and 1990s, a lot of high-profile

celebrities and business executives were proud of their capacity to
get by on limited sleep: four or five hours per day. If you look at
some of the most powerful executives of that era, you might notice
that they ended up with catastrophic health impacts a few decades
laterheart attacks, strokes, and severe memory loss. Lack of sleep
has a strong impact on your body and your mind, and it will catch
up with you.
Margaret Thatcher famously only slept four hours a night. After she
was out of office, she suffered stress-related health conditions and
had severe cognitive impairment at the end of her life. Bill Clinton,
who slept only five or six hours a night throughout his presidency,
ended up with a quadruple-bypass. Now he actually gives speeches

on the importance of sleep. Clinton has gone so far as to blame

some of the political dysfunction in the United States on the fact
that all of our politicians are sleep-deprived.
Research from Penn Medicine confirms that consistent lack of sleep
negatively affects the brain and leads to long-term neurological
damage. Other research using MRIs in adults has shown the
relationship between consistent lack of sleep and the development
of memory impairment.
Building an Energetic Life
The frame for energy is that an energetic life is a purposeful life.
You have to feel engaged and motivated in order to have energy.
You have to take care of yourself through a healthy diet, exercise,
and by nurturing supportive relationships, and then you build
your energetic life through your enthusiasm and motivation for
life itself.
To improve your energy, you need to address three main aspects.
First, you need to build your reserves, this is all about sleep and
self-care. Second, you can make good choices that boost your
energychoices about having things and people in your life to
create a sense of vitality and engagement. And third, you need
to understand that energy is not endless and that you must make
mindful decisions about how you allocate and conserve your
energy. You must set priorities about how you use and spend your
energy in your day and about how you recharge your energy when
your batteries run low.
The choices you make to build your reserves, boost your energy,
and mindfully allocate your energy will be unique to you, your life,
and your situation. These five sets of questions can help you make
those choices:
1. What does energy mean to you? And why are you trying to
boost it? What is it that you really want to achieve?

2. Are you doing what you love at work, in hobbies, with your
home, and in your life? Are the things you fill your day with
things that make you happy? How much of your time each day
is stuff you dont enjoy? For those things, where can you make
changes to either streamline and eliminate, or shift perspective
to find the silver lining, or find a new approach to make it
something you enjoy?
3. Does your environment provide or take away energy? Do your
home, your clothes, and the way your world is set up make
you feel good about who you are and what you have? What do
you have around you that you dont love, dont use, dont need,
and is just cluttering up your environment? Everything in your
world either gives you energy or takes energy from you. How
is your environment affecting you?

Lecture 1Facing the Day with Energy

4. Are you interacting with people you care about (and who care
about you)? Do you have friends who, when their name pops
up on caller ID, you dont want to answer the phone? What
about the friends who, if your caller ID says their name, you
drop everything and run across the room to take the call? Are
you spending your time on the people who make you feel good
and valued?
5. Are you valuing your own life and self-worth with self-care?
Are you too busy to exercise? Are you too busy to eat
healthfully? Do you prioritize the things you have to do
over your own health and wellness? Are you making mindful
decisions to say yes to things you value and no to things
you dont?
For now, reflect on where you currently are, so that you are able to
see the opportunities for change and improvement.

When youre tired, and

youre trying to boost
your energy, getting up
that early and committing
to that much time can
feel overwhelming. But
small changes and small
commitments can be very
profound, and can have a
powerful impact on how
you feel.

Wavebreakmedia Ltd/Wavebreak Media/Thinkstock.

Two-Minute Meditation
Many meditation teachers recommend meditation first thing in the
morning. It is a good way to focus your energyto set yourself in
a space of calm, of feeling centered, of feeling in control. Many
traditions will encourage you to meditate for an hour, very early
in the day, beginning at 4:00 or 4:30 am, when the world is still
dark and quiet, as a way
to help you more deeply
connect with your own
inner quiet.

Try starting with a two-minute

meditation every morning and work
your way up to an hour-long session.

Consider trying a two-minute meditation each morning when you

wake up. Commit to trying it for one week, and then you can reassess.
First, set an intention for what it is you want to feel in the morning.
Do you want to feel awake? Energized? Peaceful? Alert? Vibrant?
Healthy? Pick your wordone wordas a clear, singular focus for
what you want to feel as you get up, and start your day. Lets use
strong as an example.
Each morning, when you wake up, before you get out of bed, focus
on your breath for two minutes. Breathe calmly and quietly. Inhale
through the nose. With each exhalation say, I am strong.

Suggested Reading
Hohlbaum, The Power of Slow.
Teitelbaum, From Fatigued to Fantastic!

Questions to Consider
1. What does energy mean to you? Why are you trying to boost it? What is
it that you really want to achieve?

2. Are you doing what you love?

Lecture 1Facing the Day with Energy

3. Are you valuing your own life and self-worth with self-care?


Sleep: Your Energy 401(k)

Lecture 2

he great irony of adulthood is that we avoid sleep so that we dont

miss out on life, but by not sleeping, we are missing out on much
of the life we want to enjoy. Getting enough sleep may feel kind
of boring, and its hard to see the benefits when you are younger. But if
you dont do it, the consequences can be catastrophic, particularly as you
get older. This lecture describes why sleep matters and what it does, with
a focus on the benefits of sleep that are connected to your energy and
your performance.
Sleep and Performance
In a study published in 2003 in the Journal of Sleep Research, 66
normal volunteers spent either three, five, seven, or nine hours
daily time in bed for one week. This was followed by three days of
recovery with eight hours daily time in bed for recovery. They were
tested regularly on a psychomotor vigilance task.
When people were held to sleep deprivation of either seven or
five hours per night, performance decreased but then stabilized. It
stayed at the stable level even after three days of recovery with
sufficient sleep.
The people only getting three hours of sleep per night declined
in performance over the seven days, and even after three days of
recovery in regular sleep, they were still underperforming compared
to everyone else.
The people getting nine hours of sleep performed better than
everyone else across the week of the experiment. They also
continued to perform better even after the sleep-deprived
participants got more sleep in a recovery phase.


The authors of the study concluded that the brain does adapt
to chronic sleep restriction, but we adapt at a reduced level of
performance. If you are getting by on five, six, or seven hours of
sleep, you probably have adapted, but still wont perform as well as
if you were truly rested.
Sleep Deprivations Effects
Sleep deprivation reduces your ability to make good decisions
about sleep. People who consistently get six hours of sleep a night
report that they have adapted to function on less sleep, but actual
investigations of their mental alertness and mental performance
show that they are suffering the effects of sleep deprivation.
In terms of efficiency, getting sufficient sleep is also one of the best
health-promoting decisions you can make. Consider the common
cold. Adults who sleep fewer than seven hours per night are almost
three times more likely to get sick when exposed to a cold virus than
adults who sleep eight or more hours a night. Prioritizing eight hours
of sleep per night can save you days of productivity lost to sickness.


Lecture 2Sleep: Your Energy 401(k)

Sleep deprivation can also make you lose larger chunks of time to
far more dangerous threats. For instance, postmenopausal women
with breast cancer who routinely sleep less than six hours per night

Adults who sleep fewer than seven hours per night are almost three times more
likely to get sick when exposed to a cold virus than adults who sleep eight or
more hours a night.

may be twice as likely to have more aggressive breast cancers as

those who sleep more. Sleep is part of the process that regulates
our bodys natural DNA repair. When you dont sleep, you disrupt
the bodys natural healing process, which can make you more
susceptible to chronic diseases such as cancer.
Lack of sleep can also make you more susceptible to mental health
disorders. In fact, after just 24 hours of sleep deprivation, healthy
people exhibit symptoms of schizophrenia, including reduced
inhibition, attention deficits, more sensitivity to light, color, and
brightness, and altered sense of smell and time. Lack of sleep can
literally create psychological and psychiatric dysfunction.
Sleep-deprived people have impaired judgment. One Swedish
study asked participants to go grocery shopping twice with a fixed
amount of money. When the same people went shopping while
sleep deprived, they bought more food overall, and more fatty and
unhealthy food options in particular.
Sleep is also involved in how we learn and remember. In one study,
preschoolers worked on a memory game, and then either stayed
awake or took a nap that was about an hour and 15 minutes long.
Then they played the memory game again. When they stayed
awake, they forgot 15 percent of what they learned. When they
napped, they remembered everything.
Sleep also matters for preserving long-term memory. Researchers
from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health say
that interventions to improve sleep quality may help to prevent or
slow the onset of Alzheimers disease.
How Sleep Helps
You need sufficient sleep in order to stay healthy. One way sleep
helps promote health is through growth hormone. In kids, growth
hormone is a primary factor in growth. In adults, growth hormone
is critical to maintaining and repairing tissues and organs. Growth
hormone is primarily secreted at night, while you are sleeping.

Sleep also keeps you safe. Consider that a blood alcohol level of
0.08 is considered legally drunk. By 18 hours awake, your alertness
level is comparable to someone with a 0.05 alcohol levelnot
legally drunk, but certainly tipsy. By 24 hours awake, your alertness
level and reflex are comparable to someone who has a 0.1 blood
alcohol level, which is drunk past the legal limit.
Among kids who have had two or more injuries in the past year,
91 percent of them got less than nine hours of sleep per night.
Whatever your age, when you are sleep deprived, you are clumsier,
your attention span is less, your memory is less effective, your
decision-making capacity is impacted, and your reflexes are slower.

Lecture 2Sleep: Your Energy 401(k)

There are other ways that sleep can affect our health and energy
levels. Consider the value that we place on appearance. Sleep can be
part of feeling good about how we look. Research from University
Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland shows that people who
slept less had more visible signs of aging. Getting enough sleep
may make you feel better about what you see in the mirrorand
thats going to give you more energy.
Getting More Rest
Naps can be a good way to boost your energy. Different naps have
different purposes, and you should choose a nap based on what you
need. A 90-minute nap clears the brains short-term memory storage
and helps make room for you to learn new information. A 20-minute
power nap primarily helps to boost alertness. If you only have a few
minutes and need a quick boost, a German study has found that a
micro-nap as short as six minutes may help boost your memory.
Some people try to make up for limited sleep during the week
by sleeping in on the weekends. That strategy has downsides.
For instance, one research study found that the greater your
average daily variation in wake-up time, the higher your body-fat
percentage. People who have less than 30 minutes variation in their
wake-up time have, on average, 6 percent less body fat than people
who have 2 hours or more difference in their wake-up time.

If you just try to clear your schedule and go to bed early one night,
that can also backfire. In fact, some sleep researchers assert that it is
easier to stay up an hour past your bedtime than it is to go to bed 15
minutes before your normal bedtime. If you are trying to get more
sleep, you may need to move your bedtime up. Move your bedtime
gradually, in 15-minute increments. That gives your body time to
adjust and build a habit of rest.
While you cant really catch up on missed sleep, you might be able
to bank it occasionally. If you have a work project coming up or a
social outing that will require you to skimp on shut-eye, stock your
sleep bank in advanceby getting more sleep than normalso that
you still perform at a higher level even on limited sleep. Use this
approach as a sleep emergency fund. It shouldnt be your regular
approach to sleep, but its good to know you can save up rest and
have enough energy when you need it.


Overcoming Sleep Barriers

One common sleep barrier is work. Your work schedule and
your work obligations may create time demands that make sleep
difficult. But if you are skimping on sleep, you are performing at a
lower level. You have adapted, but you are not excelling. How can
you adjust your schedule to get more sleep so that you can perform
more effectively?

If you only have a few minutes and need a quick boost, a German study has
found that a micro-nap as short as six minutes may help boost your memory.

Another common sleep barrier is social interests and

entertainment. The world is plugged in 24/7, and its hard to
unplug when there are so many things to see and do and watch.
But ask yourself if another episode of the latest cult TV show or
another round of online shopping or another batch of reading the
news is really going to make you feel happier or more engaged or
more motivated for life.
Health or life circumstances can make sleep difficult. You want to
sleep more but struggle with emotional or physical challenges that
make sleep difficult, like insomnia or depression or chronic pain.
These are challenges that will affect both your rest and your sleep,
and you will have to identify personal adaptations to make rest
The physical condition of your sleep space matters. Evaluate how
you sleep, where you experience pain, and your preferred sleep
position to find the mattress that best fits your personal sleep needs.
Your pillow matters too. The type of pillow is going to depend
on the position you prefer for sleeping, but a good chiropractor
or physical therapist can likely make recommendations about
a pillow.
Lecture 2Sleep: Your Energy 401(k)

The lack of a consistent sleep routine can also disrupt sleep. The
simplest way to improve your sleep quality is to build a consistent
routine, both for life in general and for sleep in particular. It works
for kids, and research shows that it works for adults.
In terms of your schedule, be aware of the effect of light of your
sleep. Light in the day is good for your sleep. Light at bedtime and
during the night is bad for your sleep. A study in the journal of Sleep
Medicine reported that nighttime light exposure led to shallower
sleep and more mini-arousals.
Another common barrier to sleep is stress about sleep itself. For
instance, you may have anxiety about waking up during the night.
It can help to learn that waking up at night is completely normal. In

fact, bimodal and segmented sleep is not unusual. A normal nights

sleep includes many mini-arousals that last only a few seconds;
there can be as many as 3 to 15 per hour.
Sometimes, especially as we get older and under stress, these miniarousals may be full-on wake-ups, which can lead to sleep stress.
Working on our anxiety about sleep itself can go a long way to
helping us sleep better in spite of the mini-arousals. A study from
Northwestern University found that when insomniacs practiced
yoga for 15 to 20 minutes per day, twice per day for two months,
they spent less time awake at night.
If you consistently struggle with sleep quality and insomnia, a
sleep-improvement program can be valuable. Your doctor can
likely refer you to a sleep specialist. Some mental health providers
specialize in behavioral sleep training. There are also online tools
that can help. The Cleveland Clinic offers a low-cost online sleep
training program, which combines cognitive behavioral strategies
with practical tools like sleep logs and progress charts.

Suggested Reading
Breus, Good Night.
Lockley & Foster, Sleep.
Maas, Power Sleep.

Questions to Consider
1. Are you getting enough sleep? How many hours of sleep do you get

per night? Do you truly feel rested or have you learned to get by on
insufficient sleep?

2. What are the excuses you use about why you cant sleep? What are

the environmental factors that may be interfering with both your

sleep quality and your sleep quantity? How can you improve your
environment to better facilitate sleep?

Boost Your Energy with Breath

Lecture 3

f sleep is the foundation of energy, and good self-care is the frame of the
building, then your breath is everything else that it takes to build a home.
There is no such thing as energy without breath, and many of us live our
lives with shallow, compromised breath that we dont even realize depletes
our energy. Spending a little bit of time on something as simple and easy as
your breath seems too easy, but it can have a powerful impact on your health,
your sense of vitality, and your sense of energy.
Breath and Energy
Breath and energy are intimately connected. If you breathe
incorrectly, it affects your sleeping quality and your overall health
and well-being. It affects your performance in life, work, and
personal relationships. Deliberately focusing on the breath can
improve your energy level and help you to feel better overall.

Lecture 3Boost Your Energy with Breath

In the military, as part of a resilience-training program created

by Martin Seligmans positive psychology team at the University
of Pennsylvania, soldiers are taught that breathing is a tactical
exercise. In particular, soldiers are taught that they can use their
breath as a way to shift their energy to perform at their best, using
deliberate breathing strategies to either boost energy or relax.
The training program specifies that tactical breathing is a skill
like any other military skill, which requires regular practice. In
particular, the military tactical breathing training focuses on the
physical fundamentals, the mental fundamentals, and the emotional
fundamentals of breathing.
The physical fundamentals include inhaling through your nose,
using good posture, and breathing into the belly. Mental strategies
include using a cadence, or a specific count for the inhalation and


When you are doing

breathing exercises, unless
you are instructed to breathe
through your mouth, always
breathe through the nose.
Breath through the nose
is more deliberate and
focused. Its also better
for you overall, since your
nose provides the benefit of
filtering the airthats what
nose hairs are for.
Mouth breathing can dry out
your mouth and affect your
Breath through the nose is more
oral health. Chronic mouth deliberate and focused, and is better
breathing can dry out your for you overall.
mouth and gums, and be
associated with periodontal disease. Chronic mouth breathing can
be related to allergies and chronic inflammation in the respiratory
system, so if you suspect that you are a chronic mouth breather, talk
with your dentist and doctor to rule out any health conditions.
For all exercises, you should be in a comfortable position. You
can be seated on the floor or on a chair, or you can lie on your
back. If you are fatigued, and you lie on your back, there is a
higher likelihood that you will fall asleep. In fact, deep breathing
exercises are a good thing to do as soon as you lie down in bed,
because they will help you relax and quiet down from the day,
which facilitates sleep.



exhalation. The emotional fundamentals include the understanding

that you will get better, and have more positive experiences, with
practice. All of these are applicable to breathing practices we
can use.

Belly Breathing
Belly breathing is the foundation for most breathing practices,
including yoga, Tai Chi and Qigong, and the martial arts. Breath
training starts with learning how to breathe through your belly. You
are not so much learning how to breathe through your belly as unlearning years of sucking in your stomach and re-learning how to
let your breath be soft and natural.
Ideally, as you become more and more comfortable with belly
breathing, it will become your normal form of breath, which will
improve your energy overall. This happens slowly, over time. At
first, you will only breathe into the belly when you focus on your
breathits a lot like working on your posture. Additional practice
and deliberate focus will eventually lead to good posture or good
breathing as your natural behavior.

Lecture 3Boost Your Energy with Breath

You may one day become suddenly aware of your back moving
against the furniture behind you, or of the expanse of your rib cage,
because the deep breath will have become ingrained as the natural
way to breathe.
Belly breathing supports both improved energy and a sense of
relaxation, because it provides better airflow and oxygenation to
boost your energy during the day, and helps you to calm and quiet
your mind to facilitate deeper sleep at night.
After a belly breathing exercise, you may feel like you are
recharged and ready to do something, or you may feel like you need
a nap. Either is possible because belly breathing helps you to better
connect with how you are really feeling.
Square Breathing
Square breathing comes from Qigong, and is intended to help you
feel how qi, or energy, enters and leaves your body. According to
Qigong principles, we inhale and exhale qi, just as we inhale and
exhale oxygen.


Qi is key to our sense of energy and vitality. The qi flows through

our body just as blood does, bringing energy and vitality throughout
our system.
In square breathing, four components make the square: the inhale,
the space after the inhalation, the exhale, and the space after the
inhalation. These need to be equal in length, in order to form a
square breath.
You may find yourself feeling a little stressed and panicky when you
hold the space after the exhalation. That is normal. Try to relax into
it. Remember that you will get air again. If you have a heart condition
or high blood pressure, or if you are pregnant, you shouldnt hold
your breath, so keep the spaces to just a count of 1 or 2.
Extended Exhalation
We tend, naturally, to have longer inhalations than exhalations in
our regular breathing patterns. Exacerbating this, many breathing
exercises put more focus on the inhalation than on the exhalation.
With this focus on inhalation above exhalation, some breath-based
instructors propose that we never fully empty our lungs. Because of
this, there is always some air still sitting in our lungs, and we can
never truly get a good inhalation, either.
Because you are essentially working with a smaller volume of lung
capacity, you have to breathe more quickly to get oxygen and fresh
air, which creates stress for the mind and the body. Rapid breathing
is often both an indicator and a creator of stress.
Forced exhalation can be a very energizing form of breath. By
completely emptying your lungs, you will find that your inhalations
are naturally deeper and more expansive. This brings more oxygen
into your body, which can create a sense of being recharged and
vibrant and energized. No need to pay expensive per-minute prices
for an oxygen barjust purposefully exhale and your lungs will
naturally expand and fill with oxygen on the inhale.


Purposeful exhaling can be a great breathing exercise to do when

you are feeling tired and worn down and need a pick-me-up, or if
you need to gather your resources and energy for a specific task. It
can provide inspiration, passion, and a renewed sense of vigor.
It can also help when you find yourself out of breath. When out of
breath after a physical or emotional ordeal, we almost pant trying to
get a lot of inhalations, which keeps us stressed and revved up. If
you focus on the exhale instead, to clear the old air and reestablish
deliberate control over your breath, then the inhale will take care of
itself in a slower, more relaxed way.
Stimulating Breath
Another breathing exercise that can be used specifically to boost
energy is called stimulating breath or bellows breath. In the
Kundalini Yoga tradition, it is called breath of fire. Dr. Andrew
Weil, a renowned complementary and alternative medicine expert,
recommends this breath instead of a cup of coffee and says that it
leaves you feeling invigorated like a good workout.

Lecture 3Boost Your Energy with Breath

This breathing exercise may actually be a good workout, as it

requires full abdominal engagement. Stimulating breath involves
rapid panting through the nose.
Youll feel the physical exertion throughout your torso, and
particularly in your abdomen. At first, you may only be able
to do 15 or 30 seconds worth, and you may actually feel a little
lightheaded. You can gradually increase your time up to one minute
of practice. Its a great, simple, one-minute practice for the midafternoon slump when you need to recharge and focus to power
through the rest of your day.
Because this is a very fast breath that replicates panting, skip this
one if you have a history of high blood pressure or panic attacks.


4-7-8 Relaxing Breath

According to Weil, the 4-7-8 breath is a natural tranquilizer for the
nervous system. Youll feel a little relaxed the first time you do it,
but as you practice it more, you will find it a more powerful way to
support relaxation and calm.
In this breath, you inhale through the nose and exhale through the
mouth. The exhale is the challenging part. You will need to purse
your lips a little, and it will make a whoosh sound.
Initially, youll only do this breath four times in one sitting, but as
it becomes comfortable, you can do up to eight cycles in a single
sitting. You may feel a little lightheaded at first. If so, just sit calmly
and quietly until your balance is restored.
Using Breathing Exercises
You can use forced exhalation and stimulating breath when you
need an energy boost. Square breathing and the 4-7-8 relaxing
breath are useful when you need to calm and quiet the mind. Belly
breathing is good to practice any time; it can improve how you
breathe and provide a better sense of connection among your body,
your breath, and your awareness.
Remember that to truly leverage the power of your breath for
improving your energy, you have to practice regularly. Try picking
one or two breath exercises that feel particularly good to you, and
practice them for five minutes each day.
Five minutes of breathing exercise per day is a good, simple
starting point. It requires a low threshold of commitment, but its
enough to allow you to see and experience the energy benefits of
deliberate breathing. As the exercises feel comfortable and you feel
the benefits, you can always add more.


Suggested Reading
Brown & Gerbarg, The Healing Power of the Breath.
Rosen, The Yoga of Breath.
Stenudd, Qi.
Weil, Breathing.


Lecture 3Boost Your Energy with Breath

Select one or two of the breathing exercises and do them at least three or four
days a week to develop a solid habit of good breathing.


Energy Give-and-Take at Work

Lecture 4

f you are disinterested in your job or your careersomething that you

have likely spent a large portion of your life building and creatingit
may take awhile to sort out the tangles, and figure out a road ahead that
leads to an engaged, meaningful life. This lecture looks at the strategies you
can use to feel meaning and purpose in the short termwhich will boost
your present energy levelsand to identify the big changes you want to
consider to feel truly engaged, and thus truly energetic, in the long term.
Maintaining Energy and Setting Boundaries
Energy at work starts with sufficient sleep, rest, and self-care. Sleep
is fundamental to having energy. If you are fatigued, it will affect
every aspect of your life, including your work performance.
Consider the medical profession. One 2004 study from Harvard
Medical School found that hospitals could actually reduce medical
errors by as much as 36 percent if doctors work shifts were no
more than 16 hours and their total work schedule was no more than
80 hours per week. Other research has found that the rate of errors
in surgery go up each hour over the course of a surgeons day.
Staying permanently on call never gives you a chance to unwind,
which will affect your performance the next day. If you are
answering emails at 10:00 pm on your smartphoneand 60 percent
of white-collar workers with smartphones monitor them 13.5 hours
or more per dayyou are not doing your employer any favors.
According to a study by the American Psychological Association,
only 36 percent of employees say their companies provide
sufficient resources to help them manage stress, and only 52 percent
of employees feel their employers value work-life balance. The


company you work for has to have goals that focus on staying
in business. You need to have goals that focus on your own
sustainability and your own bottom line.

We overestimate our ability
to multitask. When you think
you are multitasking, you
arent doing both tasks at
once; instead, you are shifting
focus back and forth between
the different tasks, and it takes
some time and effort to focus
every time you shift.

Lecture 4Energy Give-and-Take at Work

If you need to focus on

something important, shut down
your e-mail program and turn
off the ringer on the phone so
that you dont lose focus. If
you need to stay connected in When you are multitasking, you
are shifting focus back and forth
case of an urgent issue, then set between the different tasks,
a reasonable amount of time to making you less effective at both.
work without interruption, 30
minutes for instance, and set a timer. At 30 minutes, you can take
a quick break, then check your e-mail and phone for any urgent
issues that may have come up.
When you want to multitask, multitask purposefully. The ideal
multitasking is to combine two tasks that are different in nature,
especially if one task is relatively mundane. Think quizzing your

Wavebreakmedia Ltd/Wavebreak Media/Thinkstock.

Part of setting boundaries is giving yourself permission to say

no. If you are offered a project as a stretch opportunity that you
dont really want, or a promotion that means you have to move
somewhere you dont want to live, its OK to say no. Be mindful of
what makes you happy.

kid on spelling words while washing the dishes, folding the laundry
while listening to a book on tape, organizing business receipts
while you are on hold on the phone, or going out for a walk with a
colleague to brainstorm ideas for a new project.
Physical Environments
The next time you are trying to identify a solution to a problem at
work, rather than piling everyone into a stuffy conference room,
go out for a walk in a small group and see if you can come up with
more creative solutions by being active together.
The physical environment of your office has a physical effect on
your health and well-being. Many workers are in open-space
offices. The open-space office was developed as a way to support
communication and collaboration, but research shows they actually
reduce employee satisfaction across the board
Whether you are in an open space or a cube farm, if you can hear
your coworkers, that ongoing noise of typing, talking, chewing,
stapling, and pen tapping can get to you. The effects of the noise
and music seem to negatively affect performance for introverted
employees more.
The light in the office also matters. A lack of natural light reduces
sleep quality and quantity. Bright overhead artificial light also
intensifies aggression and conflict.
You may not have flexibility to create your dream office, but you
can do the best you can to boost your energy and effectiveness in
the space youve got.
If noise bothers use, try simple steps like headphones that cut
out background noise. Use them when you really need to focus
on a project or a specific task.
If you dont have a window near your desk, get a natural
spectrum light. In particular, blue-toned white lights can help
boost alertness and productivity.

If you are in a cube or an open space, figure out some ways that
you can find a sense of personal space when you need it; for
instance, a bench in a nearby park may serve.
Energy Rhythms
Be aware of your own circadian rhythm. We really do have a clock
gene, or chronotype, which controls natural sleep preferences.
On average, early birds wake up one to a few hours earlier than
night owls.

Lecture 4Energy Give-and-Take at Work

When you have a choice in activities at work, think about your own
natural cycle. Are you spot-on with performance first thing in the
morning, or do you take a few hours to warm up? Whenever you
can, schedule your most important tasks for the times when you
are at your personal best. If your office offers flexible schedules,
plan your workday based on the schedule that best matches your
personal energy cycle.
In the afternoon, its normal to experience a drop in energy. Even if
you are getting enough sleep, due to natural circadian rhythms, the
afternoon slump is normal. If you can, a brief 10- to 20-minute power
nap can decrease fatigue and improve alertness. If you dont have a
private space to nap, fresh air and a brisk walk offer a good alternative.
Mid-afternoon is also a good time for an energy tea, like ginger,
peppermint, or lemon balm, since all three scents serve as a pickme-up. While caffeine seems like a logical go-to for the midafternoon dip, remember that caffeine later in the day will reduce
your sleep quality that night.
Bad Bosses
According to Gallup, the top reason people quit their jobs isnt the
pay, the location, or even that all-elusive engagement with work.
The number one reason people quit their jobs is a bad immediate
supervisor. The person you work directly for has a powerful impact
on how you feel at work, how you feel about work, and whether
you stay at work.

Several studies in Europe and Canada have correlated leadership

style and supervisor behavior to employee well-being. For instance,
one study looked at 63 supervisory behaviors such as control,
flexibility, leadership, and communication, and found that even
controlling for individual characteristics of employees, like age and
health, the supervisors behavior had an impact on the employees
mental and physical health.
When you have a bad boss, you might be able to fix it by working
with Human Resources and getting help mediating the solution.
You might be lucky enough to get another job and find a better
boss. You might be able to use some strategies at work to mitigate
the bosss personality.


However you handle it, the reality is that the person directly above
you affects your energy. Having an awareness of who your boss
is, and how he or she affects you, can be a powerful shift. Once
you identify the source of your occupational fatigue, it is easier to
find strategies to deal with it, and easier to cope with the things you
cant change.

Sometimes, as leaders, when we think we are just checking in, we may actually
be interfering with how our employees experience the project, and their sense
of engagement and connection to it.

If you are the boss, be aware of what you are bringing to the people
who work for you, and how you are influencing their energy and
their engagement throughout the day. Sometimes, as leaders, when
we think we are just checking in, we may actually be interfering
with how our employees experience the project, and their sense of
engagement and connection to it. This has profound implications
for leaders who are prone to micro-manage.
Time Management
The average worker spends one and a half to three hours a day
loafing on the job, doing things like checking personal e-mail,
catching up with friends on social media, shopping online, or
browsing headlines.

Lecture 4Energy Give-and-Take at Work

On some level, deliberate loafing at work is a psychological

mechanism to gain some privacy. You need a minute to yourself,
so you shut your work e-mail and open up social media. You need
a break and you need space. But if youre loafing at work and then
taking work home and checking your smartphone throughout the
evening, then youre preventing yourself from having privacy.
What you really need, in order to feel better both at work and at
home, is to have a better sense of separation between the two.
If you are always monitoring your smartphone when you are at
home, and always connected to work, then you never get a mental
break. The stress never leaves you. Whether you are talking to your
spouse and spending time with your children or cooking or cleaning
or just watching TV, its still there, your smartphone looming.
Workers who put in 11 hours a day have a 67 percent increased risk
of heart disease than those who work 8. Workers who do more than
50 hours a week are three times more likely to develop an alcohol
abuse problem. If you have between one and a half to three hours a
day at work that you could more effectively put to work, then you
could get your key tasks done and completely shut work off when
you leave for the day.


Planning the Future

Where do you fall in the engagement-at-work continuum? Are you
one of the lucky ones in your dream job? One of the desperately
unhappy? Or one of the muddling along middle?
If you love your job, fantastic! Sit down and identify the top five
factors that make you happy at work and prioritize strategies
for how you can foster those elements to maintain your work
happiness. If there is anything that dulls the joy, then identify those
elements and determine whether there are changes you can make
for improvement.
If youre not happy, the first big question you need to ask yourself
is: What are your options? Can you find the silver lining and make
this job good enough? Can you identify some short-term strategies
for improvement? Can you identify a longer-term plan to be good
enough for now while working toward something better in the long
The takeaway from all this is that you should make lists: what you
like about your job, what you tolerate about your job, and what is
too much to bear. Then, figure out how to be appreciative of what
you like, make some tweaks and improvements to the tolerate list,
and eliminate the things that are truly negative.

Suggested Reading
Hirshberg, For Better or for Work.
Paulsen, Empty Labor.
Peter, The Peter Principle.
Pink, Drive.


Questions to Consider
1. Reflect on your current work environment and work satisfaction:
a. What are the top five things you like about your job?

b. How can you improve your focus on them, and increase their role in
your work life?

2. Reflect on your current work environment and work satisfaction:

a. What are the top five things you do not like about your job?

b. What are short-term strategies and small changes you can make to
decrease their impact on your quality of work life?

Lecture 4Energy Give-and-Take at Work

c. What are longer-term strategies and bigger changes you should

consider implementing to improve the quality of your work life?


Energy Give-and-Take in Relationships

Lecture 5

elationships matter, and scientific research has demonstrated the

power of connection to promote health and longevity. However,
not all relationships have the same benefits. It is important to know
yourself and your own needs for connection versus self-nurturing, and to
reflect on the relationships that promote your well-being versus those which
may actually reduce your well-being. This lecture looks at the complicated
relationship between energy and our social lives, and how our interactions
with others both nurture and drain our energy levels.
Building Social Relationships
If you dont have good social relationships, then figuring out how
to build them can feel like just another stressor. Where do you start?
You can start small and get positive results. In one study, commuters
on the bus or train were assigned to three groups; the first was asked
to talk to strangers, the second to sit in solitude, and the third to
commute however they normally do. The participants who were
asked to talk to strangers predicted they would have a negative
commute, but they ended up reporting a positive experience and
improved well-being. Interaction with strangers, even when it is
light and casual, can be a positive experience that improves how we
feel overall.
Volunteer work can be another great way to increase your social
interactions with others, and experience boosts in your own wellbeing and energy. Research has shown that positive effects on
volunteers occur most when community service is supplemented
with reflection and discussion. Community service may be most
beneficial for us when we take time to think about what we are
doing, instead of just volunteering on autopilot.


Lecture 5Energy Give-and-Take in Relationships

Remember to have funlaughter

is the best way to secure a

Second, remember to be
yourself. When people
believe they are behaving authentically, they have higher selfesteem and experience less distress. Authenticity matters in
personal relationships in particular, and feeling inauthentic in
how you relate to others is correlated with depression.
Social Media
Social media can be either a drain or a boost to our energy and
sense of well-being, depending on how we use it.
A study of college-age women found that more time on Facebook
was associated with higher levels of disordered eating. The worst
effects were for those who use social media for validation from
others. The women who placed greater importance on receiving
comments and likes on their status updates from friends had
higher levels of disordered eating.
When people lurk and stalk and passively attend, they experience
a greater sense of feeling lonely and isolated. Its like looking at a
party through a glass window but not being inside. However, when



If you are sold on the benefits of social relationships, and you want
to put energy into making new relationships and strengthening old
ones, then consider these two
key concepts.
First, remember to have
fun. Research indicates that
laughter is the best way
to secure a relationship.
This is due to the spillover
effect: When we share a
laugh and have fun with
someone, we connect that
person with feeling good
about ourselves.

people actively engage with social mediaresponding to others,

directly messaging friendstheir well-being increases and their
sense of loneliness decreases. If you are going to use social media,
you need to actually engage.
Remember that what we get from others online is contagious.
If youre feeling down, its wise to ask yourself: Are you truly
feeling down, or have you caught someone elses emotions online?
Conversely, if you need a pick-me-up, navigate toward your
positive friends and put online contagion to good use.
Parents often spend a lot of their time correcting their children. This
is, in many ways, a primary use of parental energy. But the ways we
do this may not always be an effective use of our time or energy.
Consider parents who believe that spanking is an appropriate
strategy for teaching children how to behave. Did you know that in
most instances, when children are spanked, they misbehave again
within just 10 minutes of being hit? Spanking is stressful for both
the parent and the child, and it doesnt seem like a productive way
to use energy.
Some parents avoid physical punishment, and use time-outs instead.
The problem with time-outs is that they dont actually improve
behavior because the child doesnt learn the correct action. Timeouts often lead to power struggles between parent and child. These
parents are putting their energy into disciplinary actions, but again,
their energy is wasted, because research has consistently shown that
punishing a child for behaving incorrectly does not teach children
how to behave.
Modeling appropriate behavior and rewarding appropriate behavior
are strategies that are far more effective. The challenge, of course,
is that, when you are dealing with an issue with your child, working
on a long-term strategy can feel like it takes a lot of energy and


resources. It may seem that a quick spanking or a time-out is

faster. However, the extra initial energy put into a more productive
approach is actually a more effective use of your time than the
repeated use of your energy on punishments that dont work and
dont affect the childs behavior.
This is an important lesson for parents, but its also an important
message overall when considering our relationships and the social
world in which we live. The things that may be best for our energy
in the end may take a little more energy in the short term.

Lecture 5Energy Give-and-Take in Relationships

Setting Boundaries
Sometimes, the key to improving our relationships is learning how
to set boundaries. That can be hard, because setting boundaries
often means saying no to others.
But boundaries happen whether we choose then or not. If we are
afraid of disappointing others, and we say yes to everything, we
end up pulled in so many directions, that we end up frazzled, angry,
and not really helpful to anyone. Then we end up setting boundaries
reactively, because we are worn down and just cant do anything.
Its better to set boundaries proactively: choosing the things you
want to focus on, and finding polite ways to say no to the things you
cant take on. The brief discomfort of saying no can happen quickly
and we can move on.
It is helpful to rehearse a simple but polite way to say no. You can
try something simple like my plate is full or I cant take that on.
Perception and Happiness
Much of any relationship is about perception. Researchers who
study marriage have identified that when a marriage is good, the
partners tend to view each others behaviors with good intention.
When a marriage is not doing well, the partners tend to view each
others behaviors with poor intentions.


One survey found that, for

19 percent of people, starting
to exercise improved their
relationships. Other research
has shown that a regular yoga
practice makes you kinder
and more patient. This makes
sense because by starting to
exercise, no matter format, you
are using an effective strategy
to manage your stress, which
then affects how you perceive
others, which can therefore
improve your relationships.


How we are personally feeling and doing in the rest of our lives can
affect how we perceive the world around us. When we are tired,
worn down, and stressed, we tend to perceive others with more
negativity, which makes us feel worse about the relationships we
have, which creates greater stress and more energy depletion. Its a
downward spiral.

By starting to exercise, you are

using an effective strategy to
manage your stress, which can
improve your relationships.

Another strategy is to stop

trying to understand intention.
If, for instance, you find
yourself assuming negative intentions in your spouses behavior, it
can seem daunting and impossible to figure out how to find positive
intent in what he or she is doing. Let go of the idea of intention
entirely. Accept that you do not know what has caused your partner
to act in the way that has hurt you.
Focus only on the present moment and what you can do, right now,
to address the situation. Perhaps there is an action you need to take
or a conversation you need to have, but take action or talk in a way
that focuses only on what actually isnot what you believe or
assume or perceive.


An example: There are dishes in the sink. They need to be

washed. You dont know why your partner left them in the sink,
or what his or her intent was in leaving dirty dishes. Perhaps
your partner meant for you to clean them. Perhaps your partner
planned to clean them later and got sidetracked. Perhaps your
partner wasnt thinking at all. Let all of it go. Just focus on the
moment. Describe the situation, and address it appropriately:
There are dirty dishes in the sink. Clean them if you want.
Dont clean them if you dont want to.
The benefit of this approach is that much of our hurt in life, much of
the energy we spend on other people, occurs within our own heads.
Think back to a recent time when someone hurt your feelings
either through something said or left unsaid, or something done
or left undone. Now, reflect how much of that interaction actually
occurred between you and the other individual, and how much of it
occurred within the space in your own mind.

Lecture 5Energy Give-and-Take in Relationships

Most importantly, seek moments of joy and happiness. When it

comes to families, research shows that raising kids brings deep joy
and meaning to life, particularly for older, married parents who are
choosing parenthood. Research shows that commuters who travel
together in car pools and public transit are happier than those who
drive alone. And when we find time to play with our spouses, we
like them more and are happier in our marriages than when we just
share responsibilities in surviving the daily grind.
Good relationships, particularly those where we choose to
spend time enjoying those we love, enhance our lives and boost
our energy.


Suggested Reading
Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection.
Carter, The Sweet Spot.
Christakis & Fowler, Connected.
Covey, The SPEED of Trust.
Lyubomirsky, The How of Happiness.
Pinker, The Village Effect.

Questions to Consider
1. Consider your social relationships to identify two or three primary

ways that:
a. Your social relationships drain your energy. How can you address
the relevant issues in order to eliminate them, if possible, or at least
mitigate their effects?

b. Your social relationships boost your energy and facilitate

your well-being. Are there things you can learn from the
energy-boosting aspects of your life, that you could apply to
others areas?

2. Are you setting appropriate boundaries in order to have space for

appropriate self-care? Consider the times when you have been afraid
of discomfort and have ended up feeling resentful. How can you react
differently in the future? Consider scripting a standard response that
you can use when you need to say no, so that you are more able to
maintain boundaries.


Awareness of Energy with Mindfulness

Lecture 6

Lecture 6Awareness of Energy with Mindfulness

t its most basic, mindfulness is the concept of fully living in the

present moment. But that can be difficult because of stress from
work, relationships, and schedule constraints. We may lose sleep
because were thinking about something unchangeable, or perform tasks
worse than we could because our thoughts are elsewhere. This lecture
discusses the importance of mindful awareness of your energy and describes
some activities and strategies you can try to live more in the moment and
less distracted by lifes noise.
Mindfulness Matters
The reason why mindfulness matters regarding energy is because so
much of the energy we spend is not about right here, right now. We
spend so much energy in our own heads, dealing with the wounds
we have suffered from others, the wounds we have inflicted on
others, and in our fear and anxiety about tomorrow. All of that time,
all of that energy, is just lost.
The only true and appropriate use of our energy is on what we are
doing right in the moment. So if you are writing a presentation for
work, just write. If you are helping your kids with their homework,
just help. If you are running or swimming or dancing for exercise,
then just run or swim or dance.
The reality is that meditation and mindfulness activities start with
something as simple as breath and awareness. There is no magic
there is just doing it, and then doing it again, and doing it again
and again and again. Simple, of course, can be frustratingly hard,
because there is no secret that will make it easyit just requires to
keep showing up and doing the work.


The Notice Five Things awareness activity is a simple one that

you can use whenever you find yourself feeling pulled in too many
directions, because it gives you something solid and tangible to grab
onto. At your next meal, rather than diving into your food, try taking
a single bite firstand try to truly experience the flavor and identify
the nuances. Try taking a single sip of wine or a single bite of
chocolate, and then spending a few moments with the taste lingering
on your tongue while you try to identify several different tastes.
Self-Judgment and Self-Support
Consider how you would react if a close friend made a mistake.
Would you tell the friend, Man that is stupid, whats wrong with
you? Or would you remind your friend that mistakes happen,
help them fix the issue, and encourage them to feel better about
In contrast, what do you say to yourself when you make a mistake?
For many of us, our self-talk is far less supportive and encouraging
than the way we talk with othersand thats a problem. The way
we talk to ourselves mattersit influences our self-esteem, it
influences our energy to engage with the world and try new things,
and it influences our performance.
In research published in the Journal of Consumer Research, people
who were encouraged to accept themselves and be forgiving of their
own mistakes were less likely to engage in unhealthy behaviors.
When you beat yourself up and feel bad about your performance,
you may find yourself looking to find comfort in food, alcohol,
and indulge in unhealthy behaviors that numb the pain. When you
can accept yourself, you can actually learn from the mistake, pick
yourself up, and move forward more effectively.
Some psychologists say that we have accepted a trance of
unworthiness It is engrained in Western culture, perhaps, because
of the competitive, individualist culture which pressures us to


always work harder. So we are always pushing, always striving,

always seeking something else, and often always berating ourselves
for what we havent done or could have done better.

Lecture 6Awareness of Energy with Mindfulness

Clinical psychologists who integrate Eastern mindfulness practices

emphasize the power of mindfulness in breaking this cycle of
unworthiness. Research studies have detected changes to the
brain that suggest improved executive functioning, concentration,
emotional regulation, and more activity in the parts of the brain
associated with positive emotional statesall as a result of ongoing
meditation practice. Research published in Health Psychology
reported that mindfulness practice lowered levels of the stress
hormone cortisol.
Research demonstrates the power of mindfulness on our executive
functioning, and the judicial system is listening. In fact, the
National Center for State Courts has even suggested that teaching
mindfulness techniques to judges will allow them to improve their
attention and even reset their attention when they feel distracted
or overwhelmed.
If you decide to begin a mindfulness practice, it can be helpful to
have a simple strategy that you can use to apply mindfulness in the
midst of stress. Mindfulness experts Bob Stahl and Elisha Goldstein
offer a practice that you can use in any situation. Consider this a
simple strategy to take mindfulness out of the meditation room and
into life. They use the acronym STOP.
Stop what you are doing.
Take a few deep breaths and focus on the experience of breathing.
Observe your thoughts, feelings, and actions.
Proceed with new awareness.


The first time you try this, it may not change your focus. But with
regular mindfulness practice, you can do a simple STOP scan in just
a minute or two, when you are in the midst of stress.
If you feel your energy drained in 10 different directions, then try
STOP. Use the moment of observation to identify what is most
important right here, right now. That is where you should focus your
energy, and that is where you can proceed with your new awareness
to accomplish something in a purposeful way.
Stress Loops
Some mindfulness-based teachers talk about stress loops. Think
about it like this: Something happens and you have a thought
about that and that thought creates emotions, like anxiety or
anger or fear and those emotions lead to more thoughts which
lead to more emotions. Its very likely that none of those thoughts
or emotions are truly reflective of what is right here, right now, but
there you are, spinning away in a continuous stress loop.
Mindfulness-based stress-reduction teachers suggest stopping and
dropping. You use awareness of the body, right here, right now, to
stop the stress loop, and you do it by dropping your awareness to
the physical sensation of your body right here, right now.
Mindfulness is like any skill. If you are going to use it when you are
stressed, you have to practice it when you are not stressed. Its like
CPR: The more you practice, the more likely you are to have the
skills when you need them in an emergency.
Heart Rhythm Meditation
Heart rhythm meditation is a nice way to increase a sense of
internal awareness. That internal awareness can have profound
effects. In fact, in a study at Royal Holloway, University of London,
researchers asked female subjects to silently count their own
heartbeats without feeling their pulse. Some participants judged
more accurately; they were determined to have interoceptive
awareness, or a sense of their own physiology.

Lecture 6Awareness of Energy with Mindfulness

Having a sense of connection to

your heart seems to be powerful
for how you feel and how you
interact with the world. It can
be powerful for our sense of
our own energy, too. If you
can learn how you truly feel
insideand to therefore trust
how you feelthen you will
know that when you feel tired,
you need to rest. When you
are feeling good and energetic,
you will trust that too, and
that will be a sign that you are
taking good care of yourself
and making good choices
and feeling positive about the
situations that you are in.

Alex Bramwell/iStock/Thinkstock.

These participants were more likely to judge their bodies based

on competence than appearance and less likely to judge their selfworth based on physical characteristics. Whats the significance
of that? Research has shown that women who self-objectify and
see their body as an appearance-based object are more prone to
depression, eating disorders, and sexual dysfunction. Depression,
eating disorders, sexual dysfunctionthats a lot of lost energy. In
contrast, when we can focus on who we are because of what we can
do and the value we bring to the world, then our energy is focused
in directions that help us to feel
stronger, more energetic, and
more competent.

Women who self-objectify and

see their body as an appearancebased object are more prone to
depression, eating disorders, and
sexual dysfunction.

Feeling connected to your internal self is fundamental to being

better with awareness of your true energy level, strategies for
boosting your energy, and listening to your body when you need to
restore your energy.


Walking Meditation
Walking meditation is another way to increase mindfulness, and its
steps are simple.
Carve out 30 minutes, and go for a mindful walk. If the weather
allows it, outside. If you have a space that will support it, like
a sandy beach, or a clean grassy area, then the ideal situation is
to walk barefoot. Set an alarm for 30 minutes so that you dont
lose focus by checking your watch or phone
While you are walking, focus on being right there, in the walk.
Not planning your day tomorrow, not rehashing an argument
you had at work, not thinking about your grocery list or your
kids or your spouse or anythingjust being there in the walk.
Feel the earth beneath you. Feel the air on your skin. Smell the
air. Hear the noises around youcars and people and hustle
and bustle if you are in the city, birds and animals and the wind
rustling leaves if you are in a greener space.
Notice colors. Notice the sky and clouds. Pay attention to the
details that physically surround you and the sensations within
your own body. Fully be in the walk, in that moment. When
youre done, stop and reflect if youve ever truly walked before.

Suggested Reading
Anh-Huong and Hanh, Walking Meditation.
Brach, True Refuge.
Harris, The Happiness Trap.
Kabat Zinn, Coming to Our Senses.
Nghiem, Mindfulness as Medicine.
Stahl and Goldstein, A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook.



Lecture 6Awareness of Energy with Mindfulness

Select one or two of the mindfulness exercises and perform them at least
three or four days a week to develop a solid habit of present-moment
awareness and present moment centering.


Conserving Energy with Deliberate Choice

Lecture 7

hoices can paralyze us: Should I go on vacation? Which neighborhood

should I buy a home in? What should I get at the grocery store?
Dwelling too much on lifes choices can drain a person of both
time and energy. This lecture looks at some research that shows just how
overloading choices can be, then gives some strategies to make healthy, less
stressful choices about everything from what food to buy to where you plan
to live.
Maximizers versus Satisfiers
In the 1950s, the psychologist Herbert Simon proposed that
maximizers (who strive for the best choice possible) are less
satisfied with the choice they finally make than satisfiers, who set
criteria and standards and are not concerned with getting the best
possible choice, as long as those criteria and standards are met.
Research supports this. In one study, shoppers had the opportunity
to choose among various flavors of treats. When there were only
six options, the shoppers were far happier with their decisions than
when there were 24 or 30 options to choose from. The researcher
proposed that too much choice reduced motivation to make a
decision, and that having an abundance of choices both attracted
and repelled choice makers.
But the paradox of choice is that too much choice is equally terrible
and becomes paralyzing. Think of how much time and energy you
spend on simple basic decisions like type of toothpaste or type
of milk or type of yogurt. Consider that with our abundance of
choices, you have to do that every day, all day long, on a million
choices, ranging from the small and insignificant to the major and
life changing.


Ron Chapple Stock/Ron Chapple Studios/Thinkstock.

Too many choices can reduce motivation to make a decision.

Lecture 7Conserving Energy with Deliberate Choice

You can actually place constraints on your freedom of choice. These

can be simple. Pick the one type of milk and toothpaste and yogurt
you will always buy, then you dont waste energy making the same
decision over and over again. If you shop online, pick a few online
stores you use. If you fly, pick one or two airlines that have good
prices and serve your local airport. The benefit there is that you
will spend less time looking at options, and youll consolidate your
airline miles.
Whenever you have a decision to make, be OK with good enough.
Set the criteria you need, and seek out the option that meets your
criteria, but dont drive yourself crazy always trying to get and have
the best option ever.
Once you make a decision, stick to it. You can make a different
decision next time. For now, you bought the pistachio nut ice cream,
or the blue suit, or took the job in one city, or picked the house in
that neighborhood. Leaving the space to continue to reverse your
decision means that you are always using more energy to make the
same decisions repeatedly.

Online Choices
Perhaps one of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves is permission
to do what is best for us and worry less about what others are doing.
But this can be challenging because we are perpetually connected
to what others are doing. Thirty-nine percent of adults spend more
than 11 hours per day outside of work using electronic media.
One-third of millennial generation mothers say that they text their
partner more regularly than they speak in person.
According to MIT professor Sherry Turkle, our constant online
presence allows us to stay connected to everyone and to always have
the possibility of engagement, but it prevents us from having the
time and space to truly, meaningfully connect with others. So our
environment promotes a frantic, rushed, do-more-with-more-people
environment, and we struggle to find the time for the deeper, more
engaged, more meaningful interactions that nurture our energy.
Its helpful to have asynchronous interaction as a way to pass on
messages, share calendars and photos, and arrange details, but
meaningful conversations and connections happen when we make
time for the people we care about, rather than just fitting them in
between other things.
Some strategies for effective technology use: Use Facebook to
check in with a friend and set a date to get together. Text your
spouse a quick note about the errands of the day so that you can
actually talk over dinner rather than just exchanging to-do lists.
E-mail grandma and grandpa photos of the little ones, and then find
time to visit and share hugs. Technology can facilitate the details of
our relationships, but it shouldnt replace them.
Energy and Finances
Another aspect of our environment that affects our energy and
well-being is the financial environment. Both the broader financial
environment and our personal financial status can affect our
energy and the capacity we have for engagement with the world
around us.

On a national level, there is a direct connection between money and

health. Researchers from San Diego State University found broad
societal trends in stress-related health conditions based on the 2008
recession. Between December 2008 and December 2011, Google
searches for stress-related health queries increased dramatically.
For instance, searches for symptoms of headaches were up 193
percent, and searches for stomach ulcer symptoms were up 228
percent. Society, as a whole, experiences more stress-related health
conditions when money is tight.

Lecture 7Conserving Energy with Deliberate Choice

Debt has a strong impact on quality of life. When people are in debt,
their mental focus continually goes back to the debt and how they
will financially make it all work. The same person, in a situation of
debt, has less mental capacity and capability. In one study people
short on cash scored lower on a standardized test of cognitive
functioning and took longer to solve the problems. They worked
harder and did worse.
If you are struggling with your energy and feel pulled in a hundred
directions, the best thing you can do for yourself is to get out of debt.
Getting out of debt will free up a great deal of your psychological
energy so that you can more effectively function in every other
aspect of your life.
It feels hard to save, though, even if it does improve our quality
of life. Saving money is often hard because we have a scarcity of
attention: We have urgent priorities to deal with right now, and we
dont have the energy or bandwidth to also deal with less pressing
things that feel farther off.
You can set up a healthy chunk of saving via automatic
contributions. Then you dont have to think about it, and it doesnt
require any further psychological energy.
When we have money and feel abundance, we often go overboard,
which can make things worse later. Research has shown that when
people get a windfallsay, $10,000 from an inheritance or an

income tax refundthey end up spending much more because they

feel like they have a lot of money. Paying appropriate attention to
money really takes a lot of energy and deliberate focus. Its better
to be proactive and spend energy on effectively and intelligently
managing your money than to spend energy worrying about debt.
More money does not buy more happiness. In fact, the more
money we have, the less time we think we have. A Gallup report
summarized that being cash-rich is correlated with feeling timepoor. White-collar, college-educated knowledge workers have
substantially less leisure time than blue-collar, hourly workers
without high school degrees: 8 hours less per week for men, and
11 hours less per week for women. We can work harder and make
more money, but we wont have time to enjoy the fruits of our labor.
Finding a middle ground of enough money for comfort and enough
time for life enjoyment is the best way to build an energetic life.
Energy and Your Environment
Our environment can be a powerful force. Consider research in
parts of the world like Okinawa, Japan and Sardinia, Italy where
people live into old age with low rates of disease. People in these
areas shared common characteristics: lots of walking, robust social
lives, and low rates of smoking and meat eating.
Journalist Dan Buettner, who did the research, is trying to bring
some of that community-inspired health to the United States. He
launched a pilot program in Albert Lea, Minnesota in 2009, and
after a year, participants in the city had added 2.9 years to their
life spans according to a life span calculator from the University
of Minnesota. Health-care costs for city workers dropped by
49 percent.
If your environment seems to conspire against you, then you have
to use self-control and energy all day long in order to make good
decisions in the face of bad influences. If you live in a place that
more readily supports good health, then it doesnt take as much
energy to make the same good decisions.

Michael Blann/Digital Vision/Thinkstock.

You may not have the capacity to move to somewhere with a

better health support structure in place, but just being aware of
how your environment impacts your decisions about health can be
helpful in managing your energy. Whenever you are in a place to
choose where you live,
you should consider
the neighborhood and
environment as much
as you consider the
home itself. Will the
environment be a place
that supports you in
building a healthy home?

Lecture 7Conserving Energy with Deliberate Choice

Once youre in your

home, consider how you If you live in a place that more readily
structure your immediate supports good health, then it doesnt
environment and whether take as much energy to make the same
your home is supporting good decisions.
or draining your energy.
For instance, consider whether your house is cluttered or clean. A
study at the Indiana University department of Physical Education
found a correlation between clean houses and healthy people.
People with the cleanest homes were the healthiest and most active.
De-cluttering can have an impact on your productivity and
effectiveness. Research at Carnegie Mellon found that heavily
decorated classrooms may disrupt attention and learning in young
children. When children were in a heavily decorated classroom, as
compared to a sparser classroom, they spent more time off-task,
were more distracted, and demonstrated smaller learning gains.
Consider, also, whether you have any green space you can enjoy. It
may seem small and simple, but green space matters. People who
move to areas with more natural spaces including parks and gardens
experience an immediate improvement in mental health.


The environment can have surprising effects on your behavior, for

instance, something that researchers call the temperature premium,
which means we value products more on warm days. We are more
likely to pay more for something if the day is warm and sunny than
if its cold and gray. A study in the Journal of Consumer Psychology
suggests that exposure to physical warmth activates the concept of
emotional warmth, which makes us feel more likely to splurge.
This is why thinking about your environment is so important: There
are very primal, unconscious connections going on.
We find comfort in familiarity. When we are stressed, we seek
comfort in our environment, precisely so that our environment will
not require us to use energy to process it or understand it. Consider
how you can make your environment feel safe and familiar so that
it doesnt require time and energy to understand. Perhaps one of the
simplest ways to conserve and protect our energy is to stop worrying
so much about time and do our best to create an environment that
makes the most of what time we have.

Suggested Reading
Buettner, The Blue Zones, 2nd Edition.
Dunn and Norton, Happy Money.
Iyengar, The Art of Choosing.
Mullainathan and Shafir, Scarcity.
Schwartz, The Paradox of Choice.
Turkle, Alone Together.

Questions to Consider
1. Consider your environment to identify two or three primary ways that:

a. Your environment can drain your energy. How can you address
those environmental issues in order to eliminate them, if possible,
or at least mitigate their effects?

b. Your environment can boost your energy. How does your

environment facilitate your well-being? Are there things you can
learn from the energy-boosting aspects of your life, that you could
apply to others areas?

2. Identify two or three choices that you have to make every single day that

Lecture 7Conserving Energy with Deliberate Choice

draw on your energy, for instance, clothing, food, and driving. Are there
decisions that you can make to eliminate the number of non-essential
choices you must make? For instance, can you organize your wardrobe
into a specific number of outfits, which you then rotate through, to
reduce the decisions you must make around clothing? Can you plan a
weeks worth of menus on Sunday, to make decisions about food easier
during the week when you are hectic? Identify the non-essential choices
that take the most time and energy as your priorities for setting new


Nurturing Your Energy with Diet

Lecture 8

ood is literally the source of our energy: The calories we eat fuel our
bodies. But many people have trouble eating healthily and without
regret, leading to cycles of energy-draining stress. Worries over how
much we eat and what we eat can be tiresome and counterproductive. This
lecture discusses the key nutritional strategies you should follow so that you
can boost your energy without resorting to potentially dangerous quick fixes.
Then it looks at ways to complement a healthy diet with guilt-reduction
strategies, exercise, and mindful eating.
What and When to Eat
The same nutritional principles that will promote your overall
health and well-being will also boost your energy. You should fill
your diet with fruits and vegetables, whole-grains, and lean sources
of protein.
When were tired, we tend to head for the donuts and the soda. The
sugary stuff gives us a boost to keep going. Unfortunately, soon
after, you will get an energy crash. Even if you keep eating refined
carbohydrates in general and sugar in particular to get boost after
boost, there is a growing body of research that shows the downside
of too much sugar.
Too much sugar breaks down collagen in the skin and can lead
to inflammation in the body. In your skin, that inflammation
accelerates the appearance of aging. In the rest of your body,
inflammation exacerbates pain and other chronic conditions.
Refined sugar interferes with the healthy bacteria in your
gut and can breed unhealthy bacteria that negatively affect
your hormones. High blood sugar can damage vessels in the
brain and constrict the flow of needed nutrients to your brain.
Furthermore, consuming too much sugar makes it harder for
you to learn and remember information.

Most people eat the bulk of their protein at dinner, but a study in the
Journal of Nutrition found that people who ate about 30 grams of
protein at each meal had a 25 percent higher rate of muscle protein
synthesis than people who ate 90 grams at dinner. Because muscle
protein synthesis is related to how your muscles recover and grow,
its important and may affect how you feel overall. Focus on lean
protein, early in the day, to provide sustained energy.
Healthy fats are also important. For instance, eating a small snack
of nuts or other healthy fats decreases appetite and reduces hunger
throughout the day. You will feel like you have more energy from
the same calories when you include high-quality fats in your diet.
Surprisingly, because healthy fats affect neural transmission in our
body, they affect how we process chronic pain. On a really lowfat diet, you may actually find your pain is worse, and so you will
spend more time and psychological energy coping with pain.

Stacking your calories earlier

in the day has a positive
impact on both your weight
and your energy levels.


Lecture 8Nurturing Your Energy with Diet

Caffeine is good. In fact,

some research shows that
coffee can prevent or reduce
dementia in older adults. Keep
coffee early in the day, and
limited to a few cups, so that
it doesnt affect your sleep
at night. You should drink
your coffee between 9:30
and 11:30 am; this is when
cortisol levels in the body
naturally dip, causing energy
to crash. Having coffee before
noon will give you the most
powerful energy boost.

Some research shows that coffee

can prevent or reduce dementia in
older adults.

Research published in the journal Obesity found that women who

ate a large breakfast followed by a modest lunch and a small dinner
lost more weight and more inches than those who did the opposite.
It is good for our health to truly experience a fast each day. Our
bodys natural circadian rhythms mean that our digestive organs
function more efficiently during daylight hours, and we most
effectively burn fat while we sleep. Initial research indicates that
our body is most efficient in this process when we fast for 12 hours
a day.
The old idea about shutting your kitchen down at 7:00 or 8:00 pm
really is a good one, and if you try it, you may find that you sleep
better, lose a little weight, and feel more energized during the day.
You will certainly find yourself thinking a little less about weight.
Research has found that night owls eat, on average, about 250
calories more per day than people who go to bed earlier, with most of
those calories being consumed after 8 pm. Make it easy on yourself:
Before 8:00 pm, put the food away, and wipe down your counters.
Set a plan to make healthful, energetic eating easy on yourself,
based on your particular needs. We need to respect our personal
strength levels. If cookies are your weakness, dont use up your
willpower fighting yourself not to eat them. Just dont keep them
around and avoid the temptation.
Yoga and Weight
Research funded by the National Institutes of Health looked at
how restorative yoga affected weight loss in obese women. The
researchers found that when overweight women practiced this very
gentle form of yoga for six months, they lost 2.5 times more belly
fat than a control group who just did gentle stretching.
Historically, exercise scientists have thought that you had to do
aerobic exercise to burn calories and lose weight. This study on
restorative yoga is groundbreaking, because it shows that weight is
about more than just calories burned.

Steve Hix/Fuse/Thinkstock.

One study showed that overweight people who did yoga at least once a week
for 4 or more years lost an average of 5 pounds, and those who didnt gained an
average of 13.5 pounds.

Lecture 8Nurturing Your Energy with Diet

The researchers proposed that the gentle practice of restorative

yoga affected the participants stress levels, in particular the stress
hormone cortisol, which has a direct relationship with subcutaneous
fat in the abdomen. By learning how to truly, deeply relax, the
participants lowered their stress and lost weight.
The results continue to show up in other research. In a study of
15,000 adults at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in
Seattle, overweight people who did yoga at least once a week for
4 or more years lost an average of 5 pounds, and those who didnt
gained an average of 13.5 pounds.
Yoga can improve even the most challenging food-based behaviors.
Research in the journal Qualitative Health Research reported that
12 weeks of yoga reduced binge eating. And whether its because of
the way it helps us better deal with stress, because of how it helps us
get a more balanced view of food, or a more comprehensive effect,
research has found that a regular yoga practice boosts energy.


There are two key emotional aspects to eating that yoga can help.
First, you learn to deal with your emotions through your breath and
through awareness of the present moment. This can keep you from
stuffing your feelings into a bowl of ice cream or a bag of chips.
Second, you learn self-forgiveness, so that if you do eat something
that isnt perfect or healthy or what you meant, you can breathe,
forgive, and move on.
Guilt and Food
We attach emotional weight to food, and that impacts how we feel,
the stress hormones in our bodies, and the choices we make.
In a study from the University of Canterbury, 27 percent of
participants associated chocolate cake with guilt. The people who
felt bad about eating sweets were less likely to maintain their
weight over a year and half than were the people who associated
desert with celebrationin other words, with joy, not guilt.
Research published in the journal Health Psychology indicates
that when you think a food is healthy, your body requires fewer
calories to process it. In the study, when people drank a milkshake
that they were told was high calorie, their metabolisms sped up.
When subjects drank the milkshake and were told it was low in
calories, their metabolism did not speed up. The levels of ghrelin,
a hormone that signals your brain to eat, reacted differently in the
two conditions and affected the metabolic rate. When they thought
the milk shake was a high-calorie treat, they used more calories to
process it.
Another study from Finland found that most people naturally
fluctuate in weight throughout the week. People ate less Monday
through Friday, had the lowest weight on Friday early in the day,
and then ate more and gained weight over the weekend, with their
highest weight on Sunday or Monday.


If you splurge purposefully and with enjoyment at a weekend party,

your day-to-day weekday routine is part of keeping your waistline
consistent. Make purposeful decisions. Be mindful. And then let of
the guilt, the stress, and the obsessive calorie counting.
Mindful Eating
An old saying in the meditation world goes: When youre washing
dishes, wash dishes. The point is that whatever you are doing, it
can be a moment of mindfulness and meditation. This means not
doing the dishes while replaying an argument with your spouse or
thinking about your to-do list for tomorrow. Youre washing the
dishes, enjoying the fluff of the bubbles and the accomplishment
of a clean kitchen and being grateful that you have your own home
and kitchen and dishes to do.
You can apply that same principle of mindfulness to your food.
Dont multi-task. Dont try to shove in a few bitefuls here and there
while trying to get the kids to school in the morning. Dont bring
your lunch into a business meeting and try to pay attention, come
up with creative ideas, and eat.
Lecture 8Nurturing Your Energy with Diet

If you really are mindful and truly enjoy the food, you can have a
treat and you may actually eat less of it and find it more rewarding.
If you want an ice cream sundae, eat an ice cream sundae, but make
sure you actually taste it. That only happens when you are mindful
about your eating.
Some dieticians recommend that you start eating only until you feel
three-quarters full because that will help you reach a healthy full
and stop before youre stuffed. You also have to remember that it
takes 20 minutes for your brain to recognize what you have eaten. If
you inhale your lunch in seven minutes at your desk, you will likely
overeat because you have not given your brain time to catch up
with your body. Plan 20 minutes for each meal, and force yourself
to eat slowly and mindfully.


Suggested Reading
Albers, Eating Mindfully.
Breus and Bruce, The Sleep Doctors Diet Plan.
Lasater, Relax and Renew.
May, Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat.
Wansink, Slim by Design.

Questions to Consider
1. What is your emotional relationship with food? Are you able to make
food-related decisions based on your hunger and your physical needs,
or do you have a tendency to eat your emotions, burying pain and
sorrow in comfort foods, and then feeling guilty for eating things you
perceive as unhealthy? Reflect on your emotional relationship with
food, and consider changes you might make to develop a more nurturing
relationship with food.

2. Consider practicing restorative yoga two or three times per week to

support a sense of self-nurturing.


Boost Your Energy with Happiness and Play

Lecture 9

Lecture 9Boost Your Energy with Happiness and Play

ust as meaningful work can have a positive effect on our physical

and mental energy levels, there is a definite connection between the
happiness we feel, the opportunities we have for play, and our sense of
energy for life. While it may seem difficult for busy adults to find time for
play, opportunities are actually all around. This lecture looks at how some
supposed time wasters can actually be good for you, the benefits of hobbies,
how exercise adds playand therefore energyto our lives.
Adding Play
We can define fun or play as anything that brings us joy. Think
about the activities that feel funthat give you a childlike spark
of energy. Anything that you want to do, that you choose to do for
the fun of the experience, can be play. Play is different for all of us,
because it needs to reflect our needs, our interests, and our wants.
How do we add play into our lives? The best way is to notice the
opportunities for fun that are already around you. Dont make
play another thing on your to-do list. Trying to find some new fun
thing to do can feel like just another pressure, and just another
way you have to keep up with the Jones. You can have fun in the
little things if you enjoy them more: play music you love while
you cook, take a break and actually relax on a weekend afternoon,
give yourself permission sometimes to just do nothing. You dont
always have to accomplish.
Hobbies can be particularly and uniquely supportive of health, and
a great opportunity for play. Research with 3,500 Japanese older
adults found that those who had hobbies were significantly less
frail. A study in the UK found that quilters benefited because they
felt well-being from a sense of flow while doing their craft, and that
they got a mood boost from the colors they were working with.


The nice part about hobbies, particularly taking on a new one, is

that it has health benefits. Things that require multiple thought
processes over a prolonged period are great for boosting memory.
Try activities that require you to try something new or learn a novel
skill, like learning a language or musical instrument, or traveling to
a new area or foreign country.
That engagement with new ideas can lead to broad benefits.
Research from the University of California, Davis has found that
when you are charged up with curiosity, it increases activity in
the brain circuits that use dopamine. That improves how the cells
connect in a way to facilitate learning. That affects your capacity to
retain information later, even if the information isnt related to the
initial interest.
Creativity and Play
Creativity is another type of play, and a way in which we can engage
with the problems around us through a perspective of fun, instead of
frustration. When we are engaged with creativity at work, our work
can become intellectual playa way of solving new problems and
allowing the thrill of discovery.
Unfortunately, as we move from childhood to adulthood, we seem
to get worse when it comes to creativity. In one study, when 106
four- and five-year-olds and 109 college undergraduates were given
unusual toys and gadgets, preschoolers solved the game and made
the gadgets work more quickly than the undergraduates.
Getting more education sometime means we become more adept
at rules and less flexible, and that can keep us from finding the
solutions to new problems. We also learn, as we progress up the
educational and progressive ladder, that we are evaluated and
judged for our performance and outcomes, which can make us feel
less safe with being wrong.


Creativity has a biological side: When you have high levels of both
serotonin and dopamine, you become both calm and energized,
which sets the foundation for creativity. To achieve this blissful
creative state, we need to do things that specifically foster a lowstress, high-engagement environment. Reducing stress is key, since
stress hormones like cortisol interfere with the effects of serotonin.
Stress makes humans and other primates more likely to stick to
what they know and close down to new ideas or adventures.

Lecture 9Boost Your Energy with Happiness and Play

Sleep is also important in achieving this creative, low-stress, highengagement environment, because its during deep sleep that the
brain restores our levels of serotonin. Keep in mind that serotonin is
highest in the morning, so we can do our best creative work in the
mornings. Protein is key in the production of the neurotransmitters,
so early morning work fueled by a high-protein breakfast can be a
great combination to spark a creative environment.
Video Games, TV, and Movies
We have a tendency to think video games arent worthwhile.
But research shows that, in moderation, playing video games
can actually boost cognitive skills such as spatial navigation,
reasoning, memory, and perception. Some video games improve
a players ability to think about objects in three dimensions.
Strategic video games, such as role-playing games, can improve
problem-solving skills.
We tend to think of video games as isolating, but more than 70
percent of gamers play with at least one friend. A little bit of video
games appears to be the best amount: Those who play less than an
hour per day have the highest levels of sociability, the least social
and emotional problems, and the greatest levels of life satisfaction,
compared with those who dont play at all and those who play
more frequently.
Like video games, we sometimes write off TV as a waste of time.
But TV can be another positive form of play. A good laugh can
lower stress hormones, boost immunities, and affect brain waves


Watching television can be another positive form of play; a good laugh can
lower stress hormones, boost immunities, and affect brain waves in the same
way as meditation.

in the same way as meditation. Just anticipating watching a funny

video can cause positive hormonal effects.
Even sad movies can be good for happiness. When we watch
tearjerkers, if we get emotionally involved in the movie, we often end
up thinking about those we love and the blessings in our own lives.
Interestingly, when people watching a tragedy think about
themselves, they dont experience increased happiness, but
when the tragedy makes them think about their loved ones, they
experience increased happiness. Relationships are the primary
source of happiness in our lives, so it is logical that thinking about
the context of our own relationships, in comparison to the starcrossed relationships on screen, can make us count our blessings.
Exercise is one of the key ways to increase your energy. Women
who meet the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions
physical activity guidelines have more energy than those who
dont. The minimum guidelines from the CDC are truly minimal:

75 minutes of vigorous activity a week or 150 minutes of moderate

activity a week. Thats a brisk half-hour walk five days a week, or a
25-minute run three days a week.

Lecture 9Boost Your Energy with Happiness and Play

That little bit of energy used to do some minimal exercise boosts

the energy you feel in your life. So go for a daily walk, and you
might find you dont need coffee to keep you awake in afternoon
meetings. That is especially good since research shows that coffee
in the afternoon and later interferes with your sleep.
Exercise is a key starting point in an energy cycle: You work out,
you feel good afterward, so you eat healthier that day. From the
combination of exercise and good food, you have more energy and a
better mood. You also burn more oxygen and calories from the post
workout after-burn. That night, feeling truly tired from working out,
you sleep more deeply. You wake up feeling more rested, which
means you perform better at work and find that everything is a little
easier and runs a little smoother. So, since you are feeling good and
strong, you feel motivated to go work out.
But when you are tired and sluggish and dont have energy to
exercise, how are you supposed to find the motivation to go
exercise? Mental imagery may help. In one small, exploratory
study, mental imagery for physical activity increased self-efficacy
for physical activity. When you feel like exercise is too much and
too hard, it may be helpful to start with mental imagery of yourself
successfully exercising.
When its hard, just hang in there. People become able to tolerate
more discomfort from working out after six weeks of regular
workouts. What seems unbearable at first becomes normal.
Ways to Exercise
There is no one right way that you must exercise. You can support
your health and fitness just through being active in your regular
daily life. Its being active that boosts your energy.


Self-control and self-regulation require energy, so if you pick

an exercise that you dont like, and try to force yourself to do it
because you should, then youre going to drain your energy with
exercise instead of replenishing or boosting it.
Exercise does not have to be a hard, sweaty, awful, unpleasant
experience. It should be play. You can play at the gym, or you can
play at the park. You can play in a pool, or at a roller skating rink.
You can try horseback riding or dancing or run marathons. It doesnt
really matter what you dojust that you are doing something. The
best way to do something is for that something to be fun.
Something relaxed can also be a form of play, if it is truly restful and
feels good to you. A long, meandering walk in a green space can be
a fantastic way to work through whatever is bothering you. A yoga
session right before bed can help your muscles relax and your brain
unwind so that you fall deeply asleep. Gentle exercise still counts.
Agility trainingexercises that require you to shift your direction
quicklycan be a great way to improve your speed and reflexes.
Thats why professional athletes usually include agility-training
exercises in their workouts. Research has found that they also
improve your memory and cognition. Mentally keeping up with the
moves strengthens the neural connections in your brain. If you like
track workouts, you can try things like shuttle runs and ladder drills
as a way to improve both your physical speed and your mental speed.
If youre not fond of workouts on the track, try partner dancing,
which also requires you to shift directions and adjust quickly.
Other good options for working on agility include dance-based
exercise classes, like Latin-music classes and step. All of these
workouts require you to pay attention and concentrate on your
balance and coordination.
Find the activities that make you smile, make you laugh, and bring
you joy. Play and happiness are the true source of your deepest well
of energy.

Suggested Reading
Biali, Live a Life You Love.
Brown and Vaughan, Play.
Carmona, Canyon Ranch 30 Days to a Better Brain.
Fredrickson, Positivity.
Grierson, What Makes Olga Run?
Metzl and Heffernan, The Exercise Cure.

Questions to Consider

Lecture 9Boost Your Energy with Happiness and Play

1. What barriers are between you and play? Consider both physical barriers

(like time and environmental constraints) and psychological or social

constraints (like fear of embarrassment or a pressure to be consistently
productive and always achieve more). Consider strategies you can use
to insert small amounts of fun into your day, and how you can gradually
increase your opportunities for play.

2. How can you make exercise playful and fun? What have been your

experiences with exercisehave you enjoyed them or dreaded them?

What are some types of exercise you might actually enjoy that you
could try? What are some environmental strategies you can use to
make exercise more fun, like joining friends, using music, or putting a
treadmill in front of the TV to watch with your favorite shows?


Energy, Emotion, and Loving-Kindness

Lecture 10

sychological conditions, such as stress, anxiety, and depression, can

affect your energy levels and create fatigue. Chronic stress both adds
to your cognitive load and reduces your capacity to rest and recharge.
This lecture discusses the impact of your emotional life on your energy
levels. Then it describes how stress, anxiety, and depression affect both your
well-being and your energy. The lecture ends with a meditation technique
that promotes well-being to support relaxation and boost energy.
The Emotional Backpack
Clinical psychologist Dr. Laura Markham has developed the theory
of the emotional backpack. It goes like this: In order to self-regulate
and make it through the day without having emotional outbursts
and temper tantrums, children learn to stuff their emotionstheir
disappointments, their hurtsinside an emotional backpack.
Tension builds up, and then later, at homewhere it is safe and
they know they are loveda minor slight, like a sibling picking
the wrong TV channel or a parent cutting their toast into the wrong
shape, can erupt into a major meltdown. Suddenly the kid is
crying and screaming and wailing as if his or her life is over, over
something that should be a simple fix.
The issue isnt the actual thing. Its not really about the TV channel
or the toast. The issue is all of those emotions, which are stuffed in
and have to get out. According to Markhams theory, the two ways
to get those emotions out of the backpack are to have either a good
laugh or a good cry. Both a good laugh and a good cry require being
around people who care about you, where you feel loved and safe
and have a safe space for freedom of expression.


This also holds a lot of truth for us as adults. Most of us, trying to
be polite and get along with others, stuff a lot of feeling into our
backpacks as we go through the day. If your boss shuts down your
idea, you bite your tongue and get back to work. If someone steals
your parking space, maybe you curse under your breath but you
dont ram the back of the other car.

Tears have both an individual and a social function. Researchers
have found that people with physical conditions that prevent tears
actually have a more difficult time identifying their own feelings
and emotions. Being able to cry
may be interconnected with how
we understand our own emotions.
Whether or not we experience
a cry as a good cry that actually
makes us feel better depends on
a lot of variables. Only about 30
percent of crying episodes actually
leading to mood improvement.
Crying when you are either
alone or with one other person
who provides emotional support,
crying because of a positive
event, and crying that leads to a
resolution and new understanding
of the situation that triggered the
tears can all make you feel better.


George Doyle/Stockbyte/Thinkstock.

Lecture 10Energy, Emotion, and Loving-Kindness

Consider: What are you stuffing inside, and how can you give
yourself space to metaphorically deal with your own backpack?
How can you clean out the fear, the anxiety, and the junk? Are
you giving yourself a safe space of love and support to get those
emotions out, either through a good laugh or a good cry?

Being able to cry may be

interconnected with how we
understand our own emotions.

Crying with two or more people around, in response to seeing

someone elses suffering, or when you feel embarrassed about
the tears can all make you feel worse. Self-regulation to not cry
in certain situations is a good adaptation. Tears in the wrong place
make you feel worse.
Dealing with your emotional backpack requires that you have a
space and time and person with whom it is safe to cry, so that you
can deal with those emotions appropriately and then move on, with
renewed energy from having cleared the sorrow.
When you are feeling angry, its important to figure out why.
Expressed anger that lashes all over the place can be a waste of
your energy that leaves you exhausted and with damage to repair.
Repressed anger can be equally bad for your energy, and may
actually be bad for your health.
Repressed anger can take a variety of forms. Women are more apt
to sulk and guilt trip and men are more likely to act out or abuse
alcohol. The key to effectively dealing with our anger is to figure
out what is really causing the anger and identify strategies to
improve the situation.
Translating anger into an accurate expression of why you are
angry can improve emotional health. Writing in a journal is a good
strategy for this. Get it out of you and down on paper. Talking to
someone you trust is also helpful.
If you think there is actually potential to improve the situation, it
can be helpful to discuss the issue with the person who made you
angry. Use clean, I feel statements to potentially address the
situation without igniting further conflict. Take care with those I
feel statements, though: I feel you are a horrible, unfeeling clod
is not going to be particularly helpful. But, I feel frustrated and
like you dont value me when you dont keep your promises to me
is a door opener to conversation and potentially resolution.

Consider whether resolution with the other person is possible. If

the issue is based on something that the other person cant change,
or has clearly indicated he or she wont change, further discussing
the issue may just make you feel angrier. Deal with your anger
through strategies you can control, like stress management and
mindfulness training.

Anxiety is another emotion which we perceive as negative, and
which we may try to avoid by sticking to comfortable routines
and situations which are familiar and which dont provoke stress.
Research suggests that rather than avoiding anxiety, it can be
helpful to shift how we
perceive it. How we perceive
anxiety, and how we deal with
it, based on that perception,
actually impacts how the
anxiety affects us.
How do we shift that
help: In a study at Harvard
University, participants were
asked to prepare a speech
situation. One group of When we perceive stress itself as
excitement, we can actually channel
participants was asked to tell the stress reaction into helping us
themselves, I am excited. perform more effectively.
The other group was asked to
say, I am calm. The participants who focused on excitement gave
longer speeches and were perceived by others as more persuasive,
competent, and relaxed than those who focused on being calm. The


Randy Faris/Fuse/Thinkstock.

Lecture 10Energy, Emotion, and Loving-Kindness

One great strategy for dealing with anger is exercise. Walking in

particular helps. Research shows that daily walks calm anger and
improve blood pressure.

implication is that when we perceive the stress itself as excitement,

we can actually channel the stress reaction into helping us perform
more effectively.
For performance in particular, there may be benefits to figuring
out how to channel our emotions rather than trying to overcome
them. For our energy levels, it may be helpful to identify strategies
to channel our genuine emotions in the direction we want to
gousing them as leverage, as the excited group did in the
Harvard study.
Think about the potential implications of this for yourself, for your
loved ones, and for those you work with. Prior to a challenge or a
task, can you think about a personal accomplishment to remember
your own worth? Can you give someone a compliment and a
reminder of something they have done well?
Mindfulness and Loving-Kindness
Being mindful can affect your emotional health and the
emotional energy you bring to your life and the world. Research
has consistently demonstrated the benefits of mindfulness for
psychological health. In one large-scale study from Johns Hopkins
University, researchers concluded that meditation improved
symptoms of anxiety and depression as much as antidepressants.
One mindfulness practice specifically focuses on your emotional
state. This technique is intended to promote happiness. The
technique is called loving-kindness meditation, or metta meditation.
It boosts your own sense of happiness and helps you feel more
supportive of others.
The core philosophy of loving-kindness meditation is the idea that
all emotional illnessunhappiness, lack of energy, lack of vitality
for lifecomes from a lack of love.
A lack of love for self leads to feelings of unworthiness.


A lack of love for others can lead to anger, jealousy, and

A lack of love for the world at large can lead to a sense of
feeling isolated and disconnected.
In the Buddhist practice, the Dhammapada scripture says, Hatred
cannot coexist with loving-kindness, and dissipates if supplanted
with thoughts based on loving-kindness. Thats the core premise
of loving kindness meditation. Buddhist nun Sister Dang Nghiem
says that it is like caring for a gardenyou work to pull the weeds,
and you also plant flowers. If you just weed, you will be exhausted
with perpetual work and lose hope. As you plant enough flowers,
eventually there will be less room in the garden for weeds, and you
will have less work to do cleaning the garden.

Lecture 10Energy, Emotion, and Loving-Kindness

Consider loving-kindness meditation an act of planting flowers

within, planting a sense of kindness and compassion and self-care.
As these flowers grow, there will be less space for the weeds of
fatigue to grow, and you will feel greater energy and vitality overall.
One research study found that a single session of loving-kindness
meditation left participants feeling more accepting of themselves,
and more connected to and positive about others, both those they
knew and strangers. When kids practice loving-kindness meditation
toward those who have bullied or teased them, it actually makes
the kids feel better and more empowered, as if they have gained
control over the situation. Your energy is, at its core, a reflection of
your emotional health. If you are not feeling good about yourself
or life in general, if you are feeling lost and sad and hurt and alone,
then it will be that much harder to do the self-care that is needed to
promote energy.


Further Steps
If you are truly, deeply weary, then consider that you may need help,
and seek counseling. Emotional strife leads to insomnia and makes
exercise and healthy diet that much harder. Even if you are doing
everything right in terms of self-care, if you are feeling emotionally
wounded, self-care wont be enough to boost your energy.
If you are suffering from clinical anxiety and depression, a mental
health professional can provide a road ahead, using appropriate
psychological strategies. Potentially, they can use interventions like
medication, talk therapy, diet, and exercise to help lift the fog.
Not all stress is equal. Good stress gives you a spark and boosts
your energy. Bad stress drains you, wears you down, and depletes
your energy. When you perpetually cycle through negative
emotions, you never get a chance to rest, recover, and heal. You
need psychological space to calm the storm within, so that you can
recharge your energy.
We need more than just stress management; we need life
management. We need self-care and effective strategies that support
our emotional well-being. Your energy for life is, fundamentally, a
reflection of the state of your heart and soul. Your emotional health
determines your energy levels. So, above all, treat yourself with

Suggested Reading
Cox, Bruckner, and Stabb, The Anger Advantage.
Kashdan and Biswas-Diener, The Upside of Your Dark Side.
McGonigal, The Upside of Stress.
Seligman, Learned Optimism.


Questions to Consider
1. Are there emotions stuffed in your backpack which are affecting your

energy levels? Grab a pad and jot down all of the hurts, pains, wounds,
fears, anxieties, and guilts that you are carrying around. Once you have
written them all down, use some sort of symbolic clearing exercise to
get rid of them; for instance, you can send the sheet of paper through
a shredder, throw it in your fireplace with a nice roaring fire, or bury
it in the ground. Do something to physically clear and discharge the
emotions you are carrying so that you can free that space up for more
productive pursuits.

2. Consider practicing the loving-kindness meditation once per day as

Lecture 10Energy, Emotion, and Loving-Kindness

a way to cultivate a sense of love for self, others, and the universe,
which will help you to prevent the accumulation of emotional hurts in
your backpack.


Your Energy Baseline

Lecture 11

here are no quick fixes to a more energetic life, but there are ways to
make the path there easier to follow. The formula for feeling energetic
brings together the consistent use of self-care strategies like sufficient
sleep, effective stress management, a balanced diet, and a moderate exercise
routine, all complemented by social networks and a sense of purpose. In this
lecture, youll learn some strategies and tools for maintaining a baseline
level of energy, including exercise, healthy energy-boosting substance, and
written activities.
Short-Term Boosts
We all have days where we need a boost. There are some strategies
you can use to keep your energy up in a short-term crisis, as long as
your long-term strategy is built around solid self-care.
The fastest and quickest strategy that many of us use instinctively
is to pull out a pack of gum. There is something about gum chewing
that researchers dont quite understand, but they think it has to do
with increasing blood flow to the brain, which leads to the delivery
of more oxygen and glucose. Even better is mint or cinnamon
gum, because both scents add the power of aromatherapy to the
boost of chewing.
Keeping some essential oils nearby to sniff when you need a
boost can be helpful, with peppermint being a primary energizing
scent. The key, though, is to use true essential oils, not artificially
scented perfumes.
Often, when we think we are tired or hungry, we are dehydrated. In
fact, research has shown that dehydrated individuals report more
headaches and poorer moods, so dehydration has a direct impact on


your energy level. When youre fighting to stay awake and on task,
guzzle water. Herbal tea is good too, especially teas with scents that
are known to energize like peppermint, lemon balm, and ginger.
Another great fix is to do a downward facing dog pose, or to try a
few minutes of self-acupressure on the face, ear, or hands.
Health Conditions
Sometimes fatigue is just fatigue, and sometimes its symptomatic
of a larger issue, so if you are feeling consistently worn down in
spite of following good practices, discuss your symptoms with your
doctor to determine whether there might be a medical cause for
your fatigue.

Lecture 11Your Energy Baseline

Likewise, if you are dealing with chronic pain, you will feel an
impact in the rest of your life, including your energy levels. Chronic
pain can also make sleep difficult, and unfortunately, lack of solid
sleep can exacerbate pain. If you struggle to sleep well and have
chronic pain, talk with your doctor.
Remember that if you have chronic pain, you will feel fatigued
from the emotional wear of it. Dont beat yourself up for not being
more energeticthat just wears your energy down more. Figure
out realistic energy levels that you can expect on good days, and be
more gentle with yourself on the days when pain flares.
Time of Day
The circadian rhythm is far more powerful than we give it credit
for, and research has found profound impacts of time of day.
For instance, specific medicines may be more or less effective
depending on when we take them.
The point is, in the context of energy, our natural cycles are
powerful. According to scientists, we really do have a clock gene or
chronotype, which controls natural sleep preferences. On average,
early birds wake up one to a few hours earlier than night owls.


Habit matters, too, though. If you are used to staying up into the
wee hours of the morning, even if you dont have anything much
to do, you might just be creating a sense of self that you are a night
owl. Night owls go to bed a little later and wake up a little later, but
a vampire schedule is more about habit than natural rhythm.
Even night owls on a natural night schedule still have more
challenges than the morning larks. Night owls tend to perceive
more barriers to exercise than do morning people. Researchers
speculate that being a morning person allows you to get up and do
the hard stuff, like exercise, early, before the busy-ness of the day
takes over, which can give you a sense of personal control over
your life.
There is a reason the hour before dinner has long been called the
witching hour. A study on married couples found that both men and
women are more likely to fight with their partner when their blood
sugar is lowbefore meals.
The basic mechanics are that when you havent eaten in a
while, your blood sugar drops. The brain does not have a
storage system for glucose, so the first organ in your body to
run out of energy is the brain.
This is stressful, so your stress response kicks in and starts
pumping out adrenaline, because before the modern era, if you
got hungry, you had to actually go hunt or gather your food.
Your empty body is now low on glucose and swirling with
stress hormones, so you might feel shaky, a little anxious, and
a little headachy.
If you feel yourself starting to react, stop and take a deep breath
and ask yourself: Am I really upset, or is my blood sugar low?
Is there a real situation I need to deal with here, with the other
person, or do I need to address my own hunger and lack of
energy as the real issue?


If you are in a place in your life when you are responsible for the
lives of otherswhether you are a parent of a small child or the
child of an aging parentthe work of caring for someone else will
draw on your energy. For instance, caregivers for adults, whether
spouses, siblings, or parents, spend 20 hours per week, on average,
in supporting the health and well-being of their loved one.
Caregivers may feel that they never have a chance to rest. In fact,
nearly a third of caregivers rate their happiness as low, and 68
percent wish that things were different.
There are clearly benefits to being there for a loved one, but you
also need to allow yourself space to honestly reflect on its impact on
your own health and well-being, and find ways to care for yourself.
If you are a caregiver, self-care is critical to maintain your energy
and your quality of life.

Lecture 11Your Energy Baseline

Mindfulness training can be a big help, in particular because it helps

build your resources to survive the challenging times, and to help
you pay attention and notice and enjoy the good times with your
loved ones. Research at Northwestern University found that when
patients and their caregivers participated in mindfulness training
specifically designed to support patients with early-stage dementia
and their caregivers, both the patients and the caregivers had lower
levels of depression and improved sleep, and an overall improved
quality of life.
Even though caregiving is tough, it is also emotionally gratifying
and rewarding, and it can yield positive benefits. In a six-year
study at John Hopkins University of 3,500 caregiving spouses,
adult children, and relatives, researchers found that caregivers had
an 18 percent reduced rate of death compared to non-caregivers.
Perhaps caregiving, although challenging, provides an innate sense
of meaning and purpose that promotes you taking care of yourself,
so that you can keep on taking care of your loved ones.


D. Anschutz/Photodisc/Thinkstock.

Even though caregiving is tough, it is also emotionally gratifying and rewarding,

and it can yield positive benefits.


Its true that our energy changes over time, and certainly, we all
experience that we dont recover as quickly as we grow older. But
we also become wiser about ourselves and our self-care, and with
that wisdom comes a more effective use of our energy that allows
us to engage just as effectively, with life.
Researchers consistently report a U-shape for the experience of
happiness over a lifetimewith happiness being higher in young
adulthood, dipping in middle adulthood, and then rising again as
we get older. A 2014 survey from AARP found that 85 percent of
individuals between the ages of 40 and 90 dont feel old. In one
survey, when American adults were asked, If you could stop time
and live forever in good health at a particular age, at what age
would you like to live? the most popular answer was age 50.


We dont really crave youth; we recognize that getting older and

wiser brings many benefits. Other research has found that while
older adults are consistently happier than younger adults are, the
happiest people are older adults in good health. Better than youth,
then, is the stability and wisdom of older age, and good health to
actually reap the rewards of a life well lived.
Above all, whatever the circumstances and conditions that are
affecting your energy levels, be patient with yourself, be forgiving
yourself, and be grateful for the energy you do have, rather than
angry about the energy you dont have.
Along those lines, a helpful activity is writing a gratitude list. Its
a classic exercise in positive psychology: counting your blessings.
Every night, write down three things you are thankful for,
and why.
Be specific and concrete. The idea isnt to write something like,
I am thankful for my family, but rather something like, I am
thankful that my kids helped set the table for dinner, because it
makes me feel like they value contributing to the family and I
am doing a good job in teaching that value.

Lecture 11Your Energy Baseline

The research shows that after doing this exercise regularly,

in six months, your mood will be better, you will experience
fewer symptoms of depression, and you will be happier overall.
Dont get carried away; keep the list at three. Research also
shows that when the list becomes longer, we start to perceive it
as a burden and another thing to be done, and it becomes less
effective in promoting psychological health.
Focusing on what is good in your life is a powerful way to direct
your energy toward the positive things that will further boost your
energy, creating an upward spiral.


Suggested Reading
Chiasson, Energy Healing.
Markham, Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids.

Questions to Consider
1. Consider the circumstances and constraints that affect your energy and
help determine your energy baseline. On a sheet of paper, make notes
about the following aspects of your life, and how they impact your
energy levels:
a. Your gender
b. Your age
c. Marital status
d. Career or retirement status
e. Financial status
f. Caregiving status: either kids or adults like a spouse or a parent
g. Your location: the aspects of your environment that either support
or impede your quality of life, like the presence or absence of green
space, the length of your commute, whether there are sidewalks or
grocery stores in your neighborhood
h. Your natural disposition: for instance, whether you are a morning
person, whether you are naturally perky or slow to warm up
i. Your health status, in particular any chronic conditions which you
may deal with
j. Any current or recent life stressors or major changes, such as a
move, a divorce, death of a loved one, or a job change

2. Consider starting a gratitude list. Each evening you will write down

Lecture 11Your Energy Baseline

three specific, concrete things for which you are grateful, as a way of
fostering an overall sense of gratitude and positivity in your life. Set a
goal to practice the exercise on a daily basis for at least six weeks in
order to develop this into a solid habit and experience the benefits of
the exercise.


The Energetic Life You Choose

Lecture 12

our energetic life is a life that you buildwith the foods that make
you feel best, the stress management and self-care that best soothes
your needs, the exercise that you most enjoy, the people you love,
the work you find engaging. The goal of this lecture is to help you focus on
the energetic life you want to live. The lecture reviews key concepts from
throughout the series and focuses on helping you build a personalized action
plan for boosting your short-term and long-term energy.
Microbursts and Quiet Time
Jack Groppel, the cofounder of Johnson & Johnsons Human
Performance Institute, suggests we should use microbursts of
activity to recharge throughout the day. A brief walk, a couple of
deep breaths, or stopping to eat lunch away from your desk can
give you a few moments to refresh and recharge your batteries. This
can improve focus and motivation for the work that you do after.
Building brief moments to recharge throughout your day can be
helpful for keeping your energy going all day long.
Part of giving yourself space to recharge your batteries is giving
yourself permission to relax and not be productive. As it turns out,
we are not very good at doing nothing, as shown by a study at the
University of Virginia.
Participants were given a mild electric shock. All of the
participants said they would pay money rather than be
shocked again.
Yet, when they were left alone with nothing to do but sit
in silence or shock themselves, 67 percent of men and 25
percent of women chose to shock themselves. Think about
that: We would rather hurt ourselves then just sit alone, in
quiet, doing nothing.


But we need quiet. If we use energy in all of the things we do,

we must have times in which we dont do anything, in order to
rebuild, renew, and restore. There is value in gazing at the clouds, in
daydreaming, in the space of silence. Most religious and meditative
practices include space to sit in silence, because there is value in
quiet space for reflection.
Attention Capacity
Psychological research has shown that directional attention is a
finite mental resource. We only have so much, and when we are
constantly under demand, we experience directional attention
fatigue. The immediate environment weighs more heavily on the
choices we make, so the lure of the vending machine is stronger
when we are hungry, and the pull of the TV is louder when we are
bored. The close, the familiar, and the easy dominate our choices.

Renars Jurkovskis/iStock/Thinkstock.

Lecture 12The Energetic Life You Choose

One of the primary ways psychologists recommend for restoring

attentional capacity is spending unplugged time in nature. There is
something about being outside, in natural green space, away from
the whir of technology that can give you space to restore and renew.

One of the primary ways psychologists recommend for restoring attentional

capacity is spending time in nature.

Raymond De Young is an associate professor at the University of

Michigan who specializes in attention restoration. To illustrate why
this kind of quiet, alone space is needed to restore energy, he uses
the analogy of a car.
De-stressing by doing something fun with friends is like letting
the car cool down after a long, hard ride. It allows your body to
recover from stress by taking a break from the stressor.
But restoring the capacity for attention is more like fueling
the gas tank. When you are managing your attention all day, it
fatigues the brain. You feel tired in the head, even if you are not
physically tired.
What makes us tired is not so much the stress but rather constantly
paying attention to important stimuli while tuning out distractions.
Its our capacity for attention that wears down. What truly restores
us and refills our tank is to have a break from paying attention.
If you go for a walk outside, or sit on a bench in a park, you can
just be in the experience. You dont have to pay attention to any
particular stimuli, you can let your mind wander, and let your
senses wander, and in that space, your attentional capacity can rest
and be restored.
To boost your energy, you have to train yourself to improve your
willpower. Some people think of willpower as an old-fashioned
gifteither you are blessed with it or not. Some people think of
willpower as a finite psychological resourcesomething that you
have so much of, and then its gone. Others think of willpower as
an infinite psychological resourcesomething that you have an
endless supply of, and so if youre not using it, you are weak or lazy
or dont care.
Willpower is, in fact, most like a muscle. You have a certain amount
of strength, and when you use it to your maximum capacity, you
may tire and wear out. You can exercise it to make it stronger. By

strengthening your willpower, you will effectively increase your

energy for interacting with life, making decisions, and dealing with
difficult and challenging situations.
One key to improving your willpower, and thus your energy, is to
start with simple strategies and exercises, and to implement them
when you are not feeling maxed out. You should not attempt to
boost your willpower when you are in the middle of a stressful,
energy-sapping situation, because working on your willpower
will be just one more stressor to sap your energy. Instead, look at
willpower building like exercise, meditation, and healthy diet
good preventative strategies that over time will boost your energy
for the long haul.

Lecture 12The Energetic Life You Choose

One willpower-boosting strategy is to eliminate decisions you dont

have to make. We can all use a simple strategy by preplanning as
much as possible. For instance, the night before a workday, figure
out your clothes, your breakfast, your lunch, your to-do list, the
chores you will run on your lunch hour, and the key projects you
will focus on at work. Save your psychological energy for making
big decisions so that you can put your energy to the things you care
about most.
Another great strategy, according to research from Duke University,
is to bundle together treats with healthy things. This worked for
food, where researchers found that when participants paired a small
serving of a tasty but not nutritious food with a larger serving of a
healthy food, they felt satisfied. Bundling together the virtue with
the vice may mean you need less of the vice to feel satisfiedso
you dont have to rely on your willpower to stop eating cookies.
Another exercise is to do something in a deliberate way to build
your will-power muscle. Roy Baumeister from Florida State
University is the preeminent researcher on willpower. His research
has found that deliberately working on one thing can have impacts
across the rest of your life. So pick one simple thing that you would
like to improve, and stick to it. It can be as simple as making your

bed every single morning. Or it can be more complicated, like

deliberately choosing not to use profanity. Make a commitment,
and stick to it. The success will build success, and your willpower
will get stronger.
Some research suggests that you can boost your odds by betting
on yourself. According to a study in the Journal of the American
Medical Association, people who promised to forfeit money if they
failed to lose weight lost 14 pounds more than those who didnt
have anything at stake. Bet on your success so that you are vested
in meeting your goals. Once youve achieved your goal, youll have
developed a new habit, and boosted your willpower, which will
make it easier to meet your next goal.
Then when youve achieved that goal, take a moment to notice
it and to celebrate your success. According to Loyola University
Chicago psychologist Fred Bryant, we may not even notice when
things are good. His research has found that we are often so busy
with the details and to-do lists of lives and with getting stuff done
that we dont notice the good. We forget to appreciate when things
go well and when we get the outcomes we have been working for.
Can You Have It All?
Jonathan Bush, co-founder and CEO of a $600 million medical
records company, was interviewed in Inc. magazine about the
challenges of balancing relationships with business. He said that
prior to his divorce, his devotion to his business was so intense it
was a kind of infidelity. Bush said, People say work-life balance,
but what they really mean is work-life both. And work-life both is
a big lie. We are finite vessels.
The point is, there are a lot of things you can dobut you still cant
do it all, and you cant have it all. What you can dowhat you
can haveare the things that really matter to you. You are going to
have to pick: What are your priorities? Where do you want to spend
your energy?


Also consider: How are societally imposed expectations affecting

your decisions? How do others views of who I am and what I
should do affect how I build my life? What would I do if I were
really choosing the life that made me feel energized?
It is OK for you to decide there are some things you dont want to
do. It is OK to say no. You should not do something just because
society says you should, or your friends are all doing it, or some
childhood guilty voice in the back of your head says you should.

Lecture 12The Energetic Life You Choose

Make smart choices about how you spend your finite time. Figure
out the things you really want to do. If you like to be busy and you
feel a whir of energy from rushing from thing to thing, then thats
your style, and you should embrace it. If you feel better with a slow
focus, then choose the few things you love and let go of all the other
clutter that leaves you feeling hectic and busy and overwhelmed.
Choose what feels best to you.
You have energy, and you must choose how to spend it. Whether
you acknowledge the choice or not, every day, you choose what
you to spend your energy on. Every time you make a deliberate
choice, you are purposefully building your energetic life. Its your
lifeyour energy bank account. You get to choose how to spend it.

Suggested Reading
Baumeister and Tierney, Willpower.
Bryant and Veroff, Savoring.
Huffington, Thrive.
Martela, Willpower.
Seligman, Flourish.
Spar, Wonder Women.


Questions to Consider
1. Consider setting a goal for one specific willpower activity, to work on

building your willpower muscle. Set something small and concrete,

which will support you in achieving success. For instance, if you prefer
order and sometimes struggle with chaos, set a goal to make your bed
each morning. If you always intend to exercise but find the day gets
away with you, set a simple exercise goal: perhaps a 10-minute walk
each day after lunch, or one sun salutation each evening before bed. If
you always want to work on your diet but struggle with how, plan to eat
a fresh salad every day at lunch. Choosing something small, specific,
and concrete sets you up for success.

2. Consider trying the I Am exercise for five minutes, each day, for
six weeks, as a way to reframe your self-perception. The goal is to
move your internal sense of focus out of doing and into being. A being
mind-set provides a calm center that is not built around busy-ness or
activity, and provides you a more stable focus from which to interact
with others.


Lecture 1
Hohlbaum, Christine Louise. The Power of Slow: 101 Ways to Save Time in
our 24/7 World, St Martins Griffin, 2010.
Teitelbaum, Jacob. From Fatigued to Fantastic! Avery, 2007.
Lecture 2
Breus, Michael. Good Night: The Sleep Doctors 4-week Program to Better
Sleep and Better Health, Dutton Adult, 2006.
Lockley, Steve W., & Foster, Russell G. Sleep: A Very Short Introduction.
Oxford University Press, 2012.
Maas, James. Power Sleep: The Revolutionary Program that Prepares Your
Mind for Peak Performance. William Morrow Paperbacks, 1998.
Lecture 3
Brown, Richard P. & Gerbarg, Patricia. The Healing Power of the Breath:
Simple Techniques to Reduce Stress and Anxiety, Enhance Concentration
and Balance Your Emotions. Shambala, 2012.
Rosen, Richard. The Yoga of Breath: A Step-by-Step Guide to Pranayama.
Shambala, 2002.


Stenudd, Stefan. Qi: Increase your Life energy. Arriba, 2009.

Weil, Andrew. Breathing: The Master Key to Self Health (Audio Book).
Sounds True, 2001.


Lecture 4
Hirshberg, Meg Cadoux. For Better or for Work: A Survival Guide for
Entrepreneurs and Their Families, An Inc. Original, 2012.
Paulsen, Roland. Empty Labor: Idleness and Workplace Resistance.
Cambridge University Press, 2015.
Peter, Laurence J. The Peter Principle: Why Things Always Go Wrong,
Harper Business, Reprint Edition, 2011.
Pink, Daniel H. Drive: The Surprising Truth about What Motivates Us,
Riverhead Books, 2011.
Lecture 5
Carter, Christine. The Sweet Spot: How to Find Your Groove at Home and
Work. Ballantine Books, 2015.
Christakis, Nicholas A. & Fowler, James H. Connected: The Surprising
Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape our Lives How Your
Friends Friends Friends Affect Everything You Feel, Think, and Do. Back
Bay Books, Reprint Edition, 2011.
Covey, Stephen M.R. The SPEED of Trust: The One Thing That Changes
Everything. Free Press, Reprint Edition, 2008.
John Gottmans research-informed books on marriage offer a practical
and science-backed approach to relationships that can inform both your
personal relationships and how you interact with any of your loved ones.
For instance, Why Marriages Succeed or Fail: And How You can Make
Yours Last, from 1995. He offers newer editions that incorporate his more
recent research on marriage, as well as books that address parenthood and
other relationships.


Charlotte Kasls If the Buddha series of books offers a perspective of

mindfulness in relationships. The series includes If the Buddha Dated, If the
Buddha Married, and If the Buddha Had Kids.
Lyubomirsky, Sonja. The How of Happiness: a New Approach to Getting the
Life You Want. Penguin Books, 2008.
Pinker, Susan. The Village Effect: How Face-to-Face Contact Can Make Us
Healthier, Happier, and Smarter. Spiegel & Grau, 2014.
Brown, Brene. The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think Youre
Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are. Hazelden, 2010.
Lecture 6
Anh-Huong, Nguyen and Hanh, Thich Nhat. Walking Meditation: Peace is
Every Step. It Turns the Endless Path to Joy, Sounds True, 2006.
Brach, Tara. True Refuge: Finding Peace and Freedom in Your Own
Awakened Heart. Bantam, 2013.
Harris, Russ. The Happiness Trap: How to Stop Struggling and Start Living:
A Guide to ACT. Trumpeter, 2008.
Kabat Zinn, Jon. Coming to Our Senses. Hyperion, 2005.
Nghiem, Sister Dang. Mindfulness as Medicine: A Story of Healing Body
and Spirit. Parallax Press, 2015.


Stahl, Bob, and Goldstein, Elisha. A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction

Workbook. New Harbinger Publications, 2010.


Lecture 7
Buettner, Dan. The Blue Zones, 2nd Edition: 9 Lessons for Living Longer from
the People Whove Lived the Longest. National Geographic, 2nd Edition, 2012.
Dunn, Elizabeth, and Norton, Michael. Happy Money: The Science of
Happier Spending. Simon & Schuster, Reprint Edition, 2014.
Iyengar, Sheena. The Art of Choosing. Twelve, Reprint Edition, 2011.
Mullainathan, Sendhil, and Shafir, Eldar. Scarcity: The New Science of
Having Less and How it Defines our Lives. Picador, Reprint Edition, 2014.
Schwartz, Barry. The Paradox of Choice Why More is Less. Harper
Perennial, 2005.
Turkle, Sherry. Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and
Less form Each Other. Basic Books, 2012.
Lecture 8
Albers, Susan. Eating Mindfully: How to End Mindless Eating and Enjoy a
Balanced Relationship with Food, 2nd Edition. New Harbinger Publications,
Inc., 2nd Edition, 2012.
Breus, Michael and Bruce, Debra Fulghum. The Sleep Doctors Diet Plan:
Simple Rules for Losing Weight While You Sleep. Rodale Books, 2012.
Lasater, Judith Hanson. Relax and Renew: Restful Yoga for Stressful Times.
Rodmell Press, 2nd Edition, 2011.
May, Michelle. Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat: How to Break Your
Eat-Repeat-Repeat Cycle. Am I Hungry? Publishing, 2011. Dr. May also
offers mindful eating books that focus on binge eating and diabetes, for those
with specific health needs.


Wansink, Brian. Slim by Design: Mindless Eating Solutions for Everyday

Life. William Morrow, 2014. Wansinks approach focuses on small tips and
changes to the environment that can reduce the time you spend on making
good food decisions, based on his extensive research in this area.
Lecture 9
Biali, Susan. Live a Life You Love: 7 Steps to a Healthier, Happier, More
Passionate You. Beaufort Books, 2010.
Brown, Stuart, and Vaughan, Christopher. Play: How it Shapes the Brain,
Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul. Avery, Reprint Edition,
Carmona, Richard. Canyon Ranch 30 Days to a Better Brain: A
Groundbreaking Program for Improving your Memory, Concentration,
Mood, and Overall Well-being. Atria Books, 2014.
Fredrickson, Barbara. Positivity: Top-Notch Research Reveals the 3 to 1
Ratio that Will Change Your Life. Harmony, 2009.
Grierson, Bruce. What Makes Olga Run?: The Mystery of the 90-something
Track Star and What She Can Teach Us About Living Longer, Happier Lives.
St. Martins Griffin, Reprint edition, 2015.
Metzl, Jordan and Heffernan, Andrew. The Exercise Cure: A Doctors AllNatural, No-Pill Prescription for Better Health and Longer Life. Rodale
Books, Reprint Edition, 2014.


Lecture 10
Cox, Deborah, Bruckner, Karin, and Stabb, Sally. The Anger Advantage:
The Surprising Benefits of Anger and How it Can Change a Womans Life.
Broadway, 2003.


Kashdan, Todd, and Biswas-Diener, Robert. The Upside of Your Dark Side:
Why Being Your Whole Self Not Just Your Good Self Drives Success
and Fulfillment. Hudson Street Press, 2014.
McGonigal, Kelly. The Upside of Stress: Why Stress is Good for You and
How to Get Good at it. Avery, 2015.
Seligman, Martin E.P. Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and
Your Life. Vintage, Reprint Edition, 2006.
Lecture 11
Chiasson, Anne Marie. Energy Healing: The Essentials of Self-Care. Sounds
True, 2013.
Markham, Laura. Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How to Stop Yelling and
Start Connecting, Perigee Books, 2012.
Lecture 12
Huffington, Arianna. Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and
Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder. Harmony, 2014.
Seligman, Martin E.P. Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of
Happiness and Well-being. Atria Books, 2012.
Bryant, Fred, and Veroff, Joseph. Savoring: A New Model of Positive
Experience. Psychology Press, 2006.
Martela, Frank. Willpower: The Owners Manual 12 Tools for Doing the
Right Thing. Filosofian Akatemia Oy, 2013.
Baumeister, Roy. F, and Tierney, John. Willpower: Rediscovering the
Greatest Human Strength. Penguin Books, Reprint Edition, 2012.


Spar, Debora. Wonder Women: Sex, Power, and the Quest for Perfection.
Picador, Reprint Edition, 2013.
Helpful Websites
Vipassana Meditation, as taught by S.N. Goenka, website at http://www.
Go! To Sleep, from the Cleveland Clinic, www.clevelandclinicwellness.
The American Psychological Association offers resources for coping with
stress at work: http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/work-stress.aspx.
Happiness expert Christine Carters website regularly offers content on finding
balance among a variety of social obligations: http://www.christinecarter.com/.
Summary of Dan Buettners Blue Zones research, including self-assessments
of your own health and happiness habits: www.bluezones.com.
Brian Wansink, Ph.D., a professor at Cornell University who has been
named the Food Psychologist by ABC News, has built his research career
on understanding how the environment impacts our dietary decisions.
He shares key content and resources via the Cornell Food & Brand Lab:


The website for the Sustainable Development Solutions Network, a

Global Initiative for the United Nations, offers additional insight into the
World Happiness Report. You can download the full report for review:
The National Institute for Play offers research on the science of play, and
insight into integrating play into our lives: http://www.nifplay.org/.


The Science of Happiness, an online course from the Greater Good Science
Center at the University of California, Berkeley, http://greatergood.berkeley.
For individuals with chronic health conditions: The Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and
Health Promotion offers a variety of supportive resources and information
on their website: http://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/index.htm.
For caregivers: www.CarePlanners.com.
For parents: www.ahaparenting.comDr. Markhams website offers a
variety of self-help resources for parents.