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Create energy out of thin air

Let me tell you a story.

When I ran a half marathon on Sunday, I felt tired. 10k in, I thought I couldn’t run the rest.

The sun was high in the sky, the air was hot. Tired progressed to exhausted and then further. I had to catch my breath a few times.

Deeply exhausted and dehydrated, I eventually finished. I didn’t think I could.

This experience proved to me one thing: we have more energy than we think we do.

Creating more energy

Energy is a precious resource. If we use it efficiently, we can do more and experience more. If we don’t, we do less and experience less, which can lead to unhappiness.

The thing is, our perception of how of this precious resource we have is not accurate.

Think about when you really get into a problem, when you’re engaged in an activity, in a conversation, or in a game. You can spend hours in the state of concentration and not notice any fatigue.

In these heightened states, our body taps into its energy reserves. It reaches deeper inside our cells to extract as much energy as we need in the moment to do the task at hand. It’s incredible.

Now, back to the running example.

As I sat on my bed, re-hydrated but still tired. I thought for a moment. The day wasn’t over. I wanted to mow a portion of the garden, tidy my room, read a chapter or two… But I did not feel like I had the energy.

So how could I get it? How could I muster more energy?

I drank a glass of water. I did a couple handstand push-ups. I folded my clothes. I went outside. I listened to a couple songs from the Deadpool soundtrack. I took a quick nap. All of this to get more energy to enable me to do more.

And after half an hour or so, I was able to fully focus again. A large portion of my fatigue was gone, and I could sink my teeth into something productive.

Our body stores all this energy for us, in case we need it in some sort of crisis that threatens our life and requires our effort. But while these crises may have been common in the hunter-gatherer era, now their far and few in between.

Wouldn’t it be shame to leave that energy dormant?

If we can change our state by being active, we can tap into the depths of our energy reserves and help ourselves live fuller, richer lives.

In case you have doubts about this mythic energy hidden from our conscious mind, here’s one more manifestation of it — meeting deadlines.

Before a deadline, we are often able to suddenly churn out an astounding amount of work. We rise to meet the challenge. It’s because deadlines are mini-crises that remind us of our primal nature. The reminder of a threat unlocks the energy necessary to overcome the obstacles facing us.

With that, how can we create or unlock more of our energy?

Here are some ways I do it (including the above mentioned):

  • drinking water/coffee

  • doing strenuous exercises

  • cleaning (works for me, especially with Limitless playing in the background)

  • taking a walk

  • taking a cold shower

  • going for a walk

  • breathing fast for a minute or too (more oxygen to the brain)

  • listening to upbeat music

  • dancing

  • reading about someone awesome and interesting

All these things help me not fall into the trap of thinking that ‘I just don’t have enough energy’. They help me to do more.

How do you create more energy for yourself?