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9 tips for an emergency energy boost

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“When your energy level is low, everything feels like a chore,” says Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project, “even things that would ordinarily make you happy.”

Exercise and a good night’s sleep can boost energy, of course. But what if you need more energy right now?

Try one of these strategies, Rubin advises:

1. Step outside into the sunlight. Research suggests that light stimulates brain chemicals that improve mood. For an extra boost, get your sunlight first thing in the morning.

2. Go for a brisk walk, even if it’s just 10 minutes’ worth.

3. Act with energy. “We think we act because of the way we feel, but often we feel because of the way we act,” Rubin says. “Trick yourself into feeling energetic by moving more quickly, pacing while you talk on the phone and putting more energy into your voice.”

4. Listen to your favorite upbeat song.

5. Talk to an energetic friend. Rubin says, “Not only do we gain energy from interacting with other people, we also—in what’s called ‘emotional contagion’—‘catch’ their emotions.”

6. Tackle an item on your to-do list—one you’ve been putting off. “You’ll be amazed by the huge rush of energy you get when it’s crossed off your list,” she says.

7. Clean up. Just tidy the surfaces. For most people, outer order contributes to inner calm.

8. Jump. “Yes, jump up and down a few times,” Rubin says. “I just started doing this, and it’s amazing how energizing it is.”

9. Cut yourself some slack. Didn’t send out a birthday card on time? Let it go.

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