O Genki Desu Ka? My top tips to increase energy for life and work

By on July 1, 2012
“Genki” is one of my favorite Japanese words. Despite being used as the functional equivalent of “How are you?” and “I am fine”, “(O) genki desu ka” and “Genki desu” have a much more inspiring undertone.  Because “genki” is translated as healthy, happy, energetic, lively and enthusiastic, what you are really being asked is, “Are you happy, healthy, energetic, and enthusiastic?” I love this greeting because I always felt more energetic upon declaring myself “genki” – supporting the myriad scientific studies proving the power our words have to influence our state of being.To help you get “genki”, here are my top tips for getting and staying energized all day long.1. Get more sleep.
Cutting back on sleep seems like the easiest way to find yourself another few hours to do all those things you want to do. Big mistake! Your brain uses sleep to restore optimum physical, mental and emotional functioning. Without proper sleep, your productivity, creativity, mental sharpness, emotional balance, and physical vitality diminishes. If you have a hard time getting out of bed in the morning, use caffeine and sugar to perk you up and prevent you from getting sleepy in meetings or falling asleep easily while watching TV, you are sleep deprived. Most adults need between 7.5 and 9 hours per night, but get only 6-7. That extra hour or two is the deciding factor between thriving and just surviving.

2.Get enough exercise.
Notice that I didn’t say get more exercise. More is not always better. Anyone who has suffered from the post-mortem stiffness and fatigue of an overzealous workout gets this. The key to understanding how much exercise is enough for you to achieve your energy (or weight and fitness) goals with least effort is the minimum effective dose (MED) – the smallest dose that will produce a desired outcome.  The MED for boiling water is 100ºC. Anything beyond that is overkill. Tim Ferriss, author of The 4 Hour Body, has proven that the MED for building muscles anywhere you want them is just 80 seconds of lifting 20lbs daily – not hours of pumping metal at the gym. My exercise MED for optimum energy is a 15 minute run in nature at least 5 days / week. Whether by research or personal experimentation, the MED is the key to more energy – and results – with less effort in every area of your life.

3.Use coffee strategically.
No, I am not going to tell you to stop drinking coffee – I love my java too much for that! And I am not going to tell you that it is bad for you – the verdict is still out on that and I know which side I am hoping for. I am going to tell you how it actually works so that you can understand how to use it more strategically to boost energy. Based on Buzz: The Science and Lore of Alcohol and Caffeine by Stephen Braun, caffeine itself doesn’t perk you up, it just blocks the receptors that make you feel sleepy, giving other happy chemicals like dopamine free reign to work their magic for awhile. Unfortunately, within a week of regular caffeine consumption, humans become tolerant of their daily dose(s) to the point where they don’t feel it anymore. To restore caffeine to a functional role in your energy management repertoire, you need to “dry out” for at least several days between each use (or long enough the headaches, fatigue, irritability and other nasty symptoms that us caffeine junkies experience) in order to be able to use caffeine more strategically for energy enhancement in your real times of need.

The above three tips can do wonders for ramping up your physi- cal energy, but equally, if not more important, is paying some attention to your mental, emotional and spiritual energy. Next month I am going to focus on some tips to ease a heavy heart and close your integrity gaps that will really ramp up your enthusiasm for life and work.

Andrea Jacques, founder of Kyosei Consulting International, has spent more than 20 years developing the potential of individuals and organizations worldwide. Five of these years were spent in Japan where the core philosophies of her work on the relationship between passion, performance and profits took shape.  A dynamic speaker, coach, and facilitator, her work integrates leading eastern and western thought with top-tier leadership, engagement, wellness and sustainability consulting to build the capacity of people and business to thrive. Her clients represent a diverse cross-section of industries including banking, retail, government, insurance, academia and high-tech. She can be contacted through her website at www.kyoseicoaching.com

About Andrea Jacques

Andrea Jacques is the founder of Kyosei Consulting and the author of Wabi-Sabi Wisdom: Inspiration for an Authentic Life (available on Amazon.com). She has spent more than 20 years developing the potential of people and businesses worldwide, five of which were in Japan. A dynamic speaker, coach, and facilitator, her work helps individuals and organizations build thriving, purpose-driven cultures where employees know their work truly matters. Learn about career and entrepreneur coaching programs (and download some free tools for meaningful work and living your purpose) at www.kyoseicoaching.com or their workplace transformation programs at www.kyoseiconsulting.com