4 Simple Things You Can Do to Boost Emotional Energy

Feeling drained? Surprisingly, it might be your spirit -- and not your body -- that needs a jolt. "Just as physical energy comes from diet, exercise and rest, emotional energy comes from the ways you take care of yourself emotionally -- living in a way that makes you feel inspired, hopeful, self-confident, playful, loving and in touch with what you care about most," says Mira Kirshenbaum, author of The Emotional Energy Factor: The Secrets High-Energy People Use to Beat Emotional Fatigue. Letting others walk all over you or failing to do things that make you happy zaps your emotional energy -- and can leave you feeling unmotivated and even physically tired. To avoid such weariness, here are Kirshenbaum's four tips for boosting your emotional energy:

1. Stop living to please other people. In other words, marry the charming social worker whom you love instead of the rich doctor mom is pushing on you. Move to Europe if it will make you happy, even if your girlfriends are making you feel guilty about putting distance between you. Say no when someone asks you to do something you really don't want to do. Be who you want to be, do what you want to do and the rewards will be plentiful, says Kirshenbaum. "When you live your life for other people, you put out the effort, but they get the benefit," she adds. "This creates an energy drain, just the way it would if you did the work on a job and someone else got the paycheck." You'll free up energy you didn't even know you had once you quit worrying about what mom, your friends and other family members think about your decisions.

2. Bring positive people into your world. You need to surround yourself with people who care about and support you even in your darkest hours. Avoid those who nag, complain or involve you in their problems, says Kirshenbaum. Toxic people, who put you down to lift their own spirits, suck the life right out of you. Spending more time with those who make you feel good about yourself or inspire you in some way will revive you. Maybe it's time to start ignoring your so-called friend who leaves messages on your machine only when she needs help with something.

3. Always have something big and new on your agenda. Plan that next vacation or start writing that novel you have in your head. Looking forward to milestones and events stimulates people. It gives you a reason to get out of bed in the morning, and that increases your desire to work toward your goals. "You gain energy from the hopes you have for your future? making your present feel more manageable, and that, too, frees up emotional energy," says Kirshenbaum. Actually putting the wheels in motion (for example, calling the travel agent, writing the outline for the book) will also make you feel better -- and excited to keep it up.

4. Never live in the past. Quit dwelling on what might have happened with that old boyfriend if you had just stayed together, why you quit one job in favor of another, what would have been if you made different decisions. Instead, focus on the here and now and what you need to do to move forward. Do you want to go back to school? Find a husband? Change careers? Be more adventurous? Put the spark back in your romance? "You are in charge of the meaning in your life," Kirshenbaum writes in her book. Although you can't predict everything that will happen to you, you can make a flexible plan to accomplish your goals. Things like your career path, relationships in which you'd like to invest and how you would like to spend your free time are all under your control. You can decide your own destiny, an important task that will be much easier now that you have more energy.

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