Focus for January is boosting your energy

In December, I mentioned the book, “The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun.”
In this book, author Gretchen Rubin details her one-year Happiness Project and in 12 chapters (one for each month) invites us to go through the same process with her.
I, for one, am going to follow her lead—and I invite you to do the same!
In the month of January, Rubin focuses on boosting energy and enhancing vitality.
The definition of vitality is “liveliness: abundant physical and mental energy combined with a wholehearted and joyous approach to situations and activities,” which also seems like a great definition of happiness.
Rubin decided to tackle both the physical and mental aspects of energy using three primary tools: sleep, exercise, and clutter clearing.
We all know that sleep and exercise are important for health. ?
?But did you know that they are equally important for creating happiness?
Millions of people are sleep-deprived, according to Rubin. She references one study that suggests getting an extra hour of sleep each night would do more for a person’s daily happiness than getting a $60,000 raise.
If you have trouble falling asleep, she has these suggestions: make sure your bedroom is dark (especially watch out for glowing lights on electronics); get ready for bed well before bedtime; and keep your bedroom slightly chilly but make sure your feet are warm.
Although everyone knows exercise is important, a recent study showed that 25 percent of Americans don’t get any exercise at all.
In this study, persistently tired people boosted their energy over a six-week period just by exercising just 20 minutes a day three days a week.
Even a quick 10-minute walk provides an immediate energy boost and improves mood. And walking has an added benefit–it helps you think.
“Nietzsche wrote, ‘All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking.’ His observation is backed up by science; exercise-induced brain chemicals help people think clearly.
“In fact, just stepping outside clarifies thinking and boosts energy,” writes Rubin.
Before her Happiness Project, Rubin found that household disorder was a constant drain on her energy. She decided to start by organizing her clothes closet and was astonished by the charge of energy she got from creating order.
“I no longer felt drained; instead, I felt exhilarated. Having cleared some space, I craved more.”
As she shared her de-cluttering enthusiasm with friends, Rubin learned another technique–always keep one shelf bare.
“I was struck by the poetry of this resolution. An empty shelf! An empty shelf meant possibility; space to expand.”
Rubin’s final energy-boosting tip is to simply act more energetic. If you act listless, you lose energy. But if you put a spring in your step and zest in your voice, your energy increases.
So this January, increase your vitality by getting plenty of sleep, exercising, and organizing. And if all else fails, just act energetic!
Why not buy Rubin’s motivational book, or borrow it from the library and read more as we begin our year of growing happier together?
Marie Snider is an award-winning health care writer and syndicated columnist. Write her at or visit

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