ANINERGY

365 ways to energize – a daily companion to living with health, purpose, and joy


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Taking off on too much coffee

DAy 151The mystery of indulgence

For those of you who have followed me for a while; you know that I took a sabbatical from any stimulants such as coffee, tea with caffeine and alcohol for two weeks.

It was – surprisingly – not hard to take this break and it did me really well. I noticed a shift in my sense of inner calmness, and I enjoyed my own company feeling wholesome. My energy level was good, despite not having any stimulants.

I reintroduced the stimulants again a week ago and have chosen to consume smaller doses of tea and alcohol to maintain the calm sensation. I normally do not drink much coffee as it often makes me a bit too wired.

I woke up feeling very tired from lack of sleep and since I had an unusually hectic program today with several meetings among them one long four-hour meeting as well as close to five-hours of driving, plus some important and pressing decisions to make, I felt inclined to have a cup of coffee to get me started. It did me well, so I went for another cup very shortly thereafter. When that cup also felt ok, I even went for a third cup after lunch and I can tell you, that this was not a very good idea. To drink that much coffee – for someone like me who only drink coffee from time to time, it meant going into a spin that felt horrible.

What was I thinking? Well, that’s it. I wasn’t really thinking. Was I avoiding something? Perhaps… It is known that pain lies at the bottom of any addiction, and that self-indulgence goes hand in hand with addiction. Was I hoping for a different outcome than what I was used to having in the past…? Isn’t that the sign of insanity, to make the same mistake all over again expecting a different outcome, according to Einstein? As I took the third cup I knew I was playing with fire, but I decided to go for it and deal with the consequences later.

Looking back at it now, I cannot understand what came over me. Why did I let myself loose connection with my body and mind and allow myself to indulge this way? What happened to my usual strong willpower?

When we do not get off to a good start in the morning or something challenging happens during the day, it can be easy to get off balance. If we don’t stop and connect with ourselves, but instead keep making wobbly steps, we will keep on going further off balance – instead of what we really need, which is to be gentle and kind to ourselves by bringing us back to balance and a state of wellbeing.

What effect does coffee and other stimulants have on you? Do you sometimes indulge instead of looking at your fear or pain?


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The weight of your thoughts

DAy 146One day quite soon, I believe that we will be able to measure the weight of our thoughts; the things we talk about and the impact it has on us.

Science is great at measuring the impact of unhealthy living habits, such as stress, eating unhealthy processed food, too much sugar, hydrogenic oils, smoking, drinking too much alcohol etc., but to my knowledge the impact of our thoughts and chosen words and it’s impact on our mental, emotional and physical wellbeing, has not yet been measured scientifically. I think that when scientific studies get publicized around this topic, then humanity will have a chance to make a leap in consciousness and human potential.

If people only knew how negative thinking, moaning and groaning and negative talk impact their energy and wellbeing, they would get scared, and begin to rethink and more carefully chose what thoughts and subjects that dwell in their mind.

I am convinced that negative thinking is as deadly for us as negative physical living habits. This could be negative thoughts about ourselves, our life situation, or about someone else.

Pay attention to your energy level next time you have a negative thought! Notice how light versus heavy you feel. Notice how powerful versus powerless you feel. Notice how happy and peaceful you feel as you are thinking those negative thoughts.

Heighten your awareness also around the things that you talk about with others, either directly to them or about others behind their backs. How light or heavy do your body and mind feel while and after having been critical and negative?


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PMS & PMDD

DAy 145Hormonal mood swings can turn a woman very emotional and, in some cases, into an angry bitch.

I have for the last few days been writing about relationships, intimacy and love, and yesterday’s blog was about being a bitch – which jeopardizes many relationships.

What I did not mention in yesterday’s blog was that many women suffer from PMS or even worse, Premenstrual dysphoric disorder, PMDD. Those with PMDD can experience dreadful mood swings, which can last for as long as up to two weeks per month – puh – as PMS can begin 10 days before a period and last a few days into the period.

Most women do feel that their mood changes with PMS. Many feel that it is not their fault if they turn into a mini bitch or even a super bitch during their PMS. It is true that women truly have to deal with tough challenges with their PMS and period every month, but is this ‘an OK excuse’ to act out and behave badly? Is it possible to be more in control of ones emotions? And is there something that can be done to ease the hormonal roller coaster?

First of all, there are things women can do to alter their life style that can have a major impact on their wellbeing. Exercising can help a lot, as well as finding out which type of food that nurtures them the best. For some, eating small portions of carbohydrates throughout the day can help. Also taking supplements of Vitamin B-6, magnesium and L-tryptophan may help. Some take birth-control pills to regulate their hormones and in more severe cases, prescription drugs might be needed.

I also think that mediation and mindfulness can help to bring an awareness of ones emotions and provide opportunities to make conscious choices in the emotional responses. A committed willingness to be our best self, and consciously think and be positive, instead of giving in to our immediate emotions and acting them out, both strengthens our character and can ease the mood swings.


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The magic formula to reduce conflicts with your partner

DAy 143Have you ever been in a long heated discussion with your spouse?

Sometimes this can last for a full day or more, and none of the two can get out of their fighting positions?

How do you get to peace, without hiding the issue under the carpet and pretending that nothing happened, and learn from the heated discussion, so it has not been a waste of energy?

During the day after the fight, both partners can have distance and perspective and see what was so sensitive from both sides. It is worth to take the time to discuss and learn. Then we are able to articulate calmly what we want from one another in the future, to avoid similar conflicts. We can set a follow up plan, where we will check in once a week to track our progress and give each other uplifting affirmations when we show that we have made improvements in our habits. If we slip, we can talk about it, and give feedback and assistance to see what else is needed in order to achieve the needed and agreed changes.

Most couples have “hot issues”, that will be triggered from time to time and cause continuous conflict if we do not talk about these thoroughly. For each time the issue is triggered, it will feel increasingly energy draining. After many years of struggling with the same issues, our body can revolt to a degree so that it feels almost an allergic like reaction. When our body speaks to us so strongly, it is a clear sign that we have to address the issue; otherwise it can even impact our health.

It is very effective to be in movement when we discuss an issue that is sensitive. Conflicts carry with them pretty heavy energy. It is easy to get stuck in destructive arguments of anger, which brings no resolution but further distance and low energy. To be in movement while talking with the aim to understand and be understood, frees the body and mind. Take a walk next time you have an important and possibly hot issue to discuss with your spouse.

My husband and I try making sure that when one person speaks, the other does not cut in before the point is finished. We have found this to be crucial to avoid escalating arguments. To be heard and understood relaxes our bodies and open our hearts and allow for re-connection and closeness.

Healthy marriages without any conflicts are rare. Experiencing conflicts from time to time are part of most intimate relationships. In order to be intimate we need to speak our mind. Sometimes when we do, it can lead to conflict, unless both individuals are good at listening, understanding, and negotiating calmly.

Most of us carry with us some sort of “baggage” from our upbringing as we enter a marriage or partnership. Some carry small, others carry big loads, from our childhood. We are often blind to see our own dysfunctional patterns, habits, and other peculiarities, because we have most likely been living under circumstances during our upbringing that brought about these habits and tendencies and we consider them normal.

Being in a good and constructive relationship where we help one another to grow can be the most effective way to heal our childhood wounds and stop unhealthy habits and patterns. If we look at conflicts this way, as an opportunity to grow, we might become less conflict averse and take the time to do the work of listening and speaking and arriving to a resolution – “to a peace with progress”.


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Ways to produce natural high energy

Day 130What does a life without stimulants feel like?

How much energy do we create through our activities (exercising, sleeping, things we love, time with friends etc), and how much energy is derived from what we eat and drink, such as healthy nutritious food vs. sweets, chocolate, coffee, tea, soft drinks and alcohol?

I am about to find out for myself how much energy I produce naturally, from just eating and living healthy, as I am today beginning a two-week ‘stimulant break ’.

I used to love drinking a couple of cappuccinos each day, before I became aware that caffeine was making me feel jittery. When I later made the connection, I exchanged caffeine for tea and mostly green tea, which is rich in antioxidants and have several other benefits.

At first, exchanging coffee for tea made a huge impact on my inner sense of calm and wellbeing, but this was until I became a heavy tea drinker…. Green tea also contains caffeine and little did I know that I consumed so much tea that it had a negative effect on my adrenals, which got triggered too often – and this rubbed my overall hormonal balance.

During May of last year, I decided to give myself a little cleanse by taking a couple of weeks break from black and green tea, plus coffee and alcohol and anything containing sugar, so no fruit, no white starches, no chocolate etc.

It was an interesting experience. I very much enjoyed challenging myself by being disciplined, and I was curious about the possible effect it would have on me.

What I learned about myself was important and not at all what I had expected. I realized that the main reason why I often woke up very early in the morning, around 4am, was my tea and sometimes coffee intake during the day – not that I went to bed too early or was thinking or worrying too much. I was positively surprised that one of the benefits of taking a break from these stimulants was that I would sleep sound throughout the night. It was a huge blessing for me.

I was so happy being able to sleep like a baby again so I extended the brake from tea and coffee and continued drinking herbal teas for months. I slowly got back into drinking green and black tea after several months and then less strong and fewer cups.

A year has gone by since my first experiment and I feel inclined to do one again. Springtime is a good time to do a little cleanse.

I am looking forward to a good night with deep sleep and feeling naturally refreshed in the morning.


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One thing I love thanks to my father

Day 121I value freedom highly, and I think this value was born in the Norwegian mountains – above the tree line.

I had the great fortune to grow up in Norway with a father that took me into the wild from the time I was born. His love for nature, and his passion for cross-country skiing and hiking in the wild above the tree line, captured my heart from an early age.

You can feel a huge sense of liberty and freedom cross-country skiing above the tree line with hardly any people in sight. Today, I had the fortune to experience this together with my father, 79 years old and still strong as a youngster.

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These mountains bring about a sense of freedom and peace like nothing else. It is pure euphoria to ski into the wild, with complete stillness all around.

During this time of the year, the snow is hard enough to walk on without going through. We are free to create our own tracks and go anywhere we like. If there is a little bit of fresh snow on top of the hard snow, which is the ultimate and what we had today, the skiing both uphill and downhill becomes a particularly velvety ecstatic experience.

Since I have lived abroad for the past thirty years, I do not have the opportunity to revisit this scenery as often as I would like.I feel incredibly grateful and happy for having shared this moment with my dear father. It will be captured in my heart as a peak moment forever.

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It is healing to heart, body and soul to re-connect to our roots and to engage in our favorite childhood activities. I imagine, or at least wish, that we all have childhood experiences, which bring about great memories and when revisiting them we feel completely at home and perhaps even at peace.


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Adding spice to your life…

Day 108Are you alive and having fun?

To find the balance between certainty and ambiguity in our lives can make the difference between feeling dull or alive. Most of us enjoy the certainty that daily routines bring. Yet, a life without ambiguity and surprises often becomes boring. Perhaps we cannot place a finger on it, but our lives seem to be without spark and zest when one day goes into the next, as we get up the same time in the morning, eat the same breakfast, take the same road to work, perform similar activities and go back home at night to watch the same programs on TV.

I know I am not alone in having a need to experience the sparkle that variety brings. I consciously try to spice up my life by adding something new. It might be as simple as walking or running a new path, meeting new people, traveling to new places, listening to new music, reading books, and learning something new -all these things add zest to my life.

One real expert at living on the edge and with plenty of ambiguity – both trying new things and pushing his and perhaps other people’s limits – is Håkan Roos, who just hosted a surprise party for his friends in honor of his own birthday (not the other way around). All we knew was that we needed to show up at the airport early Saturday morning and that we would not be back before late Sunday evening. All we did for the rest of that weekend was outside our plans, routines, ordinary lives or traditional birthday parties. We landed in Marrakesh and experienced some magic days that we will never forget.

Håkan is creative, bold and wild, which keeps him young in body and heart.

His recipe to add spice to his life is being curious to try new things, bold enough to make decisions, and implement those decisions, not worrying about problems or negative outcomes, and fixing the issues as they come, as well as not regret the mistakes and the dead ends that he inevitably sometimes will face.

We don’t have to be crazy, or wild and go off on dangerous limbs to add spice to our lives, but by deciding to add more variety and have the courage to brake our routines and welcoming ambiguity, I’m sure our lives will bring much more excitement and energy.