Want To Dial Up Your Energy?

An Interview with Emiliya Zhivotovskaya

Do you wish you had more energy? Just imagine what you could get done, who you could connect with, and how you could spend more time just being if you just felt you had a little more vitality? Oh, the places you could go!

Our energy is one of our most precious commodities when it comes to flourishing at work and in life. With it we can take on the world, but without enough of it we wind up disappointed, fed up and stuck as we struggle to realize our own potential.

So what can we do to dial up our vitality?

“Our ability to thrive isn’t just the work of the mind,” explained professional coach and founder of the Flourishing Center, Emiliya Zhivotovskaya when I interviewed her recently. “It also essential that we have optimal physical health.”

While the mind-body connection for wellbeing may seem obvious to most of us, the reality is that many researchers continue to study the mind and the body as two separate systems. For example, when renowned Professor Martin Seligman proposed his PERMA theory of wellbeing he suggested that the presence of positive emotions, engagement, relationships, meaning and accomplishment were what determined our likelihood of flourishing. At the time, his belief was that if these psychological mechanisms were cultivated then physical health would follow.

While a growing body of evidence supports the physiological benefits that occur when we experience positive emotions or positive relationships, personally I’ve found paying attention to the physical hygiene factors of wellbeing — eating well, moving regularly and sleeping deeply — makes it much easier for me to consistently flourish. And it seems now Marty agrees.

“After graduating from the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, I sent Marty an email suggesting his theory of wellbeing was missing vitality,” said Emiliyia. “Marty emailed back a one word answer. No.”

“Undeterred I decided to incorporate vitality in my own workshops. So I created a model I call PERMA-V and started sharing evidence-based approaches for optimal eating, moving and sleeping,” she explained. “This fall I shared the research with Marty from my programs, and was delighted to hear him deliver a talk an hour later where he suggested PERMA-V should be the model we are all teaching when it comes to improving wellbeing.”

So what can you do to improve your vitality and help you to flourish?

Emiliya suggests trying these four bio-hacks to improve your wellbeing:

· Move Frequently — There’s more and more research that suggests sitting is the new smoking, so perhaps in a few years our chairs will come with health warnings that say if you sit on me for more than 25 minutes your brain functioning will start decreasing. You can get varied movement throughout the day by hacking your workstation — everything from standing desks to walking desks to little foot pedals that go underneath your desk — to help create micro-movements that counter sitting. Download a Pomodoro timer to remind you to move every twenty-five minutes.

· Look After Your Gut — Researchers have discovered that your gut is like your body’s second brain, and your ability to think positively and get into a curious, peak-performance state is directly related to the health of your gut. This is because your body is made up more of bacteria than human cells, meaning that vitality relies on maintaining a good balance and wide variety of healthy bacteria. Taking a probiotic and prebiotic, or eating probiotic and prebiotic foods, keeps your gut healthy. In consultation with your doctor, you may want to look for ways to add artichokes and garlic to your diet, eat kimchi, drink kombucha, or get the benefit of taking a prebiotic or probiotic supplement.

· Squat More — In modern society most of us have lost the strength in our legs to squat, but our ancestors relied on this primitive, primal movement to keep their legs strong, their backs healthy and their bowels clear. Next time you go to the toilet, try a Squatty Potty (you can buy one or use a small garbage can) by having something underneath your feet that lifts your knees up higher than your hips on at least a forty-five-degree angle. This puts your colon into its natural resting position so that moving your bowels is actually healthier for your body.

· Take A Nap — Sleep is the foundation of all vitality, as it allows your body to refuel. If in the middle of the day you find yourself crashing, take a nap. One NASA study found that a 26-minute nap improved people’s performance by 34 percent and alertness by 54 percent. A short nap can boost your mind, your ability to retain information and to be creative, in really powerful ways.

What can you do to improve your physical wellbeing today?

To learn more visit certificateinpositivepsychology.com.

This interview was produced in partnership with the Canadian Positive Psychology Association and the 3rd Canadian Conference on Positive Psychology. For more information please visit www.cppa.ca.

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