1. Laugh Out Loud
Every time you giggle, chortle, or chuckle, your brain releases endorphins. "These feel-good chemicals flood your brain -- helping you feel awake and refreshed," says Michael Miller, M.D., director of the Center for Preventive Cardiology at the University of Maryland Medical Center, in Baltimore. "They also boost your immune system, ward off heart disease, and actually reduce your risk of depression." Need a quick laugh? Check out the hilarious (and totally fake) news stories at www.theonion.com, or sign up at www.thedailydose.com to get a G-rated joke e-mailed to you each day.
2. Bust a Move
Exercise helps increase your circulation, relieves muscle tension (which can wear you down physically), and causes your brain to release endorphins. That's not all -- it also helps you take in more oxygen and fires up your metabolism. While you should aim for a 30-minute workout several days a week, try for five or ten minutes anytime you need energy. Here are seven quick pick-me-ups.
1. March in place
2. Jump rope
3. Power walk
4. Climb stairs
5. Run around the yard with your kids
6. Do lunges and squats
7. Dance with your baby in your arms
3. Use a Little Pressure
"Massage stimulates your nerve endings, which increases blood flow and gets your circulation pumping," explains Maureen Moon, past president of the American Massage Therapy Association. Try any of these easy, do-it-yourself moves.
1. Using your fingertips, rub your scalp or temples in a gentle, circular motion for two minutes.
2. Vigorously rub each earlobe between your thumb and forefinger for one minute.
3. Place your forefingers behind your ears (where the base of your skull meets the top of your neck), press for ten seconds, release, and repeat.
4. Sniff Stuff
Feeling sluggish? Get a whiff of this: Certain scents may increase your attention span and help you focus. To recharge fast, inhale deeply as you cut into or squeeze a lemon, lime, orange, or grapefruit. If you're in the mood for something more exotic, try breaking off a fresh leaf of mint or rosemary, or sipping a cup of peppermint tea -- these aromas can also invigorate the senses.
5. Drink Up
Surprise -- the most common reason people feel tired is because they're dehydrated. Why? The less water there is in your system, the less oxygen is circulating in your bloodstream. The cure: Drink eight glasses of water throughout the day -- or chug a glass of the refreshing stuff whenever your energy lags.
6. Try Tai Chi
This ancient art form is a great way to clear your mind, rev up your circulation, and calm your spirit. Susan Gold, a practitioner at Wholistic Health & Healing, in Bonita, California, recommends this super-easy move called "The Beginning."
Standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, back straight, and eyes gazing forward, rest your arms at your sides. Keeping relaxed -- and breathing normally throughout -- slowly raise your arms out in front of you, letting your wrists and fingers hang limply. As your wrists reach shoulder height, slowly extend your fingers as you bend your elbows and draw your arms back towards your body, with wrists at shoulder height. Lower your arms until they again rest comfortably at your sides. Repeat five times.