From energy-boosting supplements to “power” drinks and espresso shots, sales are booming for high-tech, quick fixes for those feeling depleted by their hectic, rush-hour lifestyles. That much is clear to Constance Grauds, RPh, coauthor of The Energy Prescription (Bantam Dell, 2005). Grauds doled out prescriptions for 25 years as a pharmacist before a life change that brought her to the Peruvian Amazon jungle, where she apprenticed with a shaman for a decade. Her accessible book interweaves personal anecdotes with simple lifestyle tips on how to increase and preserve personal energy. Throughout, Grauds shifts easily between disciplines, presenting traditional wisdom, then backing it up with scientific research.

In our stressful rush, she argues, we’ve become disconnected from nature and alienated from our natural or “indigenous” selves that intuitively know what we need. As a result, we tend to ignore the basics, from breathing fully and drinking enough water to showing compassion. Chronic underoxygenation, dehydration, and sedentary habits not only contribute to heart disease and cancer, she says, but they are also behind common complaints such as fatigue, insomnia, depression, anxiety, and weight gain. The answer is not fitness fanaticism or compulsive dieting, she says, but a conscious shift to mind-body awareness.

The eight gateways to energy

  1. Practice relaxation techniques for five minutes every morning.
  2. Breathe deeply, through your nose.
  3. Drink at least eight glasses of water, spaced throughout the day.
  4. Savor your food. Become aware of using food to suppress painful feelings like anxiety or loneliness, or as a substitute for unmet needs.
  5. As you exercise, visualize yourself as you wish to become.
  6. Get out in nature, even just lie down in the grass, and pay attention to what you feel.
  7. Be fully present in your relationships.
  8. Practice altruism, be it tending to a garden or a pet or helping others.

Source: The Energy Prescription by Constance Grauds, RPh, and Doug Childers (Bantam Dell, 2005).