Maybe it's the extreme summer heat combined with American anxiety over the economic recession and the congressional stalemate in dealing with it, but everyone seems fatigued. During a recent seven-day period, I counted 22 people who said things such as "I'm tired," "I'm weary" or "I'm stressed out." The age range of these people was 18 to 82 years.
How do we learn to re-energize ourselves? One of the first steps is to be sure fatigue is not the result of illness, so we need regular physical checkups. In addition, we need plenty of rest and must give up the favorite American activity of burning the candle at both ends.
Beyond that, there are simple steps to increase our energy. First, as strange as it may seem, exercise counteracts fatigue. The last thing I want to do when I'm weary is physical exercise. Yet, a brisk walk or 30 minutes in the pool can make me feel like a new person. Also, remember that tired thoughts result in tired bodies. Negative, unhappy, gloomy thoughts cause vitality to disappear. When St. Paul told us to think about things that are true, honest, pure, lovely and of good report (Philippians 4:8), he gave us a formula for vitality.
Third, have a purpose, a mission, a dream. Do you remember, as a child, how excited you were on the night before you left for vacation? You could hardly sleep and awakened early to bounce out of bed.
Fourth, being disorganized can overwhelm us and keep us tired. When we feel in control of a situation, we feel strong and energy surges forth. Don't procrastinate. Dreading something takes more energy than doing it.
Fifth, stay close to energetic people. When we are with complaining, negative people, we find energy draining out of us. Once when I was in the hospital, a negative worrier came to visit. Though I appreciated her driving across town to visit me, it took hours to regain my strength after her energy-draining conversation. On the other hand, positive, enthusiastic, faith-filled people motivate and energize us.
Finally, set aside regular periods to regenerate the energy supply. We can do this through corporate worship and daily times of quiet, Bible reading and prayer. Isaiah 30:15 tells us, "In quietness and confidence shall be your strength."
Researchers from Duke University Medical Center reported in the book "Aging and God" that faith not only re-energizes us but also helps us to live longer and better. They discovered that people of faith who attend church frequently have lower blood pressure and fewer strokes, lower rates of depression, anxiety and alcoholism, higher life satisfaction, and they adapt better to the rigors of illness and disabilities.
Gen. Douglas MacArthur once gave his secret to the Fountain of Youth: "In every heart is a central recording chamber. As long as it records hope, courage and faith, you will be young. Messages of pessimism and cynicism will make you old." Learn to re-energize yourself.
Nell Mohney is a Christian author, motivational speaker and seminar leader. She may be reached at nell firstname.lastname@example.org.