There’s absolutely nothing wrong with taking a day off and refusing to leave the sofa (aka: “Netflix and chill”). But if you’re consistently having days where it feels like your couch has wrapped its arms around you and refuses to let go, it may be time to look into some options that can boost energy and motivate you to get back into your regime.
Enter the beautiful world of herbs.
The herbs we’re diving into here have been used for centuries to help boost performance, energy levels, and focus – key ingredients in the pursuit of motivation. The great thing about many of these is that they target energy levels and stress as a whole, which is key because there isn’t really a “umbrella” cause of lack of motivation. While one person may feel unmotivated due to physically low energy levels, another may not feel like leaving the couch due to excess mental stress.
We’ll go through the top herbs to get you back on your feet, while also sharing some other motivation-boosting tips.
The Best Herbs to Boost Motivation, Focus, and Energy
1. Panax Ginseng
Ginseng has been used for thousands of years across Europe and the Far East for its ability to boost energy levels, help strengthen your body against the negative effects of stress, boost your immune system, and even help boost your mood. [*] It’s classified as an “adaptogen” herb, which means it helps your body respond to and better handle the effects of outer pressures and stress (which as we know, constant stress can not only strip our motivation, but also sap our energy levels).
Plenty of studies show that people taking ginseng experience a boost in mood, along with better mental performance and less mental fatigue. [*] [*] This makes ginseng great if you need a “kick in the brain” to get yourself into a motivated mindset, or are feeling groggy or foggy mentally.
Other research shows ginseng can reduce fatigue and enhance physical activity, which could translate into not only helping you get to the gym, but also get in a better workout. [*]
Ashwaganda is another adaptogen herb that is referred to as a “rejuvenator” in the ancient Indian traditional medicine system Ayurveda. It not only helps protect you against the negative effects of stress, but also acts as a natural stimulant when your energy levels are low. Interestingly, the the name ashwaganda translates to “giving the power of a horse” (kind of a motivation in and of itself to take some and get moving).
Research backs up this horsepower claim, showing ashwagandha helps improve cognition, exercise performance, and also helps stabilize mood. Also, it’s particularly great a reducing anxiety (studies show it’s as effective as prescription Lorazepam) and depression, which could help get you out of an emotionally unmotivated funk. [*]
3. Rhodiola Rosea
Rhodiola rosea has been used for centuries by northern European countries. Also called “artic root,” it’s known for strengthening the nervous system and giving energy levels a boost.
However, rhodiola may be one of your best choices for reducing both mental and physical fatigue. As we know, the last thing you want to do when feeling run down and tired is hop up and get in a session.
One study found people with chronic fatigue symptoms receiving 400 mg of rhodiola every day for eight weeks experienced significant improvements in stress, fatigue, concentration levels, mood, and quality of life. [*]
While technically a species of mushroom, definitely deserve a mention on this list. Plenty of research has shown these fungi help boost exercise performance by increasing ATP production. ATP is the energy our cells produce not only to provide energy to our bodies on a daily basis, but also to fuels our muscles during workouts.
Other studies show cordyceps can help your body use oxygen more efficiently, which could improve workouts and raise overall energy levels. [*] [*] They are also fantastic for reducing fatigue, especially when it comes to fatigue during and after exercise. [*] So if you’ve been feeling unmotivated to work out due to constantly feeling tired a few minutes in, these might be your new best friend.
Other notable herbs worth mentioning:
• Eleuthero. Another adaptogen herb that helps boost energy levels by regulating stress.
• Schisandra. Helps reduce anxiety while stimulating your body simultaneously.
• Maca root. Maca can help balance hormones, which could provide a boost in energy.
Other Tips To Boost Motivation
Sometimes, lack of motivation in any area of out lives, be it starting and sticking to a workout regime, starting a new diet, making a big career change, can’t be solved with a supplement. This is lack of motivation that has less to do with physical and mental energy and more to do with passion or drive. Feeling uninspired can be a major source of feeling unmotivated, which is why you might want to consider these additional tips if low energy or lack of focus isn’t the issue:
• Find your “why?”. Why do you want to make changes in your lifestyle? Is it for aesthetics (looking better) or for health? Really dive into and remind yourself of why you desire to make a change, and reflect on what your life would look like in 6 months if you started today.
• Get inspired. Think back to situations or places where you felt truly inspired to take action, and revisit those. Keep these sources of inspiration close and look at them often.
• Try something new. This is particularly useful if you’re unsure as to what inspires or motivates you. Try taking a new class, be it a workout class, a new gym, or even try something like a cooking or art class.
• Start journaling/keeping progress logs. Keeping a journal of your progress and goals can boost motivation not only as you’re writing down what you want, but also when you go back to read how far you’ve come. This gives you a personal account of accomplishment, and you, in essence, remind yourself that you CAN make progress.
• Check your hormones. If nothing is working for you and you feeling like lack of motivation and energy is becoming chronic, be sure to have your hormone levels tested. Correcting an imbalance may help turn things around.