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Better Than Coffee? Natural Energy Booster

Better Than Coffee? Natural Energy Booster

One more on the myriad benefits of the simple joy of getting out in nature: A series of studies published in the latest issue of the Journal of Environmental Psychology shows that just being out in nature makes people feel more alive, and creates a sense of increased vitality beyond just the ordinary effect of increased physical activity and social interaction.

To separate out the effect of being in nature from other factors which may have been boosting that sense of vitality, the researchers did five different experiments where participants were led through walks through indoor hallways and tree-lined paths, were shown photographs of buildings and natural landscapes, were asked to document their lives in a variety of social, indoor, and outdoor contexts.

Across all methodologies, individuals consistently felt more energetic when they spent time in natural settings or imagined themselves in such situations. The findings were particularly robust, notes [study lead author Richard Ryan, a professor of psychology at the University of Rochester]; being outside in nature for just 20 minutes in a day was enough to significantly boost vitality levels. Interestingly, in the last study, the presence of nature had an independent energizing effect above that of being outdoors. In other words, conclude the authors, being outdoors was vitalizing in large part because of the presence of nature.

Ryan went on to say, “Nature is fuel for the soul. Often when we feel depleted we reach for a cup of coffee, but research suggests a better way to get energized is to connect with nature.”

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Read more: Health, Nature,

By Matt McDermott, Planet Green

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Megan, selected from Planet Green

Planet Green is the multi-platform media destination devoted to the environment and dedicated to helping people understand how humans impact the planet and how to live a more environmentally sustainable lifestyle. Its two robust websites, and, offer original, inspiring, and entertaining content related to how we can evolve to live a better, brighter future. Planet Green is a division of Discovery Communications.


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4:34AM PST on Nov 27, 2014

Megan I have read a number of your articles now.They are really good. I think I need you to be my doctor.What you say makes a lot of sense. When I feel tired and run down and go outside to cut the grass and come back in I feel a lot better.Thanks for sharing.

10:33AM PDT on Oct 21, 2014

Nature is the home for our souls) Thank you for sharing

4:23AM PDT on Jul 2, 2013

One of the benefits to being a dog owner is taking her out on walks in the countryside. Plenty of fresh air, stunning scenery and a loyal and much loved companion - doesn't get any better than that!

1:42PM PDT on May 29, 2013

I encourage everyone to agree and abide by Ryan's research, so I get to drink the world's supply of coffee all by myself... thanks.

2:41AM PDT on May 22, 2013

Thank you :)

12:24PM PDT on Mar 10, 2013

I think this is very true. The difference between how I feel in the summer and winter is noticeable. I try to get out for walks until temps reach below 25, but when the outside becomes a frozen tundra I stay inside with several cups of hot coffee :)

1:41AM PST on Mar 9, 2013


1:36AM PST on Mar 9, 2013

hard to enjoy nature when I'm basically chained to the desk at work...

2:39AM PST on Nov 4, 2012

How very true! Thanks for your insightes!

4:14AM PDT on Nov 2, 2012

Thank you.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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