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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By Matt McDermott, Planet Green

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Susan R.
.about a year ago

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.

Julia Oleynik
Julia Oleynikabout a year ago

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

Rosie McMillan
Rosie McMillan2 years ago

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!

Darren Woolsey
Darren Woolsey2 years ago

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.

Elena T.
Elena Poensgen2 years ago

Thank you :)

Jennifer L.
Jennifer L.2 years ago

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 :)

Val M.
Val M.2 years ago


Ewelina Grobelna
Ewelina Grobelna2 years ago

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

Lynn D.
Lynn D.3 years ago

How very true! Thanks for your insightes!

Viki V.
Viki A.3 years ago

Thank you.