Call Your Mom (or Another Loved One) for a Quick Energy Boost
Want a quick boost of energy to help you get through the day? Sure, a cup of coffee will give you a jolt of caffeine, but some preliminary research indicates that a chat with someone you love may offer just as much of an energy boost, if not more. Essentially: Pick up the phone and call your mother.
Obviously if your relationship with your family is complicated, this may not be the best course of action for you and you'll come out feeling more drained than anything else, but the researchers involved, Janet Nikolovski and Jack Groppel, recently published a white paper on the concept of "microbursts," or small things you can do to give yourself a quick jolt of energy-something that can carry you through the day.
Physical activity is definitely one of them, so you should definitely make sure you exercise
The most fascinating part of their work, though, is their finding that physical activity isn't the only thing that boosts energy. Interacting with people is also energizing, though it has to be the right people. "Talking to a coworker wasn't nearly as energizing as talking to a loved one," Nikolovski says. They plotted various energy boosters on a 1-10 point scale and compared these to the default energy booster: coffee. "When you go to reach for energy, you reach for caffeine," Nikolovski says. People who'd had a coffee in the 30 minutes before reporting their energy levels scored a 6.8. People who'd talked to a loved one? They scored around 7 on the 1-10 point scale.
In other words, if you need a pick-me-up at work, calling a loved one is better than an espresso.
To be fair, the research is definitely preliminary, and the white paper hasn't appeared in a peer reviewed journal, but anecdotally I think most people can recall a time when they had a chat with someone they cared about and came away feeling good afterward. If the worst the suggestion can do is encourage you to stay in better touch with people you love, with the risk that you'll feel better for having done it, it's worth a shot.
Photo by Yana Lyandres.