Want a quick boost of energy to help you get through the day? While a cup of coffee will give you a jolt of caffeine, but some new 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.
Photo by Yana Lyandres
The researchers involved, Janet Nikolovski, PhD and Jack Groppel PhD, recently published a white paper on the concept of "microbursts", or small things you can do to give yourself a quick jolt of energy to carry you through the day.
Physical activity is definitely one of them, so you should definitely make sure you exercise. However, interacting with people — most notably people you care about or love — is also energizing. Note however, for real results, you definitely have to interact with the right people:
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 still preliminary, and the white paper hasn't appeared in a peer-reviewed journal, but I think most people can recall a time when they had a chat with someone they cared about and came away feeling good afterward. It's worth a shot.