4 Surprising Energy Zappers

Don't let any of the following cause your lethargy:

1. Too much time in an urban environment.

You may love the city for its excitement. Yet researchers have determined that a dearth of nature can be draining. A University of Michigan study found that subjects who walked in a local park scored better on cognitive functioning tests afterward than those who strolled through a small city's downtown. The scientists say that natural environments are restorative while urban ones offer stimuli so distracting it's draining.

If you spend a lot of time in a city, try to escape on weekends. Or spend your lunch hour in a park that offers scenery other than skyscrapers.

2. Clutter.

More than a mere annoyance, clutter can actually make you tired. This is the case when you can't summon up the patience to organize that closet or desk. Stressing out over our clutter can sap your energy even if you don't didn't do anything to remedy the situation.

Eventually, the disorganization becomes so overwhelming that instead of it being energizing, you fall into a slump. One solution is to hire a professional organizer. It may take just a single session with a professional to clear up a problem area, relieving our stress, and renewing your energy.

3. Dehydration.

Not drinking enough not only leads to dry skin and thirst, it can also make you feel exhausted. Why? Your body needs fluids in order to perform at its peak. Nerves, muscles, cells, and organs rely on water.

Intense exercise causes profuse sweating, but even moderate or mild exercise leads to fluid depletion that you might not even notice. Whether you're running a race or simply doing errands, keep a water bottle handy and drink at regular intervals.

4. Too many choices.

New research suggests that an overload of choices can drain you rather than spark energy. In a series of experiments led by a University of Minnesota professor, students who were asked to make choices about products or college courses and then were given a series of unpleasant tasks. They performed significantly worse than students presented with the same options but who were not asked to make a choice.

The researchers also approached mall shoppers and asked them how many choices they had made that day, then had them perform easy but labor-intensive math problems. The shoppers who indicated that they had made many choices did not do as well on the math problems as shoppers who had not made many choices.

It's not always possible, but try to simplify your life and your choices. Shop at smaller stores that offer a few high-quality brands instead of warehouse giants. Or ask your human resources manager for her opinion on the two best healthcare plans instead of presenting you with six options. Winnow your TV channels down to the handful you actually watch instead of paying for hundreds of cable channels.




Vohs K D, Baumeister R F, Schmeichel B J, Twenge J M, Nelson N M, Tice D M (2008), Making Choices Impairs Subsequent Self-Control: A Limited-Resource Account of Decision Making, Self-Regulation, and Active Initiave. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 94(5), 883-898

Berman M G, Jonides J, Kaplan S (2008) The Cognitive Benefits of Interacting With Nature, Psychological Sciences, 19(12), 1207-1212

Mayo Clinic

The New York Times