From ego depletion to vitality: Theory and findings concerning the facilitation of energy available to the self

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Vitality, or the energy available to the self, is a salient and functionally significant indicator of health and motivation. Previous models (e.g., Baumeister & Vohs, 2007) have suggested how such energy can be depleted but have focused less on how it can be maintained or enhanced. In this article, we describe a model of energy and vitality based on self-determination theory (Ryan & Deci, 2000). We review substantial evidence that, whereas the self-controlling regulation of behavior depletes vitality and energy, the autonomous self-regulation of behavior does not. A growing number of experimental and field studies also suggest that vitality and energy are enhanced by activities that satisfy basic psychological needs for relatedness, competence, and autonomy. Lifestyles focused on extrinsic goals are less conducive to need satisfaction and thus engender less vitality. We conclude that social psychological factors associated with need satisfaction have important implications for health and vitality and for informing interventions.


Institute for Positive Psychology and Education

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Journal Article

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