As you may well know by now, I am an advocate for outdoor and nature education. Luckily, we are starting to study the benefits of nature and legislators are beginning to show support for outdoor education and play in schools. But, we still have a long way to go.
Not only does nature benefit our bodies, but it also boosts our brains. Nature is quite universal. It helps both children and adults, young and old.
Neuroscientist David Strayer has researched the psychological and cognitive effects of nature and the outdoors. He has discovered and shared that the effects of the outdoors and nature enhances “higher-order thinking, restores attention and boosts creativity.” In a study that Strayer did in 2012, he found that “backpackers were 50% more creative after they had spent four days out on the trail.” This is huge when we look at all the tests that school children are subjected to during any given year. If we give them that time outdoors, where they also learn by the way, they can be even more successful.
(Check out the entire article here.)
That being said, I am not proposing that success in school is the “be-all, end-all”. What I am saying is that time spent in nature can help refresh our minds and boost our creativity. It doesn’t have to be four days. Even 20 minutes outside can be beneficial. Another study co-authored by David Strayer reports that nature can help restore attention span, problem solving and multi-tasking. Not only do these skills help in an educational setting, but in a real life setting as well.
(See more here.)
So, even if you don’t live in a nature-infused area like Colorado or Alaska, you can find a piece of nature anywhere. I find that simply taking a stroll around my workplace parking lot boosts my mood and relaxes any tension I have.
As my slogan says, Think Outside!
**Pictures were taken at Arches National Park, Utah and at Hanging Lake in Colorado. I highly recommend both places!
Check out even more cool stuff here! http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2016/01/call-to-wild-text