Like our muscles, healthy brains require stimulation and rest. In our hyper-connected world, stimulation is easy to come by. The more time we spend indoors and online, the less opportunity we have to get outside and properly recharge our batteries.
"Scientists are beginning to find evidence that being in nature has a profound impact on our brains and our behavior, helping us to reduce anxiety, brooding, and stress, and increase our attention capacity, creativity, and our ability to connect with other people," according to Berkeley’s Jill Suttie.
A recent Japanese study measured the heart rate and blood pressure of participants as half walked in forests and others walked in a city. After two days of regular walks, forest participants reported elevated moods and reduced stress. Their heart rates were also significantly lower than those walking in the city! "Forest bathing" is now a big trend among Japanese urbanites.
Dropping everything and communing with nature is easier said than done—especially in the winter months. While we wait patiently for spring to arrive (32 days and counting!) take baby steps by putting the electronics down at night and visiting your local aquarium, museum or science center!
Do you have a favorite park or natural spot? Tell us about it in the comments!