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« Chinese Herbal Medicine for Endometriosis | Main | Earth-Friendly Tips »
Tuesday
Oct132009

Go Play Outside, Really!

Lost your focus? Do what Mom advised: Go play outside!

Specifically, go walk in nature, rather than a city. An experiment published in the journal Psychological Science gave volunteers memory and attention tests, then sent them out on a walk. Sometimes there were told to ambulate in the university’s urban home of Ann Arbor. Other times, they were instructed to walk through a nearby arboretum.

When participants returned from the nature walk, they showed a 20 percent improvement in the tests, but they showed no improvement when they returned from the urban walks.

This makes perfect sense. Our brains evolved in natural, low-noise, low-visual-contrast wilderness settings; not the relentless high-stimulation environments of our offices, technology-stuffed homes, or urban cityscapes. It is only natural that we shut down our ability to focus and take in stimuli in assaultive environments, and, conversely, replenish our ability to "open up" and focus in nature. So tell your boss - if he or she wants you to be more productive, you need to take a walk. Better yet, invite the boss to come along!

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