Confused, Fatigued? Take a Walk in the Country, not the Wild Side

Psychologists Marc G. Berman, John Jonides, and Stephen Kaplan from the University of Michigan have conducted a study looking at how being in country or city environments affect memory and attention. The results confirmed that being in nature led to better results on tests of memory and attention, than being in the city. The authors believe that the complex and incongruent stimulation experienced in the city, requires higher levels of mental energy to digest and that this, in turn, interferes with memory and attention. In contrast, being in nature offers a more coherent and relaxing environment. Exposure to the natural environment, they found, leads to improved memory and concentration – essential elements for learning.

So, the study indicates that reduced levels of stress help you learn. By implication, it also suggests that being in nature reduces stress levels. There is a long history of people looking to nature to cure ills. Humans appear to be have an intuitive sense that nature can heal. There are several examples in my own life where people I’ve know have asked to be taken out to the country to relieve physical or emotional pain. What have your experiences been with respect to this?

You can read more about the study here.

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