5 Reasons to Head to the Trees
Science tells us that to improve our health, we should spend time outside. So writing this article from the comfort of a hammock on a sunny 80-degree day not only sounds delightful, it turns out science says this will be a better read because of it.
Think Creatively And Insightfully
Does being outside get our creative juices flowing or is it the fact that we’re unplugged from our ever-present phones that gives our brains time to reset? Studies haven’t been able to differentiate between the two yet. Either way, getting yourself immersed in nature (and turning off your phone) is a guaranteed way to clear your head and give yourself time to think creatively regarding problems whose solution has evaded you.
Researchers created an experiment that sought to deplete participants’ ability to focus. They broke the participants off into three groups: some took a walk in nature, some took a walk through the city, and the rest just relaxed. Upon their return, the nature group scored the best on a proofreading task. So if you have a big mental task ahead of you, science shows that you may want to procrastinate a bit and take a nice hike through nature.
Inflammation is your body’s natural reaction to damage and pathogens. However, it can go into overdrive causing autoimmune disorders, irritable bowel syndrome, and types of cancers. One recent study looked at two groups of college students; one group spent time in the forest and the other group in the city. Interestingly enough, the group that had spent time in the city showed signs of inflammation.
As anyone addicted to “Treehouse Masters” on Animal Planet knows, Pete Nelson, the host, often exclaims, “To the trees!” Studies show that people who spent two nights in the forest lowered levels of cortisol, a hormone that is used as a marker for stress, more than those who spent the same amount of time in the city. Stressful states can actually be relieved by forest therapy. Even a view of nature out a window has been associated with lower stress and higher job satisfaction for office workers.
Improve Short-Term Memory
In another study, college students were given a simple memory test, then were divided into two groups. The first group took a walk around an arboretum, while the other walked through a downtown urban area. Upon their return, the students who walked among the trees scored almost 20% better than they did the first time. The group who walked around the city saw no improvement.