Get high on nature. Walking through a forest feels better than sitting at a desk.
Duh. That’s a no-brainer.
But now experts around the world are gathering hard, scientific evidence for what we all know innately: exposure to nature has a powerful influence on the brain.
“There isn’t a single study that proves beyond question that nature is good for the brain, but rather it is the combination of all the studies,” says Dr. Alan Logan, co-author of a new book called Your Brain on Nature.
“Take nature breaks and power down the smartphone.” Logan is a graduate of the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine and now lives in Connecticut.
His co-author is Dr. Eva Selhub, a Harvard Medical School physician.
Japanese studies were among the first to show that immersing oneself in green space, or “forest bathing,” has a positive effect on stress and immunity.
Emerging studies show time spent in forests or urban parks also leads to enhanced cognitive focus and positive mental outlook, says Logan.
Why? It is partly related to chemicals released from trees called phytoncides, which have been linked to improved immunity, and partly because of invisible negative ions found near water and forests; they have been linked to brighter mental outlook.
Logan and Selhub are speaking at the Green Living Show, Direct Energy Centre in Toronto, Saturday April 14 at 2 p.m., on the main stage.
Can’t get outside?
- Decorating. Bring the outdoors in. When decorating your home, use natural wood, but not too much of it. Studies show the ideal amount is 30 per cent to 40 per cent of the surface area. Potted plants are great; the ideal number in an office is four.