We Are Wired to Be Outside
By: Florence Williams, National Geographic
"When we get closer to nature—be it untouched wilderness or a backyard tree—we do our overstressed brains a favor.... Our brains aren’t tireless three-pound machines; they’re easily fatigued. When we slow down, stop the busywork, and take in beautiful natural surroundings, not only do we feel restored, but our mental performance improves too."
"A large study found less death and disease in people who lived near parks or other green space—even if they didn’t use them. Researchers suspect that nature works primarily by lowering stress. Compared with people who have lousy window views, those who can see trees and grass have been shown to recover faster in hospitals, perform better in school, and even display less violent behavior in neighborhoods where it’s common. Such results jibe with experimental studies of the central nervous system. Measurements of stress hormones, respiration, heart rate, and sweating suggest that short doses of nature—or even pictures of the natural world—can calm people down and sharpen their performance."
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