The trip also gave me a chance to spend time in beautiful natural surroundings. My brain loved it!
Are you aware there is a national movement to, “leave no child inside”? With increasing research the benefits of nature on the brain is being revealed. Not only does science show us the benefits but it is also creating awareness of the detrimental impacts a lack of nature plays.
Brains are constantly in an anticipation and prediction mode due to the priority of safety. So the brain is primarily focusing attention on the environment and the people in it for safety and trust. When we are in a busy environment filled with a lot going on and several things for the brain to monitor, notice, and keep track of at the same time it requires a lot of attention. This takes a lot of brain energy and effort. This results in difficulty with memory and less self-control.
When we are in natural surroundings the brain can relax a bit since there is not as much coming at us at a fast pace that requires our attention. Natural settings allow the brain to actually replenish itself.
Just think about the relaxation CD’s you might listen to. They usually include sounds of nature, such as birds, a babbling brook, or the sounds of waves. They do not include sounds of traffic, sirens, or a noisy crowed room of people arguing.
Research is demonstrating that even seeing a grassy area or trees outside a window can have a positive impact on the brain. One study found children in classrooms with natural sunlight coming in the windows or skylight scored better in reading and math than children in rooms without natural light. And, several studies have shown that children with attention-deficit-disorder are able to focus better and are less likely to have behavioral problems when spending time in natural settings.
If we really want to have a positive influence on brains, I feel it is critically important to include information on the impact playing outdoors and time spent in nature has on the brain. Fortunately, there is much to be shared on this topic. For further information you can read more about the studies I mentioned in a very informative article from the Boston Globe entitled, How the city hurts your brain… And what you can do about it.
Additionally you can go to the Children and Nature website for a wealth of information. Through this site you can also get involved with creating greater awareness of this critical need.
And finally, Richard Louv is the author of, Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder. Following is a paragraph from this extremely valuable book.
“Nature-deficit disorder describes the human costs of alienation from nature, among them: diminished use of the senses, attention difficulties and higher rates of physical and emotional illness. The disorder can be detected in individuals, families, and communities. Nature deficit can even change human behavior in cities, which could ultimately affect their design, since long-standing studies show a relationship between the absence, or inaccessibility, of parks and open space with high crime rates, depression, and other urban maladies. “We need to ensure our children have the opportunity to spend time playing outdoors. This additional post also shares the importance of play and laughter. There is a definite need to focus on children playing outdoors. The National Wild Life Federation is involved with an effort to promote a “green hour” for children and the NFL is promoting “Play 60”
For a brain focused play activity ideas to have available to use throughout your busy day visit www.braininsightsonline.com
Find time to enjoy a nature break for your brain or play with your child. You will feel refreshed!
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