Thank you for visiting the home blog of Caliso Learning, a natural science-based business celebrating the beauty and ecology of our natural environments. Our goal is to connect you and your family with nature--actually, we want you to fall in LOVE with nature!

Here you will find nature-inspired articles and posts, family activities, personal stories, resources, and more--all with the goal to connect you with the benefits of nature for family fun and inspiration! Please enjoy and let us know what you like :) Follow us on Facebook for even more resources, more frequently!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

This Is Your Brain On Nature

There are plenty of reports and articles that document the restorative power of nature on our mind, body, and soul. For example, in his article The Cognitive Benefits of Nature, Jonah Lehrer comments on a paper in Psychological Science where, compared to city living, “interacting with nature dramatically improves cognitive function.” He goes on to say that, “A walk in the woods is like a vacation for the prefrontal cortex…strolling in a city, however, forces the brain to constantly remain vigilant,” the end result having a less restorative effect.

When you allow the mind to have that “mental pause,” you can calm the flurry of thoughts that accompany most of us on a typical day. In turn, your mind is clear enough to manage daily situations much more efficiently.

Imagine you are sitting on a rock overlooking a clear pond. You’re taken in by how you can see clearly to the bottom and even to the other side. You’re watching fish and tadpoles, and, plop! In go your keys. No worries though, you can see right where they landed and you can probably get to them with only getting one foot wet.

In the meantime, your keys spooked a toad and he jumps into the water and stirs up a little silt as you try not to lose sight of where your keys landed. But you jumped too, startled by the frog, and down goes your other foot—and a massive cloud of pond silt swallows up your keys. You’re trying to stay focused on where they should be, but it’s hard to gauge exactly…and grasping around for them just keeps stirring up more silt. Inevitably you are forced to stop stirring up the silt, have a seat, and wait for the pond to settle once again so you can see clearly enough find your keys. This is our brain on pond time. Take a moment, see clearly, solve problem.

It’s not impossible to find your keys through the silt, but when you’re bombarded with distractions-stimulus-information (like frogs, losing your footing, and grasping), it stirs up your mind’s process for clear thinking, and decreases our ability for more careful problem solving.

So treat yourself to a little nature during your next lunch break--if you don’t already. If you already do…try extending your nature time per day by 30 minutes and notice how your mind, body, and soul respond.

Watch your keys and let us know!

1 comment:

  1. I really 'dig' the clay pot article. An ancient idea comes around. My tomatoes are in for a treat next fall. Thanks! I have just come down from Mt high with 2 days treking through forest with John Muir Laws an incredible young naturalist. I will never again look at "my" forest through the same eyes. Dancing Turtle