I remember as a kid whenever we saw someone still in a park or nature we would call them a tree hugger.
A God old hippy. Living in NYC for over 10 years through some of the most intense times like September 11 had me wound up pretty tight. Working in the nightlife industry for years standing at the front of nightclubs getting screamed at by anger patrons keep me in a constant fight mode which we all know is a very unhealthy way to exist.
People would always say to me get close to nature and I would laugh at them. Moving to sunny California back in 2009, everything in my life changed.
My energy levels drop and my insane rumination of negative thinking really slowed down. It got me thinking just recently about how toxic NYC was to my mind and attitude.
I know we can all agree that going to a loud nightclub and a spa have a completely different effect on how we feel.
So how does atmosphere affect us?
Michigan University did a study back in 2008 in how the environment affects us. They did a test call Attention Restoration Theory or ART for short, which suggested that people can focus better after spending more time with nature.
In the first of two experiments, Berman and his team took a group of students and administrated a series of focus driven number exercises to assess their direct attention. The students were then randomly assigned to take a mapped-out 55-minute walk in either the Ann Arbor Arboretum, a tree-lined secluded nature environment, or heavy trafficked, loud and bustling urban environment or downtown Ann Arbor.
Upon returning, students were tested again. A week later, the students returned to the lab, repeated the exercise, and took a walk through the environment they had visited in the previous week. The researchers discovered that the students direct attention was significantly improved by the walk in nature but not downtown.
In other words, the walk in nature made them more focused and effective.
The next experiment, the researchers replaced the walk with simply showing pictures of nature or an urban setting.
Although the results where weaker than those from the actual nature walks, just seeing pictures of nature caused enough of a therapeutic effect to increase scores on the directed- attention tests.
So if you are stuck in a concrete jungle like I was for years, overstressed and unable to focus. Maybe it’s time, you start at a computer screen of nature or played some calm music of the ocean to help you escape from your current madness and stress.