“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings.” John Muir
I haven’t been mountain climbing much these days, but I have been walking a lot. Whenever I can, I take a short walk in the morning, just to recharge and get myself going. I’ve also found that this has a positive influence on my mood – whenever I’m out and about in this way, I try to look for one lovely thing to think about – a beautiful tree or a flower or the birds singing or even just the blue sky overhead. Finding these pockets of loveliness wherever they are always gives me a boost.
It turns out that I’m onto something. There’s plenty of exciting new research supporting the idea that spending time in nature can be enormously restorative, energizing, and even creativity boosting. Just recently, I cam across a wonderful book called Forest Bathing: How Trees Can Help You Find Health and Happiness by Dr. Qing Li, the Chairman of the Japanese Society for Forest Medicine (love that title!). Here’s what he says:
“Trees help us think more clearly, be more creative, and make us nicer and more generous…. Plenty of research substantiates what leaders, poets and philosophers have known since the days of Aristotle: walking in the forest clears our minds and helps us think. One study undertaken by the University of Michigan that looked at the effects on memory and attention when we engage with nature found that people could remember 20 percent more after they had been for a walk where there are trees than when they had walked through busy city streets, no matter what the weather…
“Nature also has the power to help us solve problems and break through creative blocks. Research at the universities of Utah and Kansas looked at the effects on creative reasoning skills of being immersed in nature for a number of days. The researchers concluded that there ‘is a real, measurable cognitive advantage to be realized if we send time truly immersed in a natural setting,’ and found that spending more time in nature can boost problem-solving ability and creativity by 50 percent.
“Is it any wonder that Buddha found enlightenment sitting under a tree?”
Wow! Just being out and about among trees and nature can help us be more creative! What better incentive do we need to try to work walks into our daily life? Write on!