“Being in nature allows the prefrontal cortex, the brain’s command center, to dial down and rest, like an overused muscle.” David Strayer. Cognitive Psychologist.
Yesterday I walked to my Fluid Flow to Restore class at the Yoga Factory. The walk was part of my warm up before flexing. It was the first day of august, a beautiful, hot, sunny, english summers day.
Just a few short months ago I’d been residing and working on Koh Chang, Thailand. This meant that I was outside and moving around the facility on a daily basis but there were many instances when I could have stayed in the office and not moved. I set an intention to keep me fit and healthy, when the temptation was to remain cool in an air conditioned room, as the weather was so hot.
I use these small principles to help my wellbeing throughout a daily work schedule.
- Go and talk to a person directly rather than using the phone
- Go for a power walk for a few minutes – even if it’s only the long way to the toilet!
- Learn appropriate stretches to do whilst at the desk or in a car to help remain flexible
- Walk or Run Commute if possible
- Mindfulness – don’t plug into the headset. Listen to the sounds of the traffic. How you feel inside. If you’re warming up through moving or is your mind wandering. Take notice
The longer I’m home, the more I realise that getting outside and connecting with nature is an incredibly important part of being human and necessary. I feel the disconnect with nature when indoors for too long and this understanding has actually helped me decide which yoga studio to build my practice with. The Yoga Factory set in central Southend has high ceilings and lots of space. This delivers an expansive way of being for me, yet still within a studio environment. Perfect.
I watch people moving from car to office – house to technology.
Yesterday I walked through the park and saw no kids out playing. My mind immediately turned to the movie of my childhood: Chitty, Chitty, Bang, Bang and I thought, ‘the child catcher’s been out.’ I felt sad in that moment to realise the emptiness of such a beautiful park as the one I was walking through, with only the sounds of birds tweeting loudly but no sounds of children playing or laughter.
Being outside in nature is a great place for our creative brain to connect with something more and greater than our basic cognition. Even the disconnect we can experience when wandering inside a huge shopping mall brings about an insular change I believe in the way in which we connect with community.
Researchers from the University of Exeter Medical School recently analyzed mental health data from 10,000 city dwellers and used high-resolution mapping to track where the subjects had lived over 18 years. They found that people living near more green space reported less mental distress, even after adjusting for income, education, and employment (all of which are also correlated with health). NatGeo
Nature keeps us on our toes – our minds nimble and our thoughts free.
What stops you from getting out in nature?