Nature walks can help restore the mind

The theory that nature can recharge minds depleted by harsh urban environments is not new, but only recently has the theory been scientifically tested. Thanks to portable EEG’ measuring brain activity unobtrusively, researchers at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh and the University of Edinburgh were able to measure the brain patterns of 12 volunteers as they walked through three different sections of Edinburgh over the course of an hour and a half.

This information was published in the New York Times recently: http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/03/27/easing-brain-fatigue-with-a-walk-in-the-park/

The findings confirmed previous ideas on how the surrounding physical environment affects the brain’s attentiveness.

“When the volunteers made their way through the urbanized, busy areas…their brain wave patterns consistently showed that they were more aroused, attentive and frustrated than when they walked through the parkland, where brain-wave readings became more meditative. While traveling through the park, the walkers were mentally quieter.”

Natural environments still engage the brain, say researchers, holding our attention while simultaneously allowing for reflection.