In our complex and busy world, nature can be a wonderful way for us to slow down, think, and let our brains focus and be creative. Our desire to get away often leads us to nature and its benefits are increasingly being appreciated as we learn more about them. By experiencing what nature has to offer, our creative juices can be honed and thus we can improve our art, writing, and creation. To better understand how this can happen, here are five scientific ways nature improves creativity.
1. Nature Promotes a Healthy Lifestyle
Creative expression is more likely to occur when we feel our best. Heading out for a walk, reading a book in the park, or taking a hike in the woods are great ways to restore our health in ways you may not have considered before. Take for instance the exposure to the sun. The sun can not only give us a vitamin D boost, but it actually can also help us regulate our body clock and become more in tune with the earth’s natural cycle. This improves our sleep and gives us more physical energy.
In Japan, forest bathing is a common way to relieve stress and anxiety. Forest baths are the act of surrounding yourself with trees accompanied with thinking deeply and reflecting. This practice has been found to lower blood pressure and boost the immune system.
In addition to these benefits, going out in nature means cleaner air and increased levels of oxygen flowing through your body. This flow of oxygen helps lower your blood pressure and even improves your vision.
2. Nature Helps to Restore Mental Energy
Along with a healthy body, nature provides for a healthy brain. In fact, nature is so potent that it’s sometimes prescribed by therapists to some patients suffering from anxiety and depression. Combined with the promotion of a healthy lifestyle, wilderness therapy is a complete miracle drug. The color green has a natural calming effect and exercise releases positive feeling enhancing endorphins.
When we reach a positive place with our mental health and energy, we are free to explore the creative sides of our mind. No longer bogged down by the constant thoughts and processes of our day to day life – nature clears the mind to think deeply and thoughtfully. Many of the world’s greatest thinkers and creatives did their best work while walking outside in nature. Charles Darwin developed many of his theories while strolling his gardens.
3. Nature Improves Cognitive Function
Spending time in nature has been an area of research that many cognitive psychologists have been exploring. Our brains have a notorious innate ability to make mistakes. This mostly occurs when multitasking and contending with distractions. Time spent outdoors can improve creative thinking by restoring mental fatigue and cleansing our thoughts – enabling more concentration and focus. Three days immersed in nature can have such an impact on the prefrontal cortex, our brain’s most overused muscle, and has been found to reduce the brain’s theta waves.
4. Nature Inspires Sharper Thinking
City life can really bog our brains and this has been a source of intrigue for many scientists as well. In understanding how nature affects our brains’ higher order thinking skills, it was discovered that problem-solving improves after spending time in nature – in some cases by up to 50 percent. That’s an impressive feat. When compared to a 50-minute walk in nature to a city walk, the nature walk proved to increase executive attention skills.
5. Nature Increases Concentration
The world seems to whiz by these days. Our brains are constantly trying to solve dozens of problems and thoughts. It can all feel a tad overwhelming. When we step out into nature, we know about the restorative effects on the brain. Thoughts seem to slow and the weight of the world seems to slip away.
With our minds clearing, our attention to what’s in front of and around us deepens. All of a sudden, thoughts of life’s daily stresses are replaced with thoughts on the majesty of nature. When our thoughts slow to adjust to our new awareness, the brain is able to think clearly – enabling us to problem-solve and create on the go.
By restoring the mind, we can relax our body. When both mind and body are relaxed, clear and centered, we are free to explore our creativity. Nature breaks down the barriers that hold us back from achieving our true potential. It has been scientifically proven to reduce stress, lower blood pressure, increase endorphins, enhance brain functions, reduce inflammation, and a host of other benefits. As the world moves quicker, nature seems to drift further away. For your safety and wellbeing – go outside and get creative.