These days, much of our life experience happens in front of a screen. Whether it’s work, communication, entertainment, you name it; it’s in front of a device with a back light. Even as you read this post, you are in front of a screen.
So, what is the impact? Well, that strongly depends on who you are talking to. A doctor may tell you that screen time impacts our physical health, such as eyesight and obesity. A neurologist may say that it impedes on new neural pathways being created in the brain that may affect creative thinking. And, a psychologist may feel that the impact is largely in our social abilities and making deep connections with others.
Technology has made our world faster and more efficient, yet, the biggest trade off, in our opinion, are real experiences; physical connections to people, places and things, for the artificial sort. And, what we are beginning to understand is that getting away from screens and spending more time engaged in the physical world is not only human nature, but also extremely beneficial to our mental and physical well-being.
A growing amount of evidence suggests that being in nature can increase your happiness and focus. Researchers in Japan are also beginning to back up a theory that being outside lowers blood pressure, fights depression, lowers stress levels and may even prevent cancer. In a University of Kansas study, just three days in nature led to a 50% increase in performances on creativity tests. And, on top of all of those benefits, we know even a limited dose of the outdoors, like a chance to look outside through a window, is good for your health.
As humans, we crave the natural. Top vacation spots are frequently beach and mountain destinations. The most expensive places to live are next to bodies of water, mountains and trees (an apartment in the city that overlooks a park is always pricier than one that overlooks a parking lot). And, our homes and work places are filled with plants and pets, elements of our natural world.
With this in mind, over this weekend, while you’re “googling” for things to do with your free time, make the decision to head outside. Have a picnic in the local park with your significant other. Go camping with your friends. Grab your furry companion and treat him/her to a long hike through the woods. Be where we are happiest and feel our best, immersed in our natural habitat. Be where the wild things are!