Summer has arrived, and with warmer temperatures comes more excuses to spend time outside. You may have heard the notion that sunshine and fresh air are great for our overall health and wellbeing, but there is actually some science to back this up.
Just like our bodies, our brains can get tired too, and oftentimes it’s from too much of everything. Here are some common signs of brain fatigue:
- Feeling physically tired. Even if you spend all day sitting down at a desk, if you get home from a day and want to curl up into a ball instead of moving, your brain is tired too.
- Impatience and feeling irritable. If you find yourself being easily triggered or jumping to emotions like anger or sadness, this is another sign of brain fatigue.
- Having trouble focusing. If you find it harder to complete tasks or stay on task, or perhaps finding it difficult to make decisions, this is another symptom.
But, a groundbreaking study out of Scotland, shows that a bit of mindfulness and nature is all your brain needs to come out of a state of fatigue or mental unrest.
When the volunteers made their way through the urbanized, busy areas, particularly the heavily trafficked commercial district at the end of their walk, their brain wave patterns consistently showed that they were more aroused 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. [New York Times]
If you are feeling fatigued, worn out or just “done”, perhaps you just need a prescription that only summer can provide. There’s lots of opportunity and reason to get outside and close to nature this season. Go for a hike out of town, take a walk in a park, go camping or kayaking—anything that will give your brain a rest.
Connecting with nature, in turn, connects us with ourselves.