As you wrap up the year, perhaps it’s time to consider how nature can transform you and supercharge your career
After 15 minutes in nature, you relax more and the pre-frontal brain and the subconscious begin to make more connections.
Acouple of years ago, I came across research that changed how much time I spent in nature. I grew up on a farm and I remember my grandmother telling me that in her 70 years, she’d only seen a doctor eight times – and those were to give birth to each of her eight children. Studies show that your cancer and disease-fighting cells increase by 50% when you spend three uninterrupted days in nature (see: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17903349). In one study, a group of healthy men had their blood tested before going on holiday in a city like New York, USA, and another healthy group spent the same amount of time in the middle of nature – similar to a wildlife game reserve. A month after their return, the group who’d spent the holiday in nature showed a 20%+ increase in cancerfighting cells. By contrast, those who’d holidayed in the concrete jungle showed little to no increase.
I recently spent five straight days in a lodge environment to finish writing a section of a book. After the second day, once I’d settled in, the words began to flow. I knew that being in a calm environment would offer value to my overall health, but I was curious about whether my brain was also receiving a boost.
In a quick Google search, research popped up from the world’s top researchers confirming this. After 15 minutes in nature, the thinking brain gives way to the sensory brain – which basically means that you relax more and the pre-frontal brain (the “CEO” of the mind) and the subconscious begin to make more connections.
Essentially, nature was increasing my capacity to make connections and write from a deeper place.
However, my favourite study was one conducted in a rundown, low-income neighbourhood in Chicago, where half of the dilapidated buildings in the area had trees and shrubbery planted around them. Many feared that the trees would increase crime by creating hiding places for felons, but the opposite occurred: not only did the incidence of both serious and petty crimes decrease, but social cohesion in the neighbourhood increased. By contrast, the crime rate around homes where no trees or shrubbery were planted remained the same.
As you set off on your year-end holiday, consider that vacations shouldn’t be the only time you invest in nature. In fact, while you’re away, begin to map how you can incorporate nature into your lifestyle regularly.
I call the process of absorbing yourself in nature “nature-bathing”. Enjoy every drop of it!
Webster is a four-times best-selling author. His latest book, Personal Brand Intelligence, explores authentic branding. Connect with him at: www.timothymaurice.com or follow him on Instagram: @instatimothy