By Elizabeth Barker
Feeling brain-drained? Stepping away from the computer and taking to the outdoors could help replenish your creative energy and boost your problem-solving power.
In a new study from psychologists at the University of Utah and the University of Kansas, 56 people (average age: 28) took part in an electronic-device-free wilderness hiking trip organized by the Outward Bound expedition school. Twenty-four of those study members completed a 10-item creativity test the morning before their trip, while the other 32 participants took the test on the morning of the trip’s fourth day. Looking at test results, the study’s authors determined that four days immersed in nature and disconnected from technology could help enhance creativity and problem-solving skills by at least 50 percent.
According to the study’s authors, spending time in nature helps to restore the brain’s ability to keep focused on a task and tune out distractions. “It provides a rationale for trying to understand what is a healthy way to interact in the world, and that burying yourself in front of a computer 24/7 may have costs that can be remediated by taking a hike in nature,” notes study co-author David Strayer.
Photo: Portland musician Jeremy Gordon enjoys a break in nature with his daughter.
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