Natural Steps Toward Restoration
The most striking of these are walking and playing in nature.
Who would have thought that something so simple could have such a profound impact.
Even as little as a 20 minute walk, three times a week can make a big difference. Dr. Cimprich found that this was enough to help her cancer patients cope better with their diagnosis, make better decisions, and participate more effectively in their care. (Cimprich, B.)
A view of nature out a window was in itself enough to be restorative for office workers and other prisoners. (Kaplan. R.)
Playing in nature not only helped children with Attention Fatigue, it even helped children with ADHD, once thought to be quite resistant to non-drug interventions. (Kuo. F.)
Walking or playing in nature—any activity which is supported by the natural environment, rather than at odds with it, has a number of ways of reducing Directed Attention.
It for a Rainy Day
You usually don’t have to concentrate in the usual sense during a walk in the park.
Instead, when you do pay attention, you typically use other attention systems, such as involuntary attention—such as when you hear noises, see wildlife, climb over obstructions, or explore new areas. Or you play hide and seek, roll down hills, chase each other, throw a stick for your dog.
Even if there’s danger—a bear jumps out of the fishpond, for example, your old fashioned built-in involuntary attention is ready and willing and extremely capable of giving you all the attention you need to deal with the situation. In fact, it is finely tuned for just such occurrences.
While walking in nature in less exciting circumstances, you also use soft fascination—watching water, listening to the sound of wind in the branches, skipping, singing, experience the rhythm of your stride.
The Joys of Muscle Fatigue
Walking in nature helps restore that balance.
Kaplan, Rachel, Kaplan, Stephen, Ryan, Robert, (1998) With People in Mind: Design And Management Of Everyday Nature, Island Press, 1998
Kaplan, Rachel; Kaplan, Stephen;(1989) The Experience of Nature: A Psychological Perspective, Cambridge University Press, 1989Kuo, F. E. Kuo and A. Faber Taylor, (2004) A Potential Natural Treatment for Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: Evidence From a National Study, Am J Public Health, September 1, 2004; 94(9): 1580 - 1586
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