I’m type, type, typing away on a project in my office today. Someone pops in-a bit of a distraction, but my door was open- and comments on what a great space it is! Indeed, I have giant windows that overlook the Pootatuck river and forest beyond. It’s always beautiful here, regardless of the weather or time of day… After he leaves, I start to review a study for work relating to the mental health benefits of natural environments: “Proximity to greenspace has been associated with lower levels of stress and reduced symptomology for depression and anxiety…” Greenspace is also beneficial for cognition, especially in kids with attention deficits.
Attention restoration theory (ART) distinguishes between “hard fascination” which is constant stimulation (think iPhone, TV, busy urban environments) and “soft fascination” which being in nature provides: Nature is immediately captivating, but equally relaxing. It reduces demand on executive-based attention, therefore allows restoration of depleted attention resources & executive function. It’s the “aaaahhhh” experience. Looking out my windows always provides a relaxing ahhhhhh moment. And even better? Getting outside directly.