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.
Kara Fitzgerald, ND, received her doctor of naturopathic medicine degree from the National University of Natural Medicine in Portland, Oregon. She completed the first Counsel on Naturopathic Medicine-accredited post-doctorate position in nutritional biochemistry and laboratory science at Metametrix Clinical Laboratory under the direction of Richard Lord, PhD. Her residency was completed at Progressive Medical Center, a large, integrative medical practice in Atlanta, Georgia.
Dr. Fitzgerald is the lead author and editor of Case Studies in Integrative and Functional Medicine and is a contributing author to Laboratory Evaluations for Integrative and Functional Medicine and the Institute for Functional Medicine (IFM)’s Textbook for Functional Medicine. With the Helfgott Research Institute, Dr. Fitzgerald is actively engaged in clinical research on the DNA methylome using a diet and lifestyle intervention developed in her practice. The first publication from the study focuses on reversal of biological aging and was published 04-12-2021 in the journal Aging. She has published a consumer book titled Younger You as well as a companion cookbook, Better Broths and Healing Tonics and has an application-based Younger You Program, based on the study.
Dr. Fitzgerald is on the faculty at IFM, is an IFM Certified Practitioner and lectures globally on functional medicine. She runs a Functional Nutrition Residency program, and maintains a podcast series, New Frontiers in Functional Medicine and an active blog on her website, www.drkarafitzgerald.com. Her clinical practice is in Sandy Hook, Connecticut.
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