Taking a walk in nature can help improve a persons short term memory. We know that nature can help reduce stress and lower blood pressure. Well, being exposed to natural settings can help to ‘restore’ our ability to concentrate and reflect. A recent research study, “The Cognitive Benefits of Interacting with Nature” by Berman, Jonides & Kaplan (Association for Psychological Science, Vol. 19 – No. 12,
2008), indicates that natural areas are restorative.
When we are emersed in a natural area, such as a park, the woods, on the beach or similiar places, we can get lost in our surroundings. We do not have to look both ways before crossing the street or if a car is coming in our direction. Our senses focus on the sound of the babbling brook or the birds singing in the trees. The feeling of a cool breeze on our face or the warmth of the sunlight on our back can help us to forget about lifes demands.
Spending time in a natural environment will positively affect our memory and attention. The concept of ‘attention restoration theory’ offers the idea that natural settings can help us to be able to relax. When our stress levels are reduced, we can concentrate better and our memory improves. This is especially important if we removed from contact with nature. Taking advantage of a neighborhood park or other natural settings is good for our health and well being.