THE DIRT

Laptop user in a park / istockphoto

People experience “soft fascination” with nature when they sit on a park bench and let their minds wander, taking in the trees and flowers, noticing birds and squirrels, feeling the breeze on their face. This gentle decompression in nature is actually critical to helping us restore our ability to pay attention. We need breaks where our minds can just go slack and subconsciously take in the complexity of nature. Researchers are still trying to figure out the ideal “dose” of this green medicine, but benefits have been seen with just 10 minutes.

New research argues those breaks in nature only help if we put down our laptops and other devices. A recent study published in Environment and Behavior contends that using laptops, smartphones, and other technologies while sitting on that park bench undoes all the good attention-boosting benefits of nature.

Attention…

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