Science (and our experience) both prove that a brain constantly dealing with noise, busyness and the controlled chaos of urban environments is about as flexible and useful as a week old corn tortilla. This thin, brittle brained phenomenon characterizes a condition informally known as brain fatigue. People afflicted with brain fatigue can be forgetful, are easily distracted, flighty and are probably sitting a tortilla’s toss away. While operating with a fatigued brain has become the default mode for many of us, there is a better way.
The solution for this condition can be found by visiting our nearest green space. Researchers at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh and the University of Edinburgh recently published a study in The British Journal of Sports Medicine that supports this remedy. Scientists attached portable EEG’s to their subjects’ heads and then had them walk through various parts of the city. From busy city streets to less crowded historical districts and quiet parklands, the subjects were encouraged to move at their regular pace while carrying laptops which recorded the brainwaves they generated.
What was revealed was that “When the volunteers made their way through the urbanized, busy areas, particularly the heavily trafficked commercial district at the end of their walk, their brain-wave patterns consistently showed that they were more aroused and frustrated than when they walked through the parkland, where brain-wave readings became more meditative. While traveling through the park, the walkers were mentally quieter.” Sounds right, I mean, how often do you find stressed out people walking quietly in a garden? And alternatively, how many calm and relaxed people do you generally see while commuting?
During those weeks when we feel like unless something gets written down it will be instantly forgotten, when we can’t concentrate and we are constantly trying to keep up with life, it’s time to go green. Take time to immerse yourself someplace where the concrete and hustle give way to natural vistas; where your brain can relax, your focus can improve and your life can become more clear. A great practice to adopt this summer.