Never Miss a Beat

Nurturing Your Brain With Nature

What have you done lately to nurture your brain? If you’re feeling stressed and anxious by modern life going by at the speed of light, you might want to seek out some green space and take a slow walk or sit for a while and observe nature. Your brain will thank you.


Being in the presence of nature is good for your mental, physical, and well-being. You’ll experience benefits from nature, whether it’s in the woods, in a mountain setting, at a beach, or even in an urban green space. The Japanese have a word for the practice of walking mindfully through a wooded or green area. It’s known as shinrin-yoku or forest bathing.


Your Brain On Nature


Scientific studies demonstrate the benefits of ecotherapy—the term used in the Western world for healing through immersion in nature. These studies show evidence of beneficial effects on the human brain and improvement in mental health by regular exposure to natural environments. 


In a nutshell, you could improve the quality of your life by starting a regular ecotherapy practice.


A slow walk through a natural environment reduces your cortisol, the stress hormone. Studies have demonstrated that being in nature or having exposure to nature (even just looking at a park through a window) has beneficial effects on focus, attention, creativity, and feelings of energy and vitality, as well as fewer reported feelings of anxiety and depression.


Your Brain and The Sunshine Vitamin



Exposure to sunshine while experiencing the open and green outdoors can increase your levels of the sunshine vitamin, Vitamin D. While it’s true it’s good practice to wear sunscreen to avoid the long-term detrimental effects of sun exposure, even a short stint in the sun can help increase your Vitamin D level and the mood-boosting effects on your brain.



Your brain and central nervous system contain receptors for Vitamin D. This vitamin also aids the enzymes in the brain and nervous system to produce neurotransmitters, the chemical that allows brain cells to ‘talk’ to each other. Vitamin D also promotes nerve growth, helping control new nerve cell formation. Additionally, Vitamin D protects your brain cells from inflammatory reactions. Recent studies show inflammation occurs in neurodegenerative conditions, such as dementia.


Your Brain and Blood Pressure


There is ample evidence that regular exposure to nature lowers blood pressure. The effects of unchecked hypertension on the brain include stroke, blood clots, mini-stroke or transient ischemia attacks (TIA), impaired cognitive function, or even dementia. Any effort to help lower blood pressure to a more normal range is beneficial to all parts of the body and your brain.


Your Brain Waves on Nature


David Strayer, a cognitive psychologist at the University of Utah, has been studying the effect of nature on the brain’s command center, the pre-frontal cortex. In our present-day high-technology society, the pre-frontal cortex is overworked, over-stimulated, and over-used. The result is that we’re distracted, unable to make decisions, and suffer from brain fog.


Soaking up the calm and peaceful surroundings in nature allows the pre-frontal cortex to relax and recover. The evidence for this is seen in the brain wave studies by Strayer. Subjects immersed in nature show calmer midline frontal theta waves in the EEG study, while similarly matched controls in an urban setting lacked these types of relaxed brain signals.



Your Brain Likes Nature

The evidence is clear that nature–the wide-open outdoors is good for your brain. The next step is for society to embrace this knowledge, preserve the wide-open natural environments, and encourage a regular practice of ecotherapy.

It starts with one person at a time. How and when will you start your ecotherapy practice?


One More Thing


A Year in the Secret Garden


As parents, we want/need quality books with extension activities to help our young ones unplug and create memories. Pulling books from shelves and stories from pages is also an important act that will form the habit of being life-long readers.

Quality books with companion book extension activities not only work to create special family time but also allow kids to solve the world’s problems without major consequences.


A Year in the Secret Garden is just such a book. This delightful children’s book is co-written by Marilyn Scott-Waters and Valarie Budayr, and it offers original month-by-month activities that allow readers to delve deeper into the classic children’s tale, The Secret Garden.  


Within the 120 pages (with 150 original color illustrations and 48 activities), families will find many activities inspired by The Secret Garden that encourage them to step away from technology and enjoy getting hands and feet into the black earth of a family garden. This book will make a great gift and encourage many hours of family growth, learning, and FUN! Grab your copy ASAP and “Meet me in the garden!”


More details HERE!