Garblog's Pages

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Have writer's block -- or need a shot of creativity? Take a hike! | John Platt,

I like this! Platt's column begins with these two bullet points:
  • Study: A team of backpackers were 50 percent more creative after they had spent four days on the trail
  • 'There's a growing advantage over time to being in nature,' researcher says
Quoting the leader of the study mentioned in the first bullet, Ruth Ann Atchley, department chair and associate professor of cognitive/clinical psychology at the University of Kansas [emphasis added]:
There's a growing advantage over time to being in nature. We think that it peaks after about three days of really getting away, turning off the cellphone, not hauling the iPad and not looking for Internet coverage. It's when you have an extended period of time surrounded by that softly fascinating environment that you start seeing all kinds of positive effects in how your mind works. 
The article explains that in the study four groups of backpackers were given a standard test of creatively before they left on long hikes. A second set of backpackers was given the same test four days into their hikes. The finding: "The second group of hikers — the ones deep into their nature journeys — scored nearly 50 percent higher in creativity."
In a continuation of the article, Atchley says:
Nature is a place where our mind can rest, relax and let down those threat responses. Therefore, we have resources left over — to be creative, to be imaginative, to problem solve — that allow us to be better, happier people who engage in a more productive way with others.
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