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Want To Be More Creative? Get Outdoors

If you haven’t been getting outside enough lately, consider that carving time out in the day for doing so may enhance your creativity, among other things.

Researchers from the University of Kansas looked at the effect that being immersed in nature can have on creativity. Interested in finding if being outdoors could elicit measureable brain fluctuations, they performed studies on groups of backpackers ranging in age from 18 to those in their 60’s.

The research team took groups of participants on a backpacking excursion in Utah. After being given the Remote Associates Test (RAT), which is a word association assessment that measures creative intellect, encouraging outcomes of a near 45% increase on the exam were attained which led to an additional investigation.

Joining forces with Outward Bound, a non-profit organization in Golden, Colorado that hosts educational nature hikes, around 120 participants were taken on outdoor treks and administered the RAT before or after their outdoor exposure. It was found that there was nearly a 50% increase in creative scores across the board.

Researchers believe that in addition to other factors, the drastic rises in creativity are likely contributed to being removed from technology vested distractors for a period of time that allows for adjustment to life without digital limbs, thus allowing one to become less reliant on their invasive, constant need to be checked.

The persistent bombardment of electronic gadgets, formed attachments to social media and other things like checking emails, phone messages and being incessantly available, cause people to be distracted and on edge, even if they are not aware of it. These repetitive interruptions take away from other stimulating behaviors and thoughts that can lead to more positive and imaginative activities.

Nature is a soothing remedy for a modern life, and Dr. Ruth Ann Atchley, a principal investigator of the study at the university’s psychology department, stated that:

“Nature is a place where our mind can rest, relax and let down those threat responses…”

Although a study may not be needed to tell someone that it is indeed relaxing to be outside, the measureable dramatic results on the RAT are an eye-opener. With such a rise on the creative scale after just a few days outdoors, it should offer pause as to how much natural potential we are sweeping under the rug in the name of technological advancement.

Read more about the study at Backpacker.

Want To Be More Creative? Get Outdoors.

Image source: by Noma Bar


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