We all know that getting into nature is great exercise for your body. But what about your brain? A new study by David Strayer, a University of Utah psychology professor, confirms that being outdoors increases creativity, decision making and problem solving skills. Being in nature, and being disconnected from our ‘devices’ makes our brains work in different ways. It forces us to think things through, to come up with creative solutions and to utilize our existing knowledge to form new conclusions. Being away from an internet connection stops us from searching for answers, so that we can create answers for ourselves.
Professor Strayer sent 56 people on 4-6 day wilderness hikes, completely removed from iPad, iPhone and laptops. Twenty-four participants were given a creativity test the morning before their hikes, the rest were tested on the fourth day of their trip. Those tested later did 50% better than the first group.
Being in nature helps us to slow down and process information more thoroughly. There is no quick answer. Strayer says, “The constant bombardment of technology and urban life is draining the frontal portion of the brain, suppressing problem solving, decision making and creativity. When you get away from that hustle and bustle and out in nature, where it is soft and fascinating, your brain can replenish, become sharper and focus on thinking.”
At Columbia Gorge Teen Camps we put this study to work. Our campers get out into nature and learn to think for themselves, to push themselves not only physically but mentally as well which engages them with their own thoughts and with others. Away from smart phones and instant answers campers can sort through their thoughts, formulate their opinions, and come back from their summer adventure revitalized.
Columbia Gorge Teen Camps – reach the height of your potential