To elaborate on my 20-20-20 Principle Instagram post, I want to reference a book I am currently reading called “The Nature Fix” by Florence Williams.
This book is written on the idea that we, as humans, have evolved using our 5 senses in response to our environment(nature). Our current tendencies towards city living are slowly beginning to numb those senses that have led us to be one of the most dominant species on Earth due to the very “anti-nature” that they are.
The author talks about the research of noise pollution dulling our sense of sound and how excessive screen time can create eye damage and therefore dull our sense of sight. Dulling these particular senses signals the fight or flight response in our bodies giving a rise long-term to our stress hormone, cortisol. In a world inundated with technology, it is more important now than ever to find time away from all of the sights and sounds and to reconnect with nature and therefore our true senses.
The author talks about all of the research around the healing effects of nature as well. Even exposure to a beautiful landscape in a picture when in a completely windowless room can have effects on blood pressure. The research isn’t the most supportive for this, but there is research that says exposure to this is better than living in 4 concrete walls. There is a lot of positive research, however, on spending time outside in wooded parks if you do live in a city.
We know there are several mechanisms on how nature affects our nervous system, cardiovascular system, etc. The main question is: how much time? This book pitches that you should get about 5 hours per month of time outside in a semi-quiet area with trees. You don’t need to move fast or far or at all really, just spending this time outside in nature can have systemic effects on your body. If you commit to completing one of your 20-20-20 tasks a day (5 days a week, you can even take the weekends off if you want) outside, you will spend more than 5 hours per month in nature. PS. those who spend 10 hours in nature have shown more positive, happier results.
I also believe that what you do in nature will have varying effects. For those who prefer to listen to music, you’re still drowning out the very sounds we’ve adapted from. We suggest a quiet wooded area, especially in cities, because trees help to drown out the sound. Take this time to listen to the birds, to the trees creek, and to all the sounds that nature has to offer. Many of the sounds we seek to soothe us before bed are the very sounds that nature has to offer. Reading in nature is great, but try not to pick a book that you want to focus on, instead pick something you can intermittently read as you get distracted by the sounds, smells, and views of nature.
Let me also mention, this isn’t weather dependent. Immerse yourself in nature for 20 minutes a day and feel yourself regain control of all of your senses and our deep connection with nature.