Get up from your desk and do these 8 nature activities to improve your mood, productivity and memory – CNBC
Whether you’re working from home or at your desk in the office, you’re probably not getting enough time out in nature.
But, being outside for a little under an hour can raise your chances of feeling happier, getting things done and retaining memories, according to Marc Berman, associate professor of psychology at the University of Chicago, who co-authored a study about previous research that examined the impact of nature on psychological health.
“Just a 50-minute walk in nature can improve your attention and concentration, [and] your working memory by about 20%,” Berman says.
“A lot of people see a lot of big mood benefits, too, from walking in nature. They feel happier, less depressed and more energetic.”
And if you can’t go outside for that long, he encourages you to aim for at least 20 minutes a day and a minimum of two hours a week. Yet, he says the more time spent in nature, the better.
It’s sort of like an investment. That 20 or 30 minutes in nature might make you more productive than just working straight through.
Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Chicago
Some activities to do as you get a breath of fresh air include:
- Taking a brisk walk
- Visiting quiet, tree-lined places in your city
You don’t even have to be outdoors to enjoy the perks of nature
To get the most benefits from nature, you have to actually go outdoors; but these activities still have similar effects on your mental health and ability to produce, Berman adds:
- Looking at pictures of nature
- Listening to nature sounds like oceans, tropical rainforests and more
- Watching videos of natural habitats
- Surrounding yourself with plants
- Viewing architecture that mimic the patterns of nature
Stepping away from your work for a few minutes may actually increase your productivity
Leaving your desk to spend time doing nature activities may seem like it will reduce the amount of work that you’re able to get done every day, but it can actually have the opposite effect, says Berman.
“It’s sort of like an investment. That 20 or 30 minutes in nature might make you more productive than just working straight through. Even losing that time in nature, you might make it up by being more productive,” he notes.
Consider eating lunch outdoors, especially if that’s the only time you can pen this into your calendar while the sun is still out.
“I think what our research is trying to say is nature is a necessity, not an amenity,” Berman says. “We have to have it, just like we have to have clean air and clean water.”