Walking in the woods makes you smarter
Seth Fischer on giving your brain a needed break, or “attention restorative theory:”
When you go for a walk in, say, the woods, you’re using a more subtle “involuntary attention” when looking at things like sunsets or squirrels. When you’re in the city, you’re always avoiding that asshole bicyclist, stepping over that pile of human poo, or spending your brain power ignoring the Rottweiler barking at you in the window. Because your “direct attention” is always focused, your prefrontal cortex is always on overdrive, and you end up not being as good at things that you need “direct attention” for, like learning at school or solving problems you haven’t faced before or resolving conflict. In other words, if you don’t take some time to look at a sunset, your brain never gets a break, and that’s not good.
Before you take a hike, see also: “The Cognitive Benefits of Interacting With Nature” or the slightly less complex, ”The Cognitive Benefits of Nature.“