The Nature Effect: How a Walk Outside Could Improve Your Productivity

Not my backyard.

Today was a day full of meetings. First, headed down to Pacific Radio Group to do an on-air interview on the Maui Breakfast Club Show to promote the upcoming Plant a Wish tour.

Second, had a long sit down at my house with Katie, the woman I am co-producing TEDxMaui with, which was great.

Before she left, we decided to take a short walk around the property I live on – it’s got a field full of beautiful, rare native Hawaiian trees of various ages, a mandala-shaped garden, and other sights. I pinch myself every day. We wandered for a while, filled up our senses and noticed aloud that we began breathing differently. We both had more work ahead of us for later in the day, but the walk felt necessary. Later, after we had parted ways to do our own thing, I noticed something. Even though I had been working from 8am until 5pm straight, the walk in nature allowed me another several more hours of productive brainstorming, some proposal writing, and social networking this evening. Heck, I’m here at 11:00pm writing this blog post, aren’t I?

Plant a Wish: New York. Joe and a young girl planting a native tree in the Bronx, NYC.

I swear, I am totally going to bed right after this. However, I firmly believe that we should all take a moment out of the middle of our work day to stop, find a park, walk outside, get our heart rates and retinas back in healthy working order and bask in the natural world.

In Japan, its a prescribed treatment called Shinrin-yoku, or “forest bathing“. Have a look at this NY Times article that says that exposure to plants and parks boosts immunity. It also can help kids with ADHD, according to researcher Frances “Ming” Kuo of the Landscape and Human Health Laboratory at the University of Illinois. Ming graciously granted me an interview for our  Plant a Wish film and is a huge inspiration for doing the project.

The conclusion? There’s world lot of good that happens to us when we’re outside with our feet on the ground. How often do you get outside during your work day? How often to you bathe in nature? How can you make a small change to make it a priority?

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3 thoughts on “The Nature Effect: How a Walk Outside Could Improve Your Productivity

  1. Pingback: My friends are cool week continues … introducing Sara. « Going with the flow …

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