A friend just sent me a YouTube video of birds singing in the woods. I was totally consumed by something I was writing at the time, and my first thought was “This is stupid. Take a nature break NOW?”
But as I’ve learned over the years, sometimes it pays to stop, take a sec, and reassess. “What the heck,” I thought. “Worth a shot.” So I sat and listened. And, despite my old buddy skepticism, I was soon smiling. I felt myself breathe out and begin to relax. Hadn’t even realized how unrelaxed I was.
Here’s the science behind taking a nature break.
First of all, it is important to know that even if you think you are the greatest multi-tasker of all time, constant work does not make for the best quality of productivity. Just productivity. There’s a difference.
Turns out that as much as being in nature is good for us, even the sounds and pictures of nature can enhance our mood, help lower blood pressure, possibly even improve concentration. Sounds such as birds chirping or music we love can lead to your brain releasing mood enhancing neurotransmitters.
And one study tells us that the more stressed you are, the more this exposure to nature (even artificial nature) can add to your body’s sense of relaxation. Although, interestingly, if you are very relaxed already, it might work (slightly) in the opposite direction.
Take a nature break with the help of Google.
So how do you find this nature music or scenes of nature? Will it cost you thousands of dollars? Not at all. Simply google “nature sounds” and check out the ones that feel most relaxing and reinvigorating to you and your spirit.
And for a certain reader whose boss drives her crazy with his noise, playing bird sounds all day on a continuous loop might be transporting for you — and a lovely revenge. Now I am NOT suggesting you actually do this, but I bet the idea made you smile. That alone brings your brain into a healthier state.
OK. Maybe not out loud.
If you do decide to take a nature break at work, unless you have a private office, probably best to use earbuds or headphones. Unless you don’t mind annoying your coworkers or maybe even getting fired. 🙂
And to offer a truly radical idea … if you can get yourself to the real thing, even better. But if you can’t, finding a way to regularly listen to and watch scenes of nature may be a simple, healthy habit that pays off big time.
Some more articles to help:
And if you do need to quit your job