Nature is beautiful. Having a lot of greenery in cities is not only aesthetically pleasant and good for the environment, but it could also be critical to how well your brain performs.
A study found that people who took short breaks to glance at a grassy area for as little as 40 seconds could solve a task better than those who didn't. The study also showed that looking at an image of nature could also help people concentrate and perform better.
One theory to why this works is that our brain has evolved to associate nature and greenery as something positive and comforting. Maybe because we thrive where plants thrive.
If you live in a city and don't get exposed to the wild as much as your ancestors it's good to take some time for a little “nature boost”.
- Make sure to have a lot of plants and flowers at home and in your office (It's a bonus that plants have been said to boost creativity as well!)
- Take green micro-breaks on a regular basis
- During the break, look out the window and aim for a tree, a bush, a lawn or whatever greenery you can find.
- Observe it for 40 seconds.
In case your view only consists of buildings and pavement, take a quick walk outside to the closest greenery, or go hang out by the nearest collection of plants at work.
Lee, K. E., Williams, K. J., Sargent, L. D., Williams, N. S., & Johnson, K. A. (2015). 40-second green roof views sustain attention: The role of micro-breaks in attention restoration. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 42, 182-189.