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My resolution for 2009: RECESS

Interaction with nature provides, for most of us, lots of stimuli of inherent interest. We like to look at birds, flowers, and trees. Urban environments, in contrast, provide too many stimuli to which we direct attention–for example, the car that you’re afraid won’t slow down at the intersection–and also pelts us with so many stimuli that we must do a lot of suppression to avoid being overwhelmed. So interaction with nature is restorative because it provides a rest for the directive attention system.

This directive type of attention is, many people believe, especially important to schooling. This finding fits well with other data showing that recess does provide a cognitive boost for students.

Dan Willingham

LINK: Why Nature and Recess Might Help Kids Learn

I could not agree more with this. It is pleasing to find a scientific backing for something I have believed all of my life.

Last year during a small group meeting at my church, our question for the evening was “What is something that you have LOST since your childhood that would would like to have back?” My answer was “Nature.” As my responsibilities have mounted in adulthood and my access to exciting electronic stimuli has grown, the thing that seems to have been squeezed out of my life to make them fit is time alone in the outdoors.

I know that I am a better person after I have been outdoors. I am calmer, friendlier, and feel overall “wiser.” Not wiser as in “smarter,” but more in tune with the world. This article has helped me identify WHY I have that feeling. This brings me to the important question – If I know this is true, why have i somehow stopped immersing myself in nature?

Therefore, I am resolving to actively take time to be outdoors in 2009.

Posted in My Thoughts, Quotes, Research Says....