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The results showed that those who went for a wander amongst the trees improved their performance by almost 20%. By comparison, those whose walk took them down a busy street achieved no appreciable improvement in their score. On the upside, they did come back with fizzy pop and fast food to keep them going in the afternoon.
Even just looking at a picture of a tranquil scene as opposed to a busy cityscape can induce a calming effect that improved performance – though not as dramatically as actually going for a walk in the woods.
You’re probably wondering why this is. Well, our attention is grabbed by whatever is most immediate to our survival. For instance, the danger posed by oncoming traffic when crossing a road will be foremost in our mind. By comparison natural scenes don’t engage our ‘involuntary attention’ and we can let our minds wander free and relax.
Still can’t see the wood for the trees? You need to get out more.