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Your Brain On Nature: The Science of Nature's Influence on Your Health, Happiness and Vitality

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A powerful wake-up call for our tech-immersed society, 'Your Brain on Nature' examines the fascinating effects that exposure to nature can have on the brain. A powerful wake-up call for our tech-immersed society, 'Your Brain on Nature' examines the fascinating effects that exposure to nature can have on the brain.


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A powerful wake-up call for our tech-immersed society, 'Your Brain on Nature' examines the fascinating effects that exposure to nature can have on the brain. A powerful wake-up call for our tech-immersed society, 'Your Brain on Nature' examines the fascinating effects that exposure to nature can have on the brain.

30 review for Your Brain On Nature: The Science of Nature's Influence on Your Health, Happiness and Vitality

  1. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    I absolutely loved this book. Every page was packed with information, supported by scientific research, about the positive effects on mental and physical health provided by nature. From walking in the forest to working in the garden, being close to nature lowers blood pressure, decreases stress hormones and boosts the immune system. Sitting in front of a screen (TV, computer or smart phone), on the other hand, increases stress and is gradually decreasing our average IQ. Simple activities like ke I absolutely loved this book. Every page was packed with information, supported by scientific research, about the positive effects on mental and physical health provided by nature. From walking in the forest to working in the garden, being close to nature lowers blood pressure, decreases stress hormones and boosts the immune system. Sitting in front of a screen (TV, computer or smart phone), on the other hand, increases stress and is gradually decreasing our average IQ. Simple activities like keeping plants in the house, owning a pet (especially a dog), or exercising outdoors instead of on a treadmill in front of a TV are all very beneficial. I loved the research that demonstrated that clients have more confidence in a therapist with a dog present and are more willing to share personal information. I think this is a must-read for anyone with children or grandchildren. We must turn the tide away from video games and iPADS and toward playing in the dirt and climbing trees. Amen.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Missy

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This book is about the effects of nature on your brain versus internet overload. Although not the most enjoyable read, there is a lot to be considered. What is happening to our brains as we dive head-long from the industrial age into this age of technology? I want to know because I have definitely noticed a change in my brain functions ever since I caved and purchased my first iPhone about five years ago and became addicted to scrolling over Facebook just like everyone else I know. I have defini This book is about the effects of nature on your brain versus internet overload. Although not the most enjoyable read, there is a lot to be considered. What is happening to our brains as we dive head-long from the industrial age into this age of technology? I want to know because I have definitely noticed a change in my brain functions ever since I caved and purchased my first iPhone about five years ago and became addicted to scrolling over Facebook just like everyone else I know. I have definitely drawn away from nature and can't even seem to see the beauty in things any more. I have lost my vitality in life...no excitement, no adventure, no feeling alive, no enthusiasm. I feel numb and empathetic. Photography? What's that? Gardening? No longer a desire. Reading books? At times, my brain can't focus or even understand what I'm reading. Writing? I have no thoughts. And I am just plum exhausted all the time. In the beginning of the year 2019, I began slacking off from Facebook and began reading more books to help with my issue of cognitive brain fog, but here I'm still reading books from a digital device and still feeling "the fog". On 14 October, one day before my 55th birthday, I tried deactivating my Facebook account for a while. It's a lonely, lonely world now, but I'd rather try and preserve my brain and reconnect with nature, and even reconnect with "reality". Maybe starting the new year off, I will focus on reading more physical books and lay off even the digital ebooks. Scientific research is proving that just viewing scenes of nature, and hands on nature...such as gardening, or planting and growing houseplants, does produce psychological and physiological changes in the brain. Seratonin levels, the feel good hormone, go up, reducing stress, anger and feelings of depression or even loneliness. Exercise, and especially nature-based exercises, in general improves cognitive functions in both young and old in an overly distracting world. Scientific reports show that simply walking may be one of the most effective ways to keep the brain cognitively fit, even short daily bouts of walking. Greenspace exercises (nature walks, gardening) fosters positive thoughts and decreases negative ones associated with exercising and can motivate you to stick to it. It allows you to get outside your head, and creating that "feel good" feeling without pain and suffering and focusing on performing, which leaves you wanting more...on another day. Medicinal green exercise: 1. Start low, start slow. Start with a walking speed that you enjoy, or a lightweight workout program that is short and doesn't wash you out. The intensity of a workout program can become psychologically stressful. When feeling this with any routine, know that the benefits to the brain are drastically diminished. Change to a new routine or to something completely different to one you can enjoy. 2. Perform just 30 minutes of "moderate-intensity" outdoor physical activity at least 5 days a week. Moderate activities are those that get your heart and breathing rates up a bit but don't interfere with conversation. If walking with a friend, you can still have a conversation. 10,000 steps is five miles, a tough goal to meet every day. A more realistic goal for brain benefits is a goal of 8,000 steps (3.41 miles at a slow pace). Work your way up even if you do it in small increments of 20 minutes of exercises, pushing to more long-term goal of walking for 45 minutes five days a week day or jogging 38 minutes five days a week. 3. Choose activities you love. Don't run if you prefer walking, workout at home if you hate going to the gym, or walk at the park, which gives more brain benefits anyway, if you hate walking on a home machine or the school track. 4. Draw up a scheduled plan with goals and keep a record. 5. You need "exercise snacks" throughout the day. If you do a morning 45 minute walk, but spend the rest of your day sitting on the couch in front of a screen, that 45 minute walk with the benefits is diluted. The health benefits can even get completely undone by sitting too long. Move and move often! They have now discovered that evergreen trees, such as pines and cypress, actually put off several dozen natural aromatic chemicals, an unseen airborn healer, into the air and collectively known as phytoncide. We don't always smell these chemicals, but, they are there in the air around the trees. Some of the chemicals stimulate and some are known to relax the brain. These phytoncides have been shown to lower stress hormones and reduce anxiety. It increases production of anticancer proteins in the blood and also raises levels of the "frontline immune defenders", our natural killer cells called NK cells known to fight off exposed viruses, flus and colds. Inhaling aromatic plant chemicals also increases the antioxidant defense system. Researchers found that the results in immunity improvement was notably magnified when the forest air trapped moisture. The bottom line is being in nature, even for brief periods at a time, or simply having it in our view, can reduce the stress hormone cascade and improve immune defense....longevity of life. (p. 21). ADHD rates in children, and adults, is off the charts. The interrupting act of texting and checking e-mail destroys creativity and leads us down dead ends. When in the middle of a project, say writing, for example, turn off your phone. Stopping to reply to a message or answer a phone call, will slash a person's word recall in half. Not good!! I know for a fact that when I get in my creative, artsie-fartsie mode, I can create some amazing things...as long as I go completely uninterrupted and am completely focused. When I finish the project, I usually can't even recall how exactly I created or finished it, and could probably never do it again. That's what I call me being in my "creative zone". It's this focus that kids need today but have a hard time with, and gaming does not help. Research shows that the so-called brain training games, video games, smartphone apps, and other digital training tools do not work. IQ levels have declined drastically beginning in the late 1990's since the dawn of the digital mania. Also, it's proving that the academic performance drops, especially in young children between ages 6 and 9, who are given a console, controllers, games to play, and also that so-called "brain-boosting video games" actually produce a decline in their memorization skills. Over stimulation of the brain also is very fatiguing on the brain and reduces sleep quality and quantity. The screen culture, with its high environmental and information overload, has bred insensitivity and quick judgement of others. I can think of a couple examples: road rage because someone is unaware of slowing traffic or driving wrecklessly because they are texting while driving; or someone is walking around, especially in a store, and blocking the isle or running into people because they are looking down at their phone. Nature immersion is just the opposite. It restores the brain and affords opportunuity for contemplation and reflection, and also buffers the stress of environmental overload. As we become insensitive to the distress felt by others, we, at the time, are becoming more self-absorbed (Facebook) and narcissistic....lacking empathy, conversation hogger, self-importance, plenty of shallow friendships, false image projection, a rule breaker, strives for perfection, charming but manipulative, desire for control, and never takes responsibility for their actions (there's an excuse for everything and puts the blame on everyone else). Why is it so hard to break that internet or electronic addiction? Dopamine, the feel good hormone is to blame. With every "like" for something you've posted on Facebook to every email you open, you get a dose of dopamine. And you will repeatedly check throughout the day because you're afraid you will miss something...What did they say about my post? Who all "liked" it?...to...Look at me how wonderful I am? I'm eating now? I'm cooking now? etc... CHAPTER 4 - the science and research behind aromatherapy, and it is good news. As I'm reading at 2:45am, I'm also diffusing Siberian Fir Essential Oil in my diffuser with the Christmas tree lights on. It smells amazing and good to know there is science to back the use of essential oils. Scientists have already been making use of drugs, hormones and vaccines to be inhaled through the nasal...because it works. So, it's safe to say that inhaling essential oils naturally from trees, or even from a diffuser, also works and is very healing. The intranasal is a much wider path to the brain than once thought. Plant-derived vapors are capable of entering the brain and then exiting into wide-body blood circulation. (p. 76) Isolating individual aromas allows us to have more focused treatments as scientists are just now learning the impacts certain chemicals have on our cognition, mental state and our immunity system. Plant oil vapor can enhance the production of the brain's own calming chemical (GABA) while also boosting seratonin...the moid-regulating hormone. Research showed: - Rosemary and lemon oil stimulated the brain - Lavender and rose oil relaxed the brain. - Peppermint and cinnamon decreased drivers frustration and increased alertness, while fast food and pastries aggravated drivers' frustration - Jasmine scent produced a more restful sleep and less anxiety upon waking. They also did better on cognitive testing the following day. And research has shown that it takes only a miniscule amount of these aromatic chemicals to provide health benefits. But, remember that it would also take a miniscule amount of synthetic chemicals to also influence the brain in a negative way. We have a lot of toxic things inside our homes letting off all kinds of fumes and harmful chemicals: carpet, paint, furniture, electronics, faux wood, plastics, air fresheners, etc...In this case put potted plants throughout your house. Certain plants can actually act as vaccum cleaners and clean as much as 75%, or even more, of the pollutants in the air. BEST PLANTS ARE: (Google this!!!!!!!!!!) We NEED natural sunlight provided by nature on a daily basis! When light hits our eyes, penetrating our retinas, it sets off a motion of all sorts of biophysical events unrelated to our vision. It influences our sleep, mood, and cognitive functions, and much more. Light as therapy is a real thing and very beneficial for many ailments. Today, bright light therapy is suggested for the depressive and people with serious digestive disorders, and people with eating disorders and anxiety. Sunlight plays a direct role in seratonin, the mood-regulating chemical...the brain chemical that drug companies are attempting to raise seratonin levels with the use of Prozac and all the other happy drugs. GoLITE BLU tabletop and travel-portable light therapy boxes provides the blue portion of the visible light spectrum missing during the winter in as little as 15 minutes a day. Blue light therapy has been proven by fMRI's to specifically fire up areas of the brain that involve attention and memory [Beneficial for Alzheimer's? ADHD in kids?] Depression ratings have decreased by as much as 82%. We also need complete darkness to produce melatonin, which is inhibited by light. Secretion and levels of melatonin in the blood peak between 2 am and 4 am. It doesn't take much for this to be affected, so be sure to turn off that TV or computer, AND MY KINDLE READER and/or iPHONE (400-1000 lux), which will cause a sharp drop in melatonin levels. Two hours of 300luv Interrupting the normal production of melatonin can result in any of the following: insomnia, cancers (breast), obesity, daytime fatigue, ADD, IBS, fibromyalgia, and depression. Consider taking oral melatonin if experiencing any of these symptoms. From 4800 mobile phone towers in 1990 to now well over 250,000 springing up all over the place, researchers are now finding that the electromagnetic radiation is damaging to the human brain just as much or more so than a microwave oven which increases the permeability of the blood vessels around the brain. Why is this bad? The primary function of the blood-brain barrier is to keep TOXINS, such as pesticides and other environmental contaminates, out of the brain. Here I worry for my husband who uses the wireless ear plugs to listen to music or videos on his phone and my grandchildren who will be getting special wireless earsets for game playing....all bad news for their little brains. Bad, bad, bad! As it is, we have to already deal with a new powerful wireless meter on the house, a wireless thermostat inside the house, smart TV's, smart cell phones constantly in our hands, wireless printer, wireless computer accessories (keyboard, mouse) and wireless boosters in each room to boost our slow internet. All of this is in MY house. CHAPTER 7 on gardening and wilderness camping, also considered nature-based therapies benefiting the brain. GARDENING Gardening provides "a sense of fascination"...involuntary attention and cognitive restoration, quiet, feelings of peacefulness and tranquility. This engagement with nature, in the old and the young, leads to concern for nature. GardenIng is a form of exercise and helps to maintain muscle strength and physical health theough the aging process. Gardening for 30 minutes (setting up, planting, watering) is the equivalent of a pickup game of basketball and is considered a moderate-intensity exercise. But, people who garden have a tendency to garden for more than just 30 minutes at a time. I know I do. I'll garden for hours. Gardening reduces the stress hormone cortisol. And even continues to keep it low post-gardening for quite a while afterwards, which, in turn, will give you a more positive outlook on things, on life even. Gardening promotes a sense of contentment and calm, and at the same time increases your energy levels. The bacterias, Lactobacillus bulgaricus and its partner Bifidobacteeia, are found in dirt. They are the bacterias now found in the yogurts and beverages sold in the grocery stores today. More research is proving that these bacterias not only are life-promoting and just what the digestive tracts need, but they also influence mood and cognition and reduce inflammation and oxidative stress, all of which can cause depression, anxiety, and cognitive brain fog. NOTE FOR CANCER PATIENTS: Also soil based organisms, such as Myco bacterium vaccae, can improve quality of life, depression, and anxiety when orally consumed by adult cancer patients. (p. 156) Contact and exposure to soil through gardening - digging, breathing it in, letting it touch our skin - is very beneficial. It provides a portal for beneficial bacteria to gain access to the nasal passages and gastrointestinal tract, which ultimately reaches and affects the brain. The soil is a living, breathing form of nature. (p. 156) Gardening has proven to help with cognitive functions. At least one study in 1995 showed a 50% reduction in dementia risk among older adults. (p. 156) Kids gardening learn real knowledge of science, art and of life's relations. But, unfortunately gardening in school went out with the boom of technology. Gardening changes how a child eats, more willing to eat more fruits and vegetables, and how they think about the planet. Garden with your children, even if it's a tiny little plot, or in containers on the porch. Have him, or her, water and care for it and watch it grow. It's a great fascination to kids. ADVENTURE THERAPY (P. 160) Adventure therapy is like setting a reset button for those on the daily drudgery of work and home, work and home. They may need a "healthy change for a time in the mode of living" (p. 160). This section focuses more on guided group therapy camping. NUTRITION FOR THE BRAIN The Mediterranean Diet (a nature-based diet) is recommended in this book for brain health. It protects against depression and cognitive decline in older adults, and I'm sure will significantly help children with ADHD. This diet was shown to improve "vitality"...mental vigor and feelings of alertness and contentment: - Whole grains - Fish and other seafood - Seeds and nuts - Colorful fruits and vegetables Keep in mind that an 8 oz soda can increase oxidative stress and lower blood antioxidant levels for up to four hours after consuming. I would assume that any high-fructose corn syrup product (candies, processed foods, ect...) would also affect your brain and body in the same negative way. High sources of Omega-3, which is shown to improve mood and helpful for depressive symptoms, learning disorders, and cognition in children: - Fish - Seafood - Free-range eggs - Wild game - "Open-pastured" meat only - Flaxseed - Walnuts - Chia seeds - Purslane - Berries, nuts, and seeds in small degrees Nature's brain supportive nutrients, low levels, especially of folate and B12, are associated with depressive symptoms: - B vitamins - Selenium - Zinc - Vitamin D (mood-regulating) - Magnesium (linked to dression - dark leafy greens) - Multi-vitamin-mineral supplement can improve fatigue, mood, and cognitive performance Fiber in the 5 most colorful range of vegetables and whole-grains: - Deep red/purple - grapes, blueberries, cherries, beets, etc... - Deep green - spinach, kale, etc... - Orange - carrots, pumpkins, etc... - Whites - radiahes, roots - Yellow - corn, squash, pineapple, etc... - 21 to 38 grams a day - Lack of fiber and consistently elevated blood insulin is associated with inflammation and risk of cognitive decline and depression. - Fiber rich whole grains break down slowly and does not spike blood insulin levels Antioxidants: - Cocoa antioxidants can improve memory and other cognitive functions - Green tea (protection against cognitive decline and depression) - Turmeric (improves depression) - Resveratrol (from grapes can slow brain aging) - Blueberries (can undo cofnitive deficits) LEISURE TIME vs. IDLE or SQUANDERED TIME: Leisure time is well spent - socializing, quiet time alone, communing with nature, etc... Squandered time leads to compulsively seeking overstimulation...such as in violent video games, extreme vacations, planning and living for the next moment and not the one you're in, extreme anything could possibly be a sign that your bored with your life and disconnected. Extreme anxiety and loneliness can set in and alter hormones. Be careful! VITAMIN G OF MINDFULNESS FACTOR The Vitamin G of mindfulness factor is: - the practice of paying attention to what you are experiencing in the current moment. - Enhances true connectivity to nature, creating depth to your concerns about the environment - Brings focus outside of your own self...watch the trees, the grass, the clouds, the winds, the wild animals, etc... - Vitamin G extra strength - focus on the veins in the leaves, bark on the trees, activities of insects, movement of water, etc... - Vitamin G promotes "positive" thoughts and solutions to the "leisure problem" can be found in small doses of Vitamin G. To break away from the sedentary life in front of a screen, you may need to do some volunteering in the outdoors. This will also eleviate stress.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jon

    READ THIS BOOK! We are too disconnected from the world around us!! This is an enlightening read. 4.5 /5. I almost took a star off for a silly reason. The use of the word Greenspace and later "vitamin G" were rather displeasing. The former due to its excessive use at times and the latter merely because it sounds​ ridiculous which bothered me. BUT do not let that prevent you from reading this. Everyone should give this a read. There is some incredibly important information within the pages of this l READ THIS BOOK! We are too disconnected from the world around us!! This is an enlightening read. 4.5 /5. I almost took a star off for a silly reason. The use of the word Greenspace and later "vitamin G" were rather displeasing. The former due to its excessive use at times and the latter merely because it sounds​ ridiculous which bothered me. BUT do not let that prevent you from reading this. Everyone should give this a read. There is some incredibly important information within the pages of this little green book. While I don't entirely buy into the negative ion bit, or aromatherapy, I do agree that immersion in nature can be a very healing and relaxing experience. Mindfulness is key too. We should get away from our screens and into the comforting surroundings of nature at least once in a while. The mental health benefits of doing so are something I have personally experienced and can attest to, having dealt with various mental stressors over the years. Nature, trees and water, away from the urban setting always ease the mind, improve mood, and energize me. This book serves to lend empirical evidence to what I already felt to be true about nature and the importance of it to human health both mentally and physiologically. While I may remain dubious about negative ions, and the reliance on fMRI (results of which are still up for interpretation), and the effects of multivitamins (as I've read they aren't very effective at all), this book is a wealth of critically insightful information. Too many of us ignore the world around us. We have grown numb to nature, numb to the embrace of fresh air and its revitalizing​, rejuvenating effects. I'm not talking about some pseudoscience nonsense here either. There is an important link between humans and nature, which we are quick to ignore in the face of our social networks, cellphone screens, and giant HD Tvs. My experience with city and rural life reflects much of how I feel about nature. For my first 12 years of age I was a city dweller. Thereafter I spent my teens, into young adulthood in the valley in a tiny rural community before returning in my early 20s to city life where I have remained nearly a decade as of this writing. This tug back and forth from urbanite to rural dweller and back has had a profound influence on my impressions and feelings regarding nature. I too am caught in the web of the techno-cloud. Like a fly to a spider I am lured and ensnared. I am at neverending conflict between my urban and my rural selves, a conflict I have sought a resolution to for over a decade now. It is one which prompted my recent purchase of a cheap summer home on a mountain overlooking the ocean tides of the Bay of Fundy, as an escape from the suffocating nature depriving confines of the other half of my "self", the urbanite. The internal struggle within me welled up to the point that I could not stand to live in the city if it meant severing my ties to the Valley as well. I still feel the stronger lure of my valley self, that desire to escape the bleak black fabrications of civilized man and return to a closer relationship with nature. For now I live in both worlds, but I forever feel a disconnect in one, and a reconnect in the other. The conflict rages on, as I try to find my place in and among this dual identity. It may never resolve itself. I may be forever stuck in a rift between both worlds, being pulled toward one and back into the other, just as the tidal forces lure the great Atlantic Ocean into and out of the Bay of Fundy daily. One thing is certain. Whichever path I choose, I will forever endeavor to remain connected to nature, if only in small part. For no part would mean certain death to the soul, to humanity, where even a miniscule addition of nature allows life to bloom and blossom, and the mind to heal from the traumas modernity has inflicted upon it.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Bastard Travel

    From beginning to end, this book was an exercise in cognitive dissonance for me. I'm a major proponent of the back-to-nature mentality, which I refer to as my "unga bunga bullshit" and inflict on my friends at every opportunity. So are this book's authors, and they provided chapter after chapter of studies confirming my every bias. Even biases I didn't know I had! Shinrin-yoku, Japanese for "btfo in the woods", improves your mental health on every conceivable level, including what aspects of it e From beginning to end, this book was an exercise in cognitive dissonance for me. I'm a major proponent of the back-to-nature mentality, which I refer to as my "unga bunga bullshit" and inflict on my friends at every opportunity. So are this book's authors, and they provided chapter after chapter of studies confirming my every bias. Even biases I didn't know I had! Shinrin-yoku, Japanese for "btfo in the woods", improves your mental health on every conceivable level, including what aspects of it extend to the physical. Being around dogs, cats, fish, and hamsters do, too. Eating fewer Tastykakes and more fish reduces brain inflammation, linked to improvement in mood, lower depression symptom presentation, and increased cognitive functioning. Wow! Turns out I was right about everything forever. To ameliorate any potential flagging in well-being, I self-prescribe a friendship dog and a big ol' joint of roasted meat like in Conan. Join me in the shrub, my brethren. "That's not what cognitive dissonance means," you may be saying. "Everything is great for you rn! Why you so stingy with those stars?" Let me tell you, beloved reader. Although I'm functionally paleo, and I do consider hitting a tire with a sledgehammer to be cardio, I'm also a practician clinician who reads this shit recreationally and spent the last decade arguing with people on the internet. I know a thing or two about sourcing references. Red Flag #1: The writing wasn't very good. This is excusable, but must be considered. Writing is hard, academic writing is agony, and you can't expect a dry, scientific tome of this length to be an emotional roller-coaster the whole way through. What stuck out for me were word repetitions, slips in grammar, and clunky sentence construction. A good solid edit could have fixed all of this, but didn't. Disconcerting. Red Flag #2: "For a chapter-by-chapter list of references used in this book, go to yourbrainonnature.com". What? Why? I get that you used a lot of references, but removing your scientific backing and proof from your argument by additional degrees is incredibly suspicious. I did track the references down, and they seem to be a pretty even divide between respectable sounding psych or anthropology(???) journals, and ambiguous horticultural journals no one's ever heard of. Considering the authors, that makes sense, which brings us to our next red flag. Red Flag #3: Eva Selhub, MD, and Alan Logan, ND. What the hell is an ND, you may ask? I certainly did. It means "naturopathic doctor", which is to say, not any kind of actual doctor. I tried to find more information on naturopathy thereafter and there were only two sources of information: a) Naturopathic.org, which paints all NDs as physicians who became frustrated with the pharmaceutical industry and injecting children with autism vaccines so they went rogue, quit "conventional medicine", and started prescribing essential oils b) Wikipedia.org, which was essentially a 3000-word rendition of holding up a foghorn and yelling "QUAAAAAAAAAAACKS" Red Flag #4: Eva Selhub is very well-credentialed. She's a for-real doctor of internal medicine, taught at Harvard Medical School for around 20 years, and served as Medical Director at Benson Henry Institute for Mind-Body Medicine at the Massachusetts General Hospital for 6 years. She publishes often in medical journals and shows up on Dr. Oz. Despite being nearly 50, she still lookin' kinda fresh doe. Nowadays she identifies as a "resiliency expert and executive coach" and is her own LLC, which is probably much more lucrative. The issue with lucrative is, most pyramid schemes tend to be, for the executive coach. Red Flag #5: An alarming number of medical quotes and excerpts throughout the book come from the 1700s to the early 1900s. This is intended to instill the "forgotten wisdom" motif, but we just stopped leeching people in the early 1900s. None of these attempts to poison my own well necessarily detract from the suggestions made by the research, which boil down to "hanging out in the woods is better for your mental and physical health than playing Candy Crush 15 hours a day". That's a reasonable supposition. I've gotten through some more recent and less suspect books recently with data that points the same way -- Digital Minimalism is a good one. It's an "I want to believe" situation. Everything seems to check out, but there's a fishy smell under all this patchouli.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Connie Kuntz

    DON'T JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS COVER. JUDGE IT BY ITS TITLE. I loved the title of this book, so I grabbed it and I'm glad I did. This book put a little scare in me. I thought we were outside enough, but we're not. Each of us here at Kuntz Ranch has a fairly decent relationship with the Mother Nature, but it's time to step up our game and consider our roles in nature. Are we naturalists? Are we scientists? Are we nature artists? SCHOLARS, SAINTS, AND ATHLETES Most schools will tell you what kind of an a DON'T JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS COVER. JUDGE IT BY ITS TITLE. I loved the title of this book, so I grabbed it and I'm glad I did. This book put a little scare in me. I thought we were outside enough, but we're not. Each of us here at Kuntz Ranch has a fairly decent relationship with the Mother Nature, but it's time to step up our game and consider our roles in nature. Are we naturalists? Are we scientists? Are we nature artists? SCHOLARS, SAINTS, AND ATHLETES Most schools will tell you what kind of an adult they are prepping. Boylan states they are shaping "scholars, saints, and athletes." As a homeschooler, maybe I should think about "what" am I prepping a little more. I do think the "scholars, saints, and athletes" slogan is ridiculous. I'll have to think about it. WORDS ON A PAGE There is an expression that describes bad writing: "words on a page". That is an expression that scares me as a writer. I never wanted to be accused of just putting words on a page. I am now applying a similar expression to the way we absorb nature and that expression is "get some fresh air". FRESH AIR I have never been anything but sickened when I see patients at a hospital stepping outside for a controlled amount of time for some fresh air. Images of inmates in a dirty yard under a bright sun have also always bothered me. Seeing patients at a rehabilitation/recovery center sitting outside for a scheduled amount of time also has always irritated me. None of these scenarios reflect a genuine trust in nature nor in the person in need. Ironically, hearing about the Outward Bound experience has always intrigued me to the point that I once wished I qualified for it. CALCULATED RISK I don't want to be accused of merely letting kids go outside. I don't want the timer to be set when we/they are outside. We're at an age where our natural experiences need to increase in meaning and calculated risk. I'm not trying to sound irresponsible. I'm trying to remind myself that we are homeschoolers for a reason. NO PROSE AWARDS There are all sorts of aphorisms squeezed in between "PhD type of writing"--par for the course for this type of non-fiction. It's a format I have come to expect and appreciate for purposes of clarity, but the prose itself is less than remarkable. Still, I appreciate this book and am motivated to learn from (and teach more about) nature. Signed, Scholar, Saint, and Athlete. Not.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Kelly Rice

    My wife loves the outdoors. When she's outside she sees the beauty of nature and the health benefits of outdoor exercise. I see bugs and vermin. Ever since our daughter was born, she's been pushing us to be out more and, eventually, I know this will only get worse. Much like drinking cheap skeezy beer leads to moonshine and FourLoco, this 'let's go outside' business will eventually lead to boating and camping. 'Your Brain on Nature' might well be my wife's new favorite book. Before she even fini My wife loves the outdoors. When she's outside she sees the beauty of nature and the health benefits of outdoor exercise. I see bugs and vermin. Ever since our daughter was born, she's been pushing us to be out more and, eventually, I know this will only get worse. Much like drinking cheap skeezy beer leads to moonshine and FourLoco, this 'let's go outside' business will eventually lead to boating and camping. 'Your Brain on Nature' might well be my wife's new favorite book. Before she even finished reading it she >informed< me that I would be giving it the coveted first position in my pile of books to read. I love my wife and I know it's important to foster a love of the outdoors for our daughter so I read it without complaint. 'Your Brain on Nature' does deliver exactly what it promises - a convincing argument in favor of being out more and enjoying rural, wooded and generally remote areas. It cites plenty of interesting studies and it's hard to argue with its basic premise. I was surprised how similar the results between studies on the effects of nature mirror those on the effects of music (improving mood, boosting immunity, encouraging creativity, etc) and it made me think about outdoor music festivals in a different light. It gets one star knocked off if only because the authors do let things get a bit dry and, in their zeal for the great outdoors, they tend to downplay the benefits of city life.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Abigail Rotholz

    This is a must-read for… everyone. It uses Western, empiricism-based support to explain what we have all experienced and know, maybe unconsciously, maybe just intuitively. Why are processed foods bad for us? Why does it feel so relaxing to be near water? What difference does natural or artificial lighting make? What is "fresh air" anyway, and what does it do for us? I feel so much more informed, and understand the rationale behind ideas like the promotion of a "Mediterranean" diet and turning of This is a must-read for… everyone. It uses Western, empiricism-based support to explain what we have all experienced and know, maybe unconsciously, maybe just intuitively. Why are processed foods bad for us? Why does it feel so relaxing to be near water? What difference does natural or artificial lighting make? What is "fresh air" anyway, and what does it do for us? I feel so much more informed, and understand the rationale behind ideas like the promotion of a "Mediterranean" diet and turning off electronics before bed.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Whole And

    An incredibly rich resource capturing all the research and concepts necessary to understand the connection between our wellness and the great outdoors. Unexpected areas are covered such as empathy, animals, mental health, nutrition and much more all explaining what we really already know about our need to be more in tune with mother nature in every aspect of our lives. Well done and surprisingly so.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Elaine

    This book ends with the question, "Did you get your vitamin G today?" and is full of information as to the vital necessity of nature to human health and quality of life. While at times dense and more academic than entertaining in tone, if you're interested in nature's effects on the brain, this is a book for you. This book ends with the question, "Did you get your vitamin G today?" and is full of information as to the vital necessity of nature to human health and quality of life. While at times dense and more academic than entertaining in tone, if you're interested in nature's effects on the brain, this is a book for you.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Eric Windhorst

    Interesting book that focuses mostly on the biological benefits and connecting with nature. Worth a read.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Nancy Peske

    Fascinating exploration of nature's effect on the brain and body. Much of this research is not easily accessible in the U.S., and I appreciated the engaging writing style. Fascinating exploration of nature's effect on the brain and body. Much of this research is not easily accessible in the U.S., and I appreciated the engaging writing style.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Tory

    I picked this book up hoping to learn more about forest therapy and got so much more that! This is an excellent overview and synthesis of health and mental health research about the stresses of modern life and how increasing our vitamin G (greenspace/connectedness to nature) can improve a person's contentment and quality of life. Topics covered are the benefits of greenspace and time spent in nature for restoring our cognitive fatigue (in the age of Screens), the effect of natural aromas and soun I picked this book up hoping to learn more about forest therapy and got so much more that! This is an excellent overview and synthesis of health and mental health research about the stresses of modern life and how increasing our vitamin G (greenspace/connectedness to nature) can improve a person's contentment and quality of life. Topics covered are the benefits of greenspace and time spent in nature for restoring our cognitive fatigue (in the age of Screens), the effect of natural aromas and sounds on our nervous systems, green exercise, living with animals, horticultural and wilderness therapies, nutri and ecopsychology, and eco-therapy. In "Your Brain on Nature", there are many, MANY studies cited about depression and anxiety, and the use of the ideas above in combating those conditions. In many studies, time spent in nature has a greater effect on mood than anti-depressant medications. I borrowed this book from the library, but stuck so many post-it flags into it that I've decided to buy it so that I can keep the references and loan the book to family and friends.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Nasreddine EL Guezar

    The book is all about ecotherapy, nature is a healer. how that sounds? No, seriously? nature is healer! how about you throw away your prescribed medicines for a while and start being more in contact with nature? as proved by the plenty numbers of stories and scientific studies mentioned in the book, nature is indeed a healer. The book writers argue that exposure to nature reduces stress and increases happiness, vitality and positively influences psychological health and well-being. And in turn i The book is all about ecotherapy, nature is a healer. how that sounds? No, seriously? nature is healer! how about you throw away your prescribed medicines for a while and start being more in contact with nature? as proved by the plenty numbers of stories and scientific studies mentioned in the book, nature is indeed a healer. The book writers argue that exposure to nature reduces stress and increases happiness, vitality and positively influences psychological health and well-being. And in turn if you spend too much time on a gray place with no green color hooked on screen devices your health may be affected negatively. Tips? live in a greenspace, own a pet, go hike, garden the soil, eat whole foods, watch the trees out of your windows, I don't care just get yourself close to nature. These were some of the snapshots i have taken out of the book. You may want to read this book as it is quite applicable and destined for a larger audience.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jina

    I surprised myself with how much I enjoyed this book. It can come off a little preachy sometimes, but really - what are they trying to sell me? Nothing. Sure, I find myself wanting to try aromatherapy and adding more plants to my home and office, but ultimately their message is to kill a little less time in front of screens and spend a little more time being present in nature. I could see how someone might find its content a bit overwhelming and feel like they should hide away in the mountains, I surprised myself with how much I enjoyed this book. It can come off a little preachy sometimes, but really - what are they trying to sell me? Nothing. Sure, I find myself wanting to try aromatherapy and adding more plants to my home and office, but ultimately their message is to kill a little less time in front of screens and spend a little more time being present in nature. I could see how someone might find its content a bit overwhelming and feel like they should hide away in the mountains, however the authors do make a point in saying that they definitely do no recommend taking this book to such extremes. “Our entire discussion, everything we have included in this book on the connection between nature and brain help boils down to the phrase: No Health without mental health.” Yet, our society really doesn’t value metal health problems over physical health problems.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Michele Feng

    A very insightful book. I always had some superficial knowledge on the variety of topics discussed in this book, never to an extent of realizing how pivotal each area under discussion has a stronghold and decisive impact on how I now interpret the immense beneficial factors involved with nature's influence on personal well-being. I now view the beneficial impacts delivered by various forms as discussed in this book with a complete different perspective. Some of the methodologies I am currently p A very insightful book. I always had some superficial knowledge on the variety of topics discussed in this book, never to an extent of realizing how pivotal each area under discussion has a stronghold and decisive impact on how I now interpret the immense beneficial factors involved with nature's influence on personal well-being. I now view the beneficial impacts delivered by various forms as discussed in this book with a complete different perspective. Some of the methodologies I am currently practicing, some others however, I will just have to be complacent and mold my own benchmark by adapting and formulating my own goals tailored by my own personalized "innovative" living. ultimately, consuming abundant end-results, as so meticulously highlighted by credible scientific statistics. An excellent read!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jane

    An excellent book, well organised into themed chapters. Some of the studies mentioned were ones that I’d come across in other reading on the theme of nature, some were new to me. A couple of years ago I realised that nature is where I find my sense of awe, of wonder, of spirituality. During the various lockdowns I’ve appreciated my local nature, the small wonders, immensely - the sound of the sparrows in my garden (now frequent visitors due to the food we’ve put out for them), the occasional urb An excellent book, well organised into themed chapters. Some of the studies mentioned were ones that I’d come across in other reading on the theme of nature, some were new to me. A couple of years ago I realised that nature is where I find my sense of awe, of wonder, of spirituality. During the various lockdowns I’ve appreciated my local nature, the small wonders, immensely - the sound of the sparrows in my garden (now frequent visitors due to the food we’ve put out for them), the occasional urban fox sighting, the squirrels in the local parks. Learning how my brain responds to nature has been fascinating.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Bethany Caley

    This book is incredibly detailed and thorough, really diving into the influence nature has on both our physical and mental health. It covers many topics and how they affect our brains including technology, green exercise, diet, animals, horticulture and more. This is a really well thought out book absolutely full of information and advice on how to get more connected with nature in order to benefit your personal health as well as the health of the planet.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kris

    Great Read Excellent book if you are interested in topics such as psychology, nature, history, future etc. I thoroughly enjoyed the book. I often found it a little repetitive but the numerous studies delve deeper into what we already suspect to be true. Loved the book and will continue to delve in and out of it again. Give it a go!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Sonya Zielinski

    An incredibly concentrated dose of nature's benefits and the detrimental effects that occur as a result of separation from nature backed by loads of scientific references. My only complaint is that the content was not very well organized, and the authors seemed to jump from subject to subject sometimes with no clear connection between the topics. An incredibly concentrated dose of nature's benefits and the detrimental effects that occur as a result of separation from nature backed by loads of scientific references. My only complaint is that the content was not very well organized, and the authors seemed to jump from subject to subject sometimes with no clear connection between the topics.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Emilie

    Altough the book is a bit outdated, simply because of the year it was written in, it's a great incentive to go and take a good long walk in the nearest forest. For anyone who likes nature or would like to have a good reason to spend more time in it, this is a great book. I would gladly recommend it to anyone who wants to learn and who likes nature. Altough the book is a bit outdated, simply because of the year it was written in, it's a great incentive to go and take a good long walk in the nearest forest. For anyone who likes nature or would like to have a good reason to spend more time in it, this is a great book. I would gladly recommend it to anyone who wants to learn and who likes nature.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    Excellent and insghtful. Supported by decades of scientific studies from a variety of resources. It looks at not only the benefits of spending time in nature bit also the other aspects such as the sounds and smells and even clean eating.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    Fabulous book! Quite readable but extremely informative. I'd recommend it to anyone, and particularly those working in mental health. In a couple of places, I disagreed with the authors' conclusions and assumptions, but I'm bound to be picky as this is my line of work. Overall, very impressed! Fabulous book! Quite readable but extremely informative. I'd recommend it to anyone, and particularly those working in mental health. In a couple of places, I disagreed with the authors' conclusions and assumptions, but I'm bound to be picky as this is my line of work. Overall, very impressed!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Amanda Talley

    Good information but does not cite sources and encourages one to visit their website for sources. Unfortunately, as a result it is likely to get lumped with other non-reputable sources and the information largely discounted. Not very well written, either.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Alicia

    This book delivered! It is a broad-based approach to the benefits of nature immersion. While broad, it is not shallow. The authors did their research. I found it to be interesting & thorough at the same time. Great job, Eva Selhub & Alan Logan!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Igor

    A soon as I started to read this book, I invested in my own garden .. incl. a space for the kids to grow vegetables. Thought provoking, an important book if you ask me ... .

  26. 5 out of 5

    SHUiZMZ

    Very eye-opening read.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Nate

    Eye opening Highly recommend reading this book if you’re interested in learning about outdoor and environmental benefits you could be gaining in your lifestyle .

  28. 4 out of 5

    Don Weymouth

    Some really great points about nutrition, the positive impacts of pets and interfacing with nature.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jade

    A bit outdated, and hammers a bit too much on the "technology bad" bit, but overall a really insightful, motivating, and interesting book. A bit outdated, and hammers a bit too much on the "technology bad" bit, but overall a really insightful, motivating, and interesting book.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Keith

    The authors explain the negative effects on the brain of the western lifestyle and how getting more "nature" and changing out habits can improve our brain health. They also review a lot of research that has been around for decades in some cases but seems to be missing from the mainstream as it hinders their sales of patented drugs that are really nothing more than dangerous placebos. The part about aromatherapy is a bit misleading perhaps because there is still not enough research done on most oi The authors explain the negative effects on the brain of the western lifestyle and how getting more "nature" and changing out habits can improve our brain health. They also review a lot of research that has been around for decades in some cases but seems to be missing from the mainstream as it hinders their sales of patented drugs that are really nothing more than dangerous placebos. The part about aromatherapy is a bit misleading perhaps because there is still not enough research done on most oils. Some have been tested a bit more thoroughly than others but in general most have barely been tested scientifically. It's probably the case that scientific evidence would back up a lot of what's been said for thousands of years about certain oils, but we don't have proof just yet. Another thing is when the authors talk about diet, they mention a number of times that saturated fat had negative health effects. But this is not true. Saturated fat...from CAFO animals is bad, and it's not the fat that's bad, it's the pesticides and toxins stored in the fat. Our bodies need saturated fat, and it is one of the best fats to eat as it is very stable and takes a long time to turn rancid. It also won't turn rancid under heat like vegetable oils will. I wish the authors would have researched this point a little more as they seem to understand there is a difference in CAFO animals and free range animals. They just missed the point on saturated fat. Most likely the problem is that a lot of the research that was done on red meat and saturated fat by vegan organizations was fraudulent. The studies used CAFO cows that were also given aspartame in their diet (or in some cases other chemicals). Unless someone really reads the details of these studies they won't realize these vegan groups set out to commit fraud and perpetuate a myth. Most likely the authors just missed this and they aren't the only ones that have. The rest of the book seems really well researched and as far as I can tell the authors didn't miss anything else major. After reading this you will have a new appreciation for fresh air and you might even want to read the book outside.

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