How unplugging and getting outside helps your brain

By Marion Fernandez
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It is undeniable that the technology we enjoy today is remarkable and should be appreciated. Yet, like most things in life, too much of a good thing is simply not good for you. When it comes to technology, whether it is your smartphone, tablet, or even computer, we easily grow dependent on it as a relief from the daily humdrum of routine. Instead of flipping through your social networking apps or playing a mindless game, you should instead get yourself outside. Being outside is not just about getting a balance for your use of technology, but it is better for your health and quality of life. Here’s how.

1. Our amount of screen time has hit epic proportions

Looking at a screen late in the evening has been linked to poor sleep patterns

A 2016 study by the Nielsen Company found that most Americans spend nearly 11 hours a day on media, regardless of the device. It makes sense of course, given the amount of information that we have at our very fingertips at any given moment. But while we are sucked into the media, our work productivity is actually decreasing due to these distractions in the workplace.

2. Being outside reduces both stress and depression

Many studies have shown that being outside makes humans happier. The fresh air, change of scenery and movement within your body will help lower your stress levels and naturally shift you toward a happier and less depressed outlook on life. The outdoors will tap into your senses differently than the indoors, allowing your brain to shift from its slump and restart on something new.

3. Being outside can help you to maintain a healthy weight

Maintaining a healthy weight

If instead of logging into Facebook on your lunch break you decided to take a 30-minute walk, you would get the blood pumping more and burn off any calories built up from being indoors all day. You will also return to work more energized and refreshed, having changed your perspective before sitting back down at a computer. Your brain will get used too and look forward to the routine.

4. Being outdoors helps students with ADHD

There was a study conducted where one group of students spent time outside and another group others did not. All the students in the study have ADHD. When given a series of tests, the students with ADHD who had been spending time outside performed remarkably better than the students who had not been spending time outside.

5. Being outside can improve your creativity

Creativity boost

The Journal of Experimental Psychology released a study that showed how walking can increase your creative production. This is because being outside provides your brain with new creative prompts, experiences, and stimuli, allowing your mind to work through problems that it previously stumbled on. So if you are stuck at work, time to get out and take a walk.

6. You can reduce your caffeine consumption

While we say that most Americans are addicted to technology, there are also plenty who are addicted to caffeine. While caffeine is not always bad for you, the concern is how much caffeine you are consuming in a day to stay functional. Getting outside in the fresh air rather than drinking a pot of coffee will put your brain in high gear, keeping you up and refreshed without overdoing it on the caffeine.

7. You could improve your self-esteem

Improved self-esteem

Being stuck inside staring at a screen that often lists out other people’s good days or success can wear us down on how we look at ourselves. Turning off your phone and getting your body moving outside can improve your self-esteem in as little as five minutes.

Remember: the goal of getting the benefits of being outside cannot be reached if you are using your phone during outside time. Take a moment to turn it all off and let yourself reset.

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