Why You Should Work Outside
Mark’s Daily Apple
by Mark Sisson: Top
7 Most Common Reactions to Your High-Fat Diet (and How To Respond)
disorder" running rampant throughout contemporary society before.
Kids are more likely to control characters in video games who explore
vast outdoor worlds (and complain about the graphics "not being
realistic enough") rather than get out and explore the real world
themselves (which has excellent graphics, a pretty snazzy physics
engine, and killer AI). Adults are likely to go entire days without
stopping to smell a flower, pluck a leaf, caress a blade of grass,
or even see a shred of foliage. We've also written about some of
the incredible health benefits that occur once people correct that
deficit and go forest
bathing, or hiking,
with animals, or even planting a small
garden on their property. In other words, a lack of
nature seems to cause physical and mental health problems, while
an exposure to nature seems to improve physical and mental health.
going on here?
If you look
at things through the lens of evolution, you notice that we're doing
things differently than we've ever done before. People live in suburbs
or urban centers. Rural communities are shrinking, urban sprawl
is widening. Green space is disappearing. And we're suffering.
A lack of nature is incredibly unhealthy. Being in and around leaves
and trees and sand and bugs and dirt and desert and all the rest
is the natural state of the animal known as man. It's home. It's
in our blood and in our genes. We might have adapted to spending
lots of time indoors, but not completely. The evidence is all around
us, if you just pay attention:
The young child
who runs around the park like a chicken with his head removed just
to do it.
teen, whose parents drag him kicking and screaming to the redwoods
for a hike, who has to leave behind his iPhone, who enjoys himself
despite his best efforts to the contrary.
when you walk through the grass with bare feet as the sun dips below
the horizon and you're hit with a flood of purples and pinks, where
if you didn't know better you wouldn't be able to tell if it was
dawn or dusk.
the office worker who goes on vacation to Costa Rica, does nothing
but sit on the beach at the edge of a jungle teeming with howler
monkeys and impossibly brightly-colored birds for two weeks, and
comes back healthier, happier, stress-free, and down ten pounds.
Yeah, for a
great many people, work stinks. Actually, let's put that a little
differently: For a great many people, indoor work stinks.
What if it didn't have to be like that? What if you could
work outside, commune with nature as you typed, feel the grass underfoot
as you brainstorm, and hear not the drone of the overhead lighting
but rather the chirp of the bird, the caw of the crow, and the overpowering
stillness of the outdoors? There's very little direct research
dealing with the effect of working outside versus indoors, but I
think we can make some predictions based on the considerable evidence
for the benefits of being outside in general.
the benefits of working outdoors aren't always obvious. What
does your boss care if you feel more relaxed when you take your
work outside? If it doesn't translate to improved earnings, the
higher-ups generally aren't going to take it into account. They
might care on a personal level, but there is no way to accurately
or reliably quantify the benefits to the business. Or if you're
the boss, either of employees or yourself, why should you want to
switch everything up and start working outside? What's in it for
you, besides feeling better and some random health benefits? How
will it affect a person's ability to work?
most obvious problem with work is job-related stress. We're pushed
too hard for too little pay. This can be stressful. We're doing
something we'd rather not, rather than doing something we actually
enjoy. This is stressful as well. We're competing with our workmates
for promotions, pay raises, or even just to keep our jobs. Such
competition, especially prolonged competition, can be stressful.
We're looking over our shoulders, worrying about layoffs and mergers
and fluctuations in other markets that affect our employment. This
can be stressful, especially because so much is ultimately out of
our immediate control. It's no wonder, then, that people assume
that the stress comes entirely from the actual work. Doing anything
for eight hours at a time, especially when you don't particularly
care for it and particularly when you sit
down the entire time with nary a break, can be draining and
stressful. You toss in a long commute and a boss you hate, and things
get even worse.
the rest of the article
to Lew's recent podcast with Mark Sisson
June 11, 2012
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