Back to Nature

Image credit Moyan Brenn

Image credit Moyan Brenn

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If you live in an urban area, do you deal with stress by taking a vacation somewhere rural or wild? Many of us do. So, have you ever wondered why and how immersing yourself in a more natural environment makes you feel different? Why do we feel restored when we take a walk in the great outdoors? 

The busy lives most of us lead these days takes us about as far as we can get from the natural world. It causes stress and makes our brains work hard to keep up. But is a simple walk in the forest enough to counteract the effects of modern living? Research is showing that the brain benefits by getting back to nature - from the foods we eat, to the pets we keep and to the places we go to relax. 

The brain's response to the sights, sounds and even smells of nature has the power to trigger our hormones, readjust our heart rate, balance our mood, perk up our cognition and boost our immune system. This week we speak with experts who explain the various ways that living green can de-stress the brain. 

Hear from Dr. Lisa Nisbet, assistant professor in the psychology department at Trent University. She studies the relationship between individual happiness and personal connectedness to nature. We also talk to Dr. Marc Berman, adjunct scientist at Baycrest's Rotman Research Institute. His research has shown how spending time with nature improves our memory and attention performance. Then hear from stress expert Dr. Matt Hill of the Hotchkiss Brain Institute at the University of Calgary and naturopathic doctor Alan Logan, co-authour of Your Brain on Nature. 

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