Up@dawn 2.0

Friday, February 24, 2017

The Nature Fix

A new book I've been enjoying, but a phenomenon we should all be concerned about: our species' increasing distance from direct and regular encounters with the natural world.

And for those of you who were amused by the provenance of Dolly the sheep's moniker, you might also be interested in Florence Williams's previous book: Breasts: A Natural and Unnatural History

And, may I also recommend:


  1. I've actually noticed a dramatic boost in my mood after spending time outside these past few warm days. I thought it was just because I've missed being able to live outside in the summer months, but there is actually a good bit of research backing up the cognitive benefits of "ecotherapy"!

    The studies referenced in this article showed that people who spend more time outside have a greater sense of vitality, which boosts their resilience to illness: http://www.rochester.edu/news/show.php?id=3639

    Spending time in nature is also a promising means to alleviate the symptoms of depression: https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2015/06/how-walking-in-nature-prevents-depression/397172/

    So what parts of the brain are most effected by getting outside? According to the research referenced in this article, going for an outdoor walk decreased activity in the subgenual prefrontal cortex, which is associated with brooding, or obsessing over the faults we find with ourselves and our lives: https://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/07/22/how-nature-changes-the-brain/?_r=0

  2. Right-most of us spend too much time in our subgenual prefrontal cortexes, and need to be more peripatetic!