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The Energizer Blog

  • Writer's pictureEileen McDargh

Nature for Nurture

Woman walking with dog on her back

As a kid, my favorite thing to do when I got home from school in the then-rural spot of Sandy Springs, GA was to grab an apple and go tromping through the woods with my dog. Seems like I always came back better than when I had left the confines of a school room.

To this day, walking my beach, revives my spirit. In reading The Extended Mind: The Power of Thinking Outside the Brain, the author took clear aim at building a well-researched case for the value of nature to reduce stress, restore mental balance, and increase the ability to focus and pay attention. That’s why recess and outdoor play is so important for children.

But do we hop onto the natural daylight and outdoor train every day? My sense is that we don’t. Do we surround ourselves—indoor and out–with greenness, natural color, and plant materials? I would guess not.

We can make excuses about the weather, the seasons, and our emphasis on nose-to-the-grindstone requirements. My challenge: just stop it. You can. My brother, in the midst of New England frost and cold, brings into the house yellow forsythia branches. He lights a pine candle and walks outside to feed the birds. It’s not like my beach walk which I’ll take as soon as I finish this post, but it is bringing nature into his environment.

Interoception—awareness of our body and what it is saying to us—expands our world and ability to be more than our brain. Movement, gesture, nature are just three areas of the powerful areas explored in The Extended Mind. Do yourself a favor, read it and then tell me what you are doing differently.

I can’t wait to hear!


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