Less screen time, more green time | Notes from the Panther Lounge | David Suzuki Foundation
Photo: Less screen time, more green time

By Kathrin Majic, Development Officer, Community Partnerships

How many hours do you spend in front of a screen each day?

I work in an office, so some days spend up to 10 hours of screen time! This constant stream of information at work is a big strain on our brains.

After work, it seems more and more people are still typing away on their smart phones while making their way home.

Even at home when we want to 'relax', we often do it in front of the television or staring at a laptop.

Since starting the 30×30 challenge last week I have been thinking a lot about my balance of screen time versus green time.

So what is the antidote for too much screen time?

Authors of Your Brain on Nature cite a growing mountain of research that shows that one of the best solutions is more green time. The sights, sounds, and aromas of nature have a restorative and calming effect on our brains and our well-being.

I live downtown Toronto, so during the past week my 30 minutes in nature have often been runs in a local park. As soon as I jog onto the tree-lined path from the busy street can feel my mood and stress levels change.

Since the 30×30 challenge started I am focusing more on the smells (leaves and fresh cut grass), sounds (birds) and sights (wildflowers, trees, and shrubs) in the park and do find that it's a relaxing way to wind down at the end of the busy day.

Being mindful of the nature surrounding us while we are taking time to be in it is so important. Strolling through a park or sitting under a tree and taking notice of the sights, sounds and smells around us helps to calm elevated stress hormones in the brain, much more so than rushing through a walk in the park while checking your e-mails on your phone. So, for the rest of the month I will focus on being mindful and see what new elements I can find in the nature around me. I challenge you to do the same.

June 8, 2012
http://www.davidsuzuki.org/blogs/panther-lounge/2012/06/less-screen-time-more-green-time/

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