Home » Classics, Holistic Health, Lifestyles of the Calm & Focused, Recommended Scrolls (Book Reviews), Uncategorized, Videos

Mental Fatigue, Stress & Attention Deficit: Their Societal Cause & Your Personal Cure…

15 June 2010 4 Comments


Back in 1995, Stephen Kaplan, a psychology professor at University of Michigan, wrote an article called The Restorative Benefits of Nature: Towards an Integrative Framework saying that:

scholar cartoon imageDirected attention plays an important role in human information processing; its fatigue, in turn, has far-reaching consequences. ‘Attention Restoration Theory’ provides an analysis of the kinds of experiences that lead to recovery from such fatigue (and) natural environments turn out to be particularly rich in the characteristics necessary for (such) restorative experiences.

An integrative framework is proposed that places both directed attention and stress within the larger context of human-environment relationships.”

In other words, both stress and the inability to focus are caused by confinement to synthetic, man-made, environments, and time in Nature is the “restorative experience” that cures those ailments…

Although Kaplan didn’t specifically state (at least not in the abstract) that man-made environments are inherently conducive to stress and mental fatigue, it’s common sense.

Ask yourself: if a natural environment provides “restorative experiences” for a fatigued mind, what type of environment induced that fatigue in the first place???

The “human-environment relationship” of our fast-paced, technocratic society is predisposed towards stress and mental fatigue. Our workspaces (your typical office cubicle or student classroom) condition our bodies for sensory-deprivation, and our electronic tools (cellphones, PDA’s, mini-laptops and other ALWAYS-ON device) rewire our brains for what researchers call “continuous partial attention.”

Listen to this:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

———— The Natural Solution ————-

While being conscious of all this is part of the solution, you can take things to a whole new level of freedom for yourself by learning to interface with nature as an instructor: by learning to be silent and still, and learning to see nature’s ways as a theoretical blueprint for your own life-experience…

I wrote a poem called “Nature’s Disicple,” about a year ago (it’s part of the mixtape I mentioned yesterday) on this. Here’s a short clip from it to show you what I mean:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

tree painting image

Time spent in nature enhances creativity, improves concentration, strengthens physical wellness, maintains psychological contentment and more, and this obvious truth has been confirmed by studies from the University of Illinois, the University of Michigan and many others.

For more research, check out the books:
>> Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder,
>> 4 Arguments for the Elimination of Television,
>> The Practicing Mind: Bringing Discipline & Focus into Your Life and
>> Find Your Focus Zone: An Effective New Plan to Defeat Distraction & Overload.

For your own benefit though, make it a habit to spend time in the natural world at least once a day (the more natural the environment, the better, i.e: there’s a difference between being in nature and just being outdoors). It’s about that time of the year anyway…


>> How Our Society is Keeping You From Being Productive
>> Pro. Stephen Kaplan’s original article
>> Heard the Mixtape Yet??? Here’s Some More Dope Samples…
>> How to Relax Your Way to Greater Achievement
>> The 4 Elements: A Quick Morning Routine to Keep You Focused, Engaged, Creative & in Harmony w/ YOURSELF


  • Erin said:

    I feel this because Nature is where I find my peace. I am so blessed to live in a place where there are trees, birds, deer and so much GREEN LIFE to look at. Sadly, environments like this are usually often found in Caucasian neighborhoods. I was reading something that said that often Blacks and Latinos live in inner-cities where it is not even quiet enough to think. If it isn’t somebody bickering, it’s someone’s loud music, someone’s dog barking or the sirens from the police/ fire trucks. This is all by design. If we could take time out to go back into our nature, and be still and really listen to the wind and trees…we would be our Divine Selves. Love the post. Keep up the good work. Love always, Afiyana

  • Bryan Ogilvie (author) said:

    Thanks Queen…

  • Filip said:

    Excuse me, this is not really the topic, but can you tell me who is the author of the picture with the tree on it? I would like to contact the author, because I like this picture very much. Thanks for help.

  • Bryan Ogilvie (author) said:

    Actually Filip, no, I can’t. I have no recollection of where I originally even found the picture, let alone who drew it. Sorry I couldn’t be of more help (I should of credited the artists initially), but take care.

Leave your response!

Add your comment below, or trackback from your own site. You can also subscribe to these comments via RSS.

Be nice. Keep it clean. Stay on topic. No spam.

You can use these tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

This is a Gravatar-enabled weblog. To get your own globally-recognized-avatar, please register at Gravatar.