The New Science of the Creative Brain on Nature

Below is a small excerpt from an article featured in Outside Magazine. We love how this sums up our need to be outside, moving through nature, completely present.

Enter a State of “Soft Fascination” 

There’s a scientific term for that calm, meditative feeling you get when you’re on a hike or canoeing mellow waters, and your mind is completely at ease, taking in the scenery, and maybe daydreaming a little. 

Neuroscientists call this a state of “soft fascination,” and it’s an ideal state for the activation of the imagination network. Soft fascination occurs when you’re listening to leaves rustling or watching the tide ebb and flow, and your attention is very gently focused on the sensory stimuli in front of you. In contrast, when our attention is captivated by something like an ambulance siren or a screaming child, the brain goes into “hard fascination”—you’re intensely focused on the stimuli that’s bombarding your senses.

“You can watch [natural scenery] without getting bored, but it’s not in itself mentally taxing,” Strayer says. “It can be mesmerizing… it’s a gentle capturing of attention.” And it frees your mind to wander, which is one of the best ways to get the creative juices flowing.


Hit the link to see the full feature: Outside Online

James Shaw