Could You Have Nature Deficit Disorder?

Depressed, anxious, or have trouble focusing? A new study says you might need a walk in the park.

BY Sam Page

April 29 2014 3:00 AM ET

You’ve heard of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) — you know:  anxious, depressed, trouble focusing.  But you may not have ADD at all — you might just be suffering from a lack of raw physical contact with the great outdoors. Scientists are calling this Nature Deficit Disorder. And new research from the University of Illinois shows that interaction with nature significantly reduces symptoms of NDD.

People who exercise outside are less likely to get sick, be stressed, become aggressive, and are more adaptable to life’s unpredictable turns.  According to the study: ”Overall, our findings indicate that exposure to ordinary natural settings in weekend activities may be widely effective in reducing attention deficit symptoms.” 

It makes sense — especially when you consider the Biophilia hypothesis, a scientific theory that suggests there is an instinctive bond between human beings and nature's other living systems.

Here is your NDD challenge: For the next 28 days, make a concerted effort to exercise outdoors in a natural setting for a little while every day. Get your heart rate up, enjoy the great outdoors, and see what a difference it makes.

Check out 12 Ways to Self-Soothe.

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