Stress levels, blood pressure, and anxiety down. Creativity and connectedness to nature up. All in 72 hours. Not bad. Not bad at all.
A case study conducted between 7 – 10 September 2017, brought together a group of people from high-stress jobs, including a New York City event coordinator, a Munich police officer, and a Parisian taxi driver, and placed them in glass cabins on an island in Sweden. Their mobile phones were taken away, and they engaged in fishing, swimming, and cooking around a campfire.
They kept detailed journals and objective measures were taken as well. The results were impressive:
- A 70 percent decrease in reported stress levels;
- A decrease in systolic blood pressure from 128 mmHg to 117 mmHg (“normal” is usually stated as 120 mmHG;)
- A decrease of 10 beats per minute in heart rate;
- A decrease in anxiety using the STAI – State Trait Anxiety Inventory;
- An increase in connectedness to nature;
- An increase in creativity using a remote associations/creativity test.
What stood out for me is the amount of encouragement – particularly in the US – for being relentless. For working non-stop, particularly when in pursuit of a goal. Yet the study suggests that unplugging and hitting the pause button can not only be wonderful for our physical well-being, but can also increase our creative thought.
While we may not be able to get away to a glass cottage in an idyllic setting for 72 hours, almost all of us can escape to a back yard or a park for a quick recharge. Do so. Give yourself the gift of pausing. Turn your phone off. Take a deep breath. Tend a garden. Work in the soil. Get your feet wet. Connect to the earth.
It’s good for your mind, body, and spirit. And as icing on the cake, it’s good for business.