Shrink Rap: Getting Out In Nature & Your Health


Shrink Rap: Getting Out In Nature & Your Health

A Telluride local, Dr. Paul Hokemeyer is an internationally recognized expert on treating the clinical issues that arise at the intersection of relationships and behavioral health. He is frequently quoted in a host of media outlets including The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. Dr. Hokemeyer serves on the panel of experts for the Dr. Oz Show and is a Fox News analyst. Dr. Hokemeyer served on the board of directors for the New York Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, is a clinical member of the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, and received his certification as a clinical trauma professional.

Dr. Paul was recently interviewed by about the notion that getting out in nature can improve overall health, including brain health. Scroll down to find out more.

Dr. Paul Hokemeyer

Dr. Paul Hokemeyer

In fact, a new 2016 study of the UK’s first monthlong nature challenge found that after spending time in nature every day for a month, people were 30% more likely to rate their health as “excellent.”

“Researchers are currently proving what clinicians have been observing for years: That spending time communing with nature has tangible health benefits,” explains Manhattan-based therapist Paul Hokemeyer, PhD. He notes that emerging research shows that exposure to nature significantly alters brain chemistry to promote focus, cognition and mental health — as well as improved fitness.

After all, when people exercise outdoors, they actually get more brain and body benefits from their workout of choice, according to a review published in Environmental Science and Technology. In the study, researchers found that when people exercised in nature, their mental health and energy levels were better off than if they had exercised indoors. Even better, when people broke a sweat in the great outdoors, they reported greater exercise enjoyment and were more likely to stick with their workouts.

A comprehensive review published in Frontiers in Psychology in 2014 explained that outdoor environments improve our brain health through what scientists term “soft fascination.” A mental state in which the brain is attentive to the environment but not overwhelmed with the onslaught of stimulation our brains typically endure (Think: beeping phones, honking cars, etc.), soft fascination reduces the demand on the brain’s executive functions, allowing the brain to recuperate, according to researchers

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