Key Research

Science of Awe and Being Outside

Awe: That sense of wonder we feel in the presence of something vast that transcends our understanding of the world—like a wide open vista

Being Outside: Immersing yourself in nature

Articles

Awe, the Small Self and Prosocial Behavior - Journal of Personality and Social Psychology

"Awe...serves a vital social function. By diminishing the emphasis on the individual self, awe may encourage people to forego strict self-interest to improve the welfare of others..."

Potential for Awe - Science of Learning

"Whatever shape it takes, this perception of vastness upends our existing understanding of the world. It exposes us to things we don’t yet understand..."

This is Your Brain on Nature - National Geographic

"When we slow down, stop the busywork, and take in beautiful natural surroundings, not only do we feel restored, but our mental performance improves too... Strayer (University of Utah Cognitive Psychologist) has demonstrated this with a group who performed 50 percent better on creative problem-solving tasks after three days of wilderness backpacking. The three-day effect, he says, is a kind of cleaning of the mental windshield that occurs when we’ve been immersed in nature long enough..."

Take Two Hours of Pine Forest and Call Me in the Morning - Outside Magazine

"Japanese researchers understand our draw to nature, but American researchers understand our pull away from it—our distractions, inertia and addictions. They want to help motivate us, to make our doses of nature so palatable and efficient that we hardly notice them. This is the next frontier..."

Movements for Change

Changing Company Culture Requires a Movement, Not a Mandate - Harvard Business Review 

Both company and social movements start small. A movement happens when a person or grou is moved deeply by something that needs to change and dissatisfied with the the status quo. “It turns into a movement when a voice arises that provides a positive vision and a path forward that’s within the power of the crowd…They begin with a group of passionate enthusiasts who deliver a few modest wins. While these wins are small, they’re powerful in demonstrating efficacy to nonparticipants, and they help the movement gain steam. The movement really gathers force and scale once this group successfully co-opts existing networks and influencers. Eventually, in successful movements, leaders leverage their momentum and influence to institutionalize the change in the formal power structures and rules of society.”

Books

Go Wild - John Ratey

Belong: Find Your People, Create Community, and Live a More Connected Life - Radha Agrawal

Your Brain on Nature - Eva M. Selhub and Alan C. Logan 

Spark - John Ratey and Eric Hagerman 

Lead like a Guide - Christopher Maxwell 

The Adventure Gap - James Mills 

The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative - Florence Williams

Videos

Exercise and the Brain - John Ratey, book summary

We need to talk about an injustice - Bryan Stevenson, TED Talk

The Brain Changing Benefits of Exercise - Wendy Suzuki, TED Talk

Other Articles

The Power of Awe: Putting Its Benefits to Work - University of Pennsylvania - Wharton Executive Education

Will You Be E-Mailing This Column? It’s Awesome - The New York Times