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Written By Karl VonBerg.

Posted on June 10th, 2024.

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Want to keep healthy and enjoy the natural world?  Try the 20-5-3 rule for health in the natural world.  These are some fascinating new findings.

The nature pyramid.

1. 20 minutes, 3 times per week out in the natural world with NO CELL PHONE USE!

This lowers stress levels and boosts memory and cognition (acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience, and the senses).  It also boosts feelings of wellbeing.

While in the natural world, we enter this mode of “soft fascination”.  It is mindfulness that gives you more ability to think, create, process information, and execute tasks.  This is something that you, your significant other, or your team at work could appreciate.  Soft fascination is similar to meditation. It is worth noting that cell phone use detracts from the whole experience.

A walk in a park at lunch hour, or around your property before or after work can provide this mindfulness.

2. 5 hours every month in a semi-wild natural setting like a wooded state park.

More time in wilder spaces provides more benefits.  It makes you feel better.  You are more likely to be happier and less stressed.  The wilder the natural location the better.  If you own a large property, you may find a location for this time on your own property.  Otherwise, trails in a state forest or state park can work.

Woman hiking on a wooded trail.

Here is one interesting fact discovered in this research.  The natural world affects our mind and body by stimulating and soothing it via fractalsFractals are complex patterns that are repeated over and over in different sizes and scales.  Examples are:

  • Trees – big branches to smaller branches to finer branches.
  • River systems – big river to smaller rivers to streams to little rivulets.
  • Mountain ranges
  • Clouds
  • Seashells

The man-made world doesn’t have fractals.  It is usually flat with right angles like a building.

Fractals are organized chaos which our brains seem to really like.

3. 3 days a year spent off the grid in a natural setting camping or in a cabin. This can be alone or with friends.

Cabin in woods in the fall.

This time away from the hustle and bustle of normal life can reset your thinking, boost creativity, tame burnout, increase problem-solving ability and help you feel better.  The natural world can lift your spirit via sounds and smells, or even via the feeling of the sun warming your skin. 

This 3-day escape causes your brain to ride alpha waves, which are what increases during meditation.  People with PTSD found their symptoms and stress levels to drop by 29% and 21% respectively.  Relationships, happiness, and general satisfaction all improved.

It is interesting that your health improves whether exercising or just relaxing.

Ready to notice your improvements in attitude and health?  Schedule in doing the parts of the nature pyramid.

This blog was written with information from an article by Michael Easter called The ’20-5-3’ Rule Prescribes How Much Time You Should Spend Outside, which was adapted from his book The Comfort Crisis: Embrace Discomfort to Reclaim Your Wild, Happy, Healthy Self.


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