How Nature Inspires Creativity

Feeling stuck in a rut and out of ideas? Maybe Mother Nature has the solution to your lack of imagination.

People who don’t identify as creatives are often caught in a cycle of repeating phrases like I’m not creative or I don’t know how to draw—effectively, they’re stuck in this mindset.

A good way to combat this pattern of thinking is to actually remove yourself from your own everyday routine for a new perspective. Shifting your routine, where you go, how you spend your days, off time and weekends could be a key way to inspire some creativity. As creativity is often times described as making or discovering previously hidden connections, it makes sense that diverting from your daily routine could help you do just that.

Whereas city life can be swamped with patterns, ruts and cycles of doing what is expected; nature can be a powerful source of creativity.

A 2012 study explored the consequences of more time spent with media and technology over nature found that backpackers who spent a few days hiking showed higher levels of creativity in a word association test than before they immersed themselves in nature.

The Science Behind Nature + Creativity

Why is nature so beneficial to the brain? Scientists believe the state of “soft fascination” – in which you can find yourself as you appreciate your surroundings on a hike or watch the water of a river flow by – is believed to calm the prefrontal cortex, allowing the brain to access other regions that can lead to insights and new ideas.

Spending time in nature also inspires a sense of awe. This feeling that the world is so much bigger than you can comprehend leads to “expansive thinking,” which allows us to consider different perspectives and can lead to innovative ideas. This could explain why so many artists – from Ansel Adams to Henry David Thoreau to Georgia O’Keefe – have found spending time in nature essential their work.

Technology Versus Nature

In everyday life in the city, your brain can easily get overwhelmed, making it hard to focus. A simple way to combat the war for our attention is to simply take a break: turn off your phones every now and again. This is especially important if you’re trying to reap the benefits of nature: a study showed that people walking through an arboretum while talking on their cell phone had brain activity levels “consistent with attention overload” while those who strolled among the plants without their phones had higher recollection of detail.

Even a simple walk in the park can boost your creativity, but longer escapes are more beneficial. Three days out in nature seems to be the sweet spot for fully letting your mind calm down from a fast-paced life.

Try getting out of a rut and give your brain a break by taking a deep dive into the outdoors. What patterns can you break? Unplug from everything. Switch up where you sleep and spend a night (or several) in a tent or a cabin in the woods. Explore new natural terrain, watch the sunset and look at the stars – without Instagramming the view. Connect with the world through your eyes instead of through a lens for a while. Bring along your paintbrushes or pencils, and see what being in nature inspires.

Once you get back to daily life, your old routine will feel new again, which is key to sparking your creativity.

Ready for your own creative escape? Book your Getaway today.