Mental Health

Going Green: ADHD and a Walk in the Park

With the advent of Earth Day 2021 it seems a great time to explore the effects of green spaces on ADHD. Here’s a scientific study you need to know about. In 2009, Andrea Faber Taylor and Frances Kuo from the University of Illinois published a paper in the Journal of Attention Disorders called Children with Attention Deficit Disorders Concentrate Better After Walk in the Park.  Before we get to the findings, here’s some background. Faber Taylor and Kuo talk about theories of ADHD. One—called Attention Restoration Theory (ART)—suggests that there are two types of attention exercised by all brains. One type is deliberate, effortful focus, the kind you use when you are deliberately learning something that can’t be grasped easily. The second type is involuntary, effortless attention, the kind we exercise when we aren’t learning something specific or hard, but just absorbing the world around us or making fast connections when learning is super easy or entertaining for our brains.  Scientists thinking about Attention Deficit Disorders have hypothesized that the second kind of attention is intact in ADHD—the kind where you can absorb what is pleasing around you without too much strain. So, individuals with ADHD can focus on activities they enjoy for hours without much fatigue....