Next post : Layla F Saad’s Writing Cabin: The body doubling group for writers chevron-right

      How to let nature power your productivity

      How to let nature power your productivity

      Have you ever stood at the edge of a vast body of water and felt almost breathless at the magnitude of what’s before you?

      The grandeur of nature has a way of putting things into perspective. It encourages each of us to be more attentive in our relationships with those around us and, more importantly, with ourselves.

      The German-American psychoanalyst Erich Fromm was the first to introduce the term biophilia, which he defined in his 1973 book The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness as “the passionate love of life and of all that is alive.”

      Biophilia literally translates from the Greek as ‘love of life’.

      Bios = life

      Philia = fondness

      Biophilia = love for life.

      It’s the idea that humans possess an innate tendency to seek connections with nature. We’re biologically driven to interact with other forms of life such as animals and plants.

      Experience the hidden benefits of nature with awe walks

      Awe walks involve taking a leisurely stroll, paying attention to the small details around you, and being mindful of the beauty of nature. These walks can be incredibly calming and help to foster a sense of peace and appreciation.

      There’s plenty of evidence supporting the positive benefits of human interaction with nature, like improved productivity, lower levels of stress, enhanced learning, and even improved recovery rates after illness. When asked to think of a place where they’ve felt relaxed and calm, 90% of people will imagine themselves in a natural setting. Simply put, being in or around nature makes us feel good. Our physical and mental well-being depends on us spending time in a natural environment.

      Nature’s power influences not only our mental health, but everything from our hobbies and travels, to the spaces we live. Biophilic design is a burgeoning branch of architecture seen more and more in the design of modern homes and workspaces, that brings natural materials and naturally-occurring geometries into buildings to help us live and work better.

      The flip side, however, is that if biophilia delivers so many benefits to us humans, then our ever-increasing detachment from the natural world due to technology, urbanisation and the pace of modern living will have equally powerful – but negative – effects on our well-being.

      Illustration header

      Let nature bring you home

      A couple of years ago I moved back to my childhood home after more than a decade of traveling. I didn’t know anyone in Scotland anymore, aside from my family, and if I’m honest I didn’t love being back here. I felt lonely, disconnected and out of step.

      But since my travel wings had been clipped (thank you, pandemic) I tried to make the best of it.

      I started taking a walk each day, whatever the weather. At first dutifully taking my hour to wander around the nearby streets and park. But I live in a beautiful part of the country with a loch in the centre of the town, and a country park no more than five minutes drive away… so gradually my walks got more adventurous.

      Forests and wild spaces became my playground. I started wild swimming, and felt a sense of joy creep back into my existence. The time spent outdoors became a precious, non-negotiable part of my day.

      At first the changes in me were subtle. But soon, exploring those forests, beaches and hillsides shifted the perspective I held of my circumstances: I was no longer feeling ‘forced’ to stay put but actively embracing the sense of grounding my surroundings offered.

      I found my place in nature and it helped me find my home again. If I was lost and disconnected when I arrived back in Scotland, surrendering to nature was what healed me.

      The purpose in purposelessness

      “To experience biophilia is to love a diversity that, as limitless as it is fragile, both haunts us and fills us with hope.”

      - Adam Leith Gollner

      Modern life, with all its social and cultural expectations, can fool us into believing that time in nature is time wasted. Without a tangible outcome in our bank account, it’s easy to categorise nature time as a frivolous activity that sits way, wayyyyy down the to-do list.

      But sometimes – no, often – we need to let go of the material stuff and appreciate what’s free to each of us and all around us in abundance. To embrace biophilia.

      I know it can be a challenge to give yourself both the permission and indeed the mental freedom to engage in what might seem like a purposeless activity. Yet shifting your mind into an indirect attention state through appreciation and the act of slowing down is far from purposeless.

      Perhaps paradoxically, consciously engaging in this non-goal-directed activity can positively impact your ability to focus in other aspects of your life.

      The positive impact of activities in nature is similar to that of mindfulness or meditation. Being present and letting the mind go where it will not only decrease stress, but also tops up our reserves, preserving our capacity to stay the course when we are back at the desk.

      Biophilia is birdsong, it’s wispy clouds, and the sun beaming on your face. It’s the change of the seasons and the comings and goings of life. It reminds us that we’re all just tiny threads in a far more intricate tapestry. We may be rich, poor, short or tall, but ultimately, we are all just single threads in something complex and beautiful and far bigger than we are.

      As Harvard Professor and author Edward O. Wilson wrote: "Nature holds the key to our aesthetic, intellectual, cognitive and even spiritual satisfaction."

      How will you bring a nature break into your day?

      You might like these too

      Writing
      ADHD
      Neurodiversity
      Member stories

      Layla F Saad’s Writing Cabin: The body doubling group for writers

      Bestselling author Layla Saad has created The Writing Cabin – accountability sessions for writers, exclusively on FLOWN. Find out more…

      By Andy Penfold

      Feb 01, 2024

      Body doubling
      Productivity
      Focus
      Deep work
      Lifestyle

      How online coworking is shaping the future of work

      Online coworking has risen in popularity since the pandemic. Discover why this way of working is becoming the new normal for many businesses today.

      By Annie Button

      Nov 29, 2023

      Productivity
      Deep work
      Focus

      The Power of the 'Grand Gesture': How Hanbury Hall x FLOWN Events Unleash Deep Work

      Discover how Cal Newport's idea of 'the grand gesture' can spark your productivity with our FLOWN X Hanbury Hall in-person Pop Up Flocks

      By Micah Yongo

      Oct 31, 2023

      Habits
      Productivity
      Focus
      Procrastination

      Improve your study habits: How to focus when studying

      Learn how to overcome procrastination and poor habits to succeed as a student with this snappy guide.

      By Georgina Odafe

      Sep 28, 2023

      Body doubling
      Productivity
      Deep work

      Virtual coworking, body doubling and the future of work

      Delve into the wonders of virtual coworking and body doubling; and learn strategies to be your most productive without succumbing to digital fatigue.

      By Micah Yongo

      Sep 28, 2023

      Deep work
      Focus
      Habits
      Productivity

      Why I can’t focus at work (and 10 proven ways to fix it)

      Distractions are everywhere but you can learn to avoid them while boosting your concentration with 10 proven ways to fix your focus.

      By Douglas Weissman

      Jul 21, 2023

      Lifestyle
      Wellness
      Productivity
      Focus

      SoulCycle x FLOWN: how to get focused and fit in 3 simple steps

      Unlock your potential and join the transformative mind-body connection with the partnership between FLOWN and SoulCycle. Combine group exercise and expert instruction to expand your physical fitness and mental focus.

      By Douglas Weissman

      Jul 14, 2023

      Deep work
      Focus
      Habits
      Wellness

      Manage your energy, not your time: 5 ways to lower stress and power your focus

      Manage your energy, not your time with our 5 ways to boost productivity and lower stress levels. Read on for effective energy management tips.

      By Eleanor Hope-Jones

      Jul 07, 2023

      Productivity
      Habits
      Deep work
      Focus
      Procrastination

      Oxford University explores flow state secrets and focus with FLOWN

      Peek into FLOWN’s recent talk for Oxford University. And unlock practical tools for focus, flow states and peak productivity to transform your everyday work-life

      By Micah Yongo

      Jul 05, 2023

      Deep work
      Breathwork
      Wellness
      Focus

      3 unexpected ways to find calm and focus with mindful breathing and music

      Music and the breath are both intrinsically rhythmic and have a profound effect on our nervous systems. Learn how to link them to facilitate calm and focus.

      By Talia Girton

      Jun 29, 2023

      Lifestyle
      Body doubling
      Focus
      Productivity

      Fit for purpose: why workers are raving about SoulCycle x FLOWN

      SoulCycle and FLOWN have joined forces to transform your approach to work and fitness. Explore how spinning those pedals can significantly enhance your concentration.

      By Eleanor Hope-Jones

      Jun 26, 2023

      Deep work
      Body doubling
      Wellness
      Lifestyle

      Sweat, Flock, flow, repeat: Ride your way to peak productivity

      Take your productivity and fitness levels to new heights with SoulCycle and FLOWN. Access SoulCycle rides and real-time focus sessions to reach peak performance in your health and work with this savvy guide.

      By Eleanor Hope-Jones

      Jun 22, 2023

      Productivity
      Deep work
      Focus
      Wellness
      Habits
      Breathwork

      Reclaim your focus with productive meditation

      Discover how you can enhance your brain’s ability to focus more easily and generate ideas with this guide on how to transform your mind, work and life with productive meditation.

      By Arjun Kumar

      Jun 16, 2023

      Deep work

      Virtual coworking 101: Focusmate vs FLOWN vs Flow Club vs Caveday

      Looking to level up your remote work game? Explore the wild and wonderful world of virtual coworking! We've compared FLOWN, Focusmate, Flow Club and Caveday to help you find your perfect match.

      By Eleanor Hope-Jones

      Jun 08, 2023

      Productivity
      Habits
      Deep work

      The art of effortless work: 3 astonishingly simple ways to find peak productivity

      Get productive the easy way with this practical guide to making light work of your most challenging tasks

      By Eleanor Hope-Jones

      Jun 01, 2023

      Habits
      Deep work

      Go from reader to creator with these 4 transformative reading habits

      Unleash your inner bookworm, and discover how to spark your creativity with these four simple approaches to reading.

      By Jen Cropley

      May 26, 2023

      Body doubling
      Productivity
      Focus

      Why you need to make virtual coworking your 2023 superpower

      Struggling with goal-setting and procrastination? Virtual coworking is backed by science, and easily accessible – all you need is your device, your goals, and yourself!

      By Zoe Wilson

      Jan 18, 2023

      Productivity
      Deep work
      Body doubling

      The hidden magic of online coworking

      Celebrated composer and sound designer Alice Boyd shares how online coworking with FLOWN has transformed her workflow.

      By Jen Cropley

      Jan 11, 2023

      Productivity
      Focus
      Deep work

      The perks of virtual coworking with FLOWN

      Writer and content strategist Jo Gifford couldn’t imagine her work life without the perks of FLOWN’s virtual coworking community.

      By Jen Cropley

      Nov 25, 2022

      instagram