In 2012 David Strayer, a researcher from the University of Utah, did what we all used to do – he went outside and played. Of course he brought a group of friends. Together they took a four-day backpacking trip. During the course of the journey they found that their ability to solve puzzles increased significantly. Strayer’s group performed an amazing 47 percent better at solving puzzles than the control group did over the same amount of time while in pre-hike mode. Could it be that the answer is, in fact, blowing in the wind?
Numerous scientific and psychological studies have repeatedly demonstrated the value of time outside – specifically, in nature. Hikes in the woods, strolls across fields, quiet contemplation by a lake or pond may have once been viewed as recreation only or “downtime.”
In fact, your brain is actually “up” when you’re outside. Stress and fatigue give way to creative problem solving, more positive attitudes, and the ability to relate better to others. Depression, anxiety, and stress all melt away when we take walks in nature. Walks in urban areas do not yield the same results as do strolls among the birds and the bees.
Where can you and your team immerse yourselves in nature? Look to Wingspread Retreat and Executive Conference Center in Wind Point, Wisconsin. Tucked away on a 36-acre wildlife preserve and practically an incubator for creativity, the property offers nearly a dozen flower gardens, lushly vegetated ravines and hiking trails that lead through lofty trees. There is also a large and impressive bronze statue collection – and at the center of it all, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Wingspread residence, designed in the 1930's.
During a walking meeting or on downtime, we encourage attendees to enjoy the grounds to their hearts’ content, pausing by Wright’s reflecting pool for, well, reflection. Energetic hikers will be rewarded with fabulous views of Lake Michigan and a historic light house at Wind Point, an easy-to-traverse one-mile journey.
Better ideas, smarter solutions – when you need to make a meeting successful, surround yourself with the world’s oldest and wisest source of inspiration: Mother Nature