How Studying Outdoors Can Be Beneficial
Updated: Apr 17, 2020
It might not feel like it now, but spring will be here before you know it. There’s a lot to love about springtime in New York City. After a long winter, it’s impossible not to feel invigorated when the days get longer, the grass gets greener, and the weather gets warmer. That mental boost you get from being outside on a nice day isn’t just great for your mood––it can also help your study habits.
Why Studying Outside Works
There is an enormous body of evidence demonstrating that being outside reduces stress levels. The Attention Restoration Theory (ART) suggests that our natural environment can act as a kind of reset button when we’re suffering from attention fatigue. Both of these benefits can improve students’ ability to study.
What we see with many students who struggle with STEM coursework is that a minor bump in the road can lead to a great deal of anxiety. This anxiety leads to a feeling of dread whenever students have to work on the class that’s causing them difficulty, and they fall further and further behind on the subject. While hiring a tutor is the best way to deal with this anxiety, studying outside to reduce stress levels can also be an effective complement to tutoring for many students.
While some articles online tout impressive increases in memory, reductions and cortisol levels, and other dramatic benefits of studying outside, these effects are either not backed by science or based only on small studies. That said, what we do see time and time again in research is improvement in energy, anxiety, fatigue, and sadness, all of which may be at play for students who struggle with STEM subjects.
How to Benefit from Outdoor Study
For some students, simply taking their backpack and heading to the nearest park instead of studying in their bedroom can help them clear their minds and study better. Here are a few other strategies to try:
While even sitting on a balcony or patio can have benefits, research suggests that the more natural the setting, the better.
We reap the most benefits from studying outdoors by pairing it with time spent recharging mentally. Take breaks to walk a bit, do breathing exercises, or write in a journal.
Being outdoors in a loud or busy place may be more distracting than helpful. It can be hard in the city, but find a place that is peaceful and conducive to studying.
If the idea of hauling your textbooks and papers outside doesn’t appeal to you, spending time outside before you start studying can still be beneficial. Talk a walk, feel the sunshine on your skin for a little bit, then go back inside, ready to tackle your studies.
STEM Tutoring Tailored to Your Needs
Bricks Tutoring takes an individualized approach to tutoring. As a tutor, my goal isn’t just to teach you to memorize formulas and equations to help you pass a test, but to teach essential study skills and instill a sense of confidence that carries through to all of your academic endeavors. I offer tutoring services throughout NYC, Brooklyn, and Queens––and I’ll even meet you outside if that’s where you study best. Call (619) 880-0133 to learn more or schedule a session.