Spending just three days in nature can do wonders for your brain. There’s heaps of benefits of spending just 120 minutes in nature a week on your cortisol levels, but to feel the powerful reset, you’ll want to be in the wild for 3 days.
What is the 3 Day Effect?
The 3 Day Effect is based on a study that found spending 72 hours disconnected from technology and surrounded by nature has a breadth of benefits for your mind. David Strayer reported that spending three days in the great outdoors can increase your cognitive function and creative problem solving by 50%.
“It takes the first two days and nights to wash away whatever veneer of civilisation you have brought with you. The new reality begins on that third day.”
- Ken Sanders
What is the science behind the 3 Day Effect?
The study by David Strayer, a cognitive psychologist at the University of Utah, found that after spending just three days surrounded by nature, our brains work better. Participants reported increased creativity, better problem-solving skills, and improved cognitive function. This wasn’t just by a little bit either - they found a 50% increase in cognitive performance.
There are mountains of studies that prove the benefits of being in nature is good for managing stress, boosting your mood, attention and memory as well as maintaining a healthy body. This, paired with a decrease in exposure to technology, gives your frontal cortex a break which allows the brain to be more creative. When your attention network is well-rested other parts of the brain become more active, like those associated with sensory perception, empathy and productive day-dreaming.
Natural settings let your mind wander (called soft fascination) and spending 3 days immersed in it is like hitting the reset button on your mind. You should be feeling refreshed, reinvigorated and ready to tackle life head-on.
How you feel during the 3 days
Unplugged ran a study with University of Greenwich, which found that the first day of being without a phone can make us feel a little anxious as you disconnect from civilisation and your phone. You’re still thinking about that important email, or whether you switched the oven off. We call this the ‘adjustment period’. After the first day, the mind begins to settle and you feel the freedom of being at one with nature. By day two and three, you will feel disconnected with a sense of freedom and calmness.
“That first day in nature, your mind is recalibrating and you start to notice things a little bit, to unwind from the modern world. You don’t need a watch anymore. You forget what day of the week it is.”
- David Strayer
Day three is really when the magic begins to happen. You don’t feel the need to reach for your phone, your brain recalibrates and your circadian rhythm settles. What’s really interesting is that the benefits of your digital detox and being in nature actually extend after you check out and into your every day life.
Sometimes we forget the time before technology, but we evolved for millions of years in natural environments, which is probably why it is so healing for us in the modern day. A break from technology allows us to focus on the present moment, allowing our minds to relax and rejuvenate.
Why not try the 3 Day Effect for yourself and escape to an Unplugged cabin in the middle of the countryside. Your mind (and body) will thank you for it! Book your cabin now.
Fancy time away from the screen?
Recharge your batteries by going off-grid for 3 days. Backed by science - you will feel more calm, relaxed and creative after your digital detox.