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Fractal Gazing

There are patterns that repeat in nature of varying complexity and scale. You might have heard of these as fractals.

In many parts of nature, such as clouds, waves, forests, and lightning, there are a certain range of fractal dimension that are particularly restorative and calming to our neurological system and our bodies in general.

When we are immersed in wild nature, we receive the calming and beneficial effects of our bodies interacting with these patterns.

It sounds kind of magical, but it makes sense when we consider that our species and ancestral species evolved as deeply embedded within the natural world - we came into a bio-energetic resonance that is specifically in tune with our well-being.

It’s been shown that when we are in the presence of these kinds of fractal dimensions (and we don’t even have to be directly looking at them, we just have to be surrounded by them in some way), our brains drop down into the more relaxed alpha brain wave state very quickly, we recover from the stress much faster, and our visual processing is much easier for us, enabling us to take in information from the environment without using as much brain power.

This restorative time in nature also increases our ability in creativity and problem-solving.

In contrast when we’re in a cityscape (which tends to fall outside of this fractal dimension range), it’s much harder for our visual processing mechanism to take it in because it’s so overwhelming. Even on a subconscious level it’s uncomfortable for us, if not acutely distressing.

This is just a basic practice that anyone can do: gazing at the sky, walking through the forest, sitting on the lake or ocean shore.

Have you noticed these effects within yourself when in nature?