Dear Dr. Selhub,
I am a student at Simpson College, and my class read your book, Your Brain on Nature. Your work is very interesting! It was an eye-opening experience for me! One thing that caught my eye was about our addictions to technology. You mentioned in your book that children and teens are spending about seven and a half hours per day with our media outside of school. I knew that we were addicted to our technology, but I didn’t realize how much time we were spending on our screens. Also, I never understood why we were so addicted to our screens until I read your book. It’s amazing how one hormone, dopamine, is linked to our addiction to screens simply because it awards us to find new information whether it’s for survival or for pleasure. This explains why I have a hard time stopping myself from strolling through the feeds on Facebook.
Before I came to college and through the first couple of months, I would find myself constantly going to my phone and playing games or strolling through Facebook. I rarely felt happy or satisfied when I was finished. Instead, I felt grumpy and would get headaches. My class took note of what you wrote about our addiction as well, and our professor challenged us to spend less time with our technologies. This was hard for me at first because I felt tempted to pick up my phone instantly. My professor also decided to try some of the methods described in the book, like the Shinrin-yoku, to help us realize that there are other ways to cope with stress and find happiness instead of going on our electronics to find relief. After a couple of weeks surrounding ourselves with nature and not using my phone as often, I felt happier and more relaxed. I felt like I was able to enjoy the present moment.
Now as we have spent a couple of months reading your book and applying your methods to reduce stress levels, I am a changed person. I realize now that I can fix little health issues and feel better by simply following your methods of forest-bathing, less screen time, and exercise. I have been sharing my experience with my family back at home, and I want to continue to practice and share your work with other people. I believe it’s important to help people realize how much time they are spending on their screens and learn that surrounding yourself with nature is the best tool to benefiting our health.