Student desk with a laptop (Katarina De Almeida/Lariat)
Students taking online classes this fall may find it challenging to create a study environment conducive to learning at home. Currently, many students are surrounded by unfamiliar distractions that may interfere with their preferred study space. The college campus remains unavailable and the academic energy has taken on a completely different vibe.
Here are some tips and tricks that will help along the way.
Create a personalized study space by finding an area with limited distractions and a lot of natural light. In their study, Yvonne A.W. de Kort, chair of environmental psychology of human-technology interaction, and Femke Beute, a postdoctoral researcher from the University of Groningen, found that the influence of natural light has a positive impact on stress levels.
“We were able to confirm our hypotheses as higher levels of both nature and daylight in the environment appeared related to better affective states, with higher hedonic tone and energy levels, as well as lower tension levels,” Yvonne and Femke wrote.
Both researchers explain the importance of exposure to natural light on an individual’s well-being. They discuss how the presence of a window and nature has restorative potential. The suggestion is that an environment with natural light and greenery matters the most.
The study discusses how nature and daylight influence an individual’s mental health. They studied 59 people for six days, which varied in different depressive symptoms from none to clinical.
Nonetheless, the study’s evidence suggests there are positive benefits in mentally healthy participants that come from being around nature. These benefits include improvement of mood and better task performance.
Aside from the visual aspects that influence one’s study space, loud and continuous noises are also considered a disturbance. Avoiding distractions for some students may not be as easy, so having a pair of noise-canceling headphones or listening to white noise can make a huge difference.
Noise-canceling headphones (Katarina De Almeida/Lariat)
Furthermore, keeping a study space separate from other areas can be very beneficial, especially during regular break times. It’s recommended to take periodic breaks while studying to boost productivity and regain focus. Lori Desautels, Assistant Professor in the College of Education at Butler University, calls these frequent breaks brain breaks.
“When we take a brain break, it refreshes our thinking and helps us discover another solution to a problem or see a situation through a different lens,” Lori said.
Desautels explains that brain development is dependent upon an individual’s surrounding environment. This practice helps to regulate and improve one’s thoughts and emotions. She also focuses on bringing attention to the brain by quieting the mind during these brain breaks.
Cactus plant (Catherine Norby/Lariat)
Lastly, make sure there is room to equip this personalized space with essential study tools and textbooks. If there is a lack of scenery then simple decorations like a small plant can boost concentration and productivity.
“Exposure to nature and daylight often coincides when one is outdoors, but exposure can also occur indoors in the presence of a window (providing both a view to the outside and daylight entrance) and indoor plants,” Yvonne and Femke wrote.
Indoor plants help create a therapeutic environment. Throughout their study, natural elements like plants are found to have restorative potential. There are plenty of indoor plants that are beneficial for a better study space.
Check out the top 10 easiest plants to take care of to find out which is the best fit.
Creating a space that includes natural light and nature has proven to enhance the frame of mind and improve task performance. Utilizing these tips will have a positive impact on stress levels and help regain focus on important assignments.