Fascinating study on how antioxidants (and therefore also nutrition) in the brain can increase motivation…
So, a simple cheap way to help your kids improve all life skills and strengthen mental wellbeing. Too good to be true?
Well, this piece of research, just out, finds a fascinating correlation with mental health and kids. This correlation was also surprising – some things kids do, and their personality traits, we can assume could be related to positive mental health. Traits such as extraversion meaning you are likely to bond closer to people and hence this can provide support networks. So, what did these researchers around Helen Dodd from the University of Essex in the UK find?
The researchers surveyed 2’346 parents pre covid and during the first covid lockdown in the UK with questions on general mental health and mood. They found that those kids who spend more time playing outside in more unstructured and adventurous games had fewer “internalising” problems i.e. anxiety and depression during the first covid lockdown.
What’s more this effect was more pronounced in children from lower income families.
This highlights the importance of play – I have written in other places of how beneficial play is for multiple reasons. Basically, it is one of the best ways to build your brain. But importantly it is free and actually easily accessible for most people.
Adventurous play according to this also seems to be important because it uses cognitive skills that are very important such as exploration but also risk balancing and likely also failure and recovery and trying again. Critical life skills – but this also seems to have a buffer against mental health issues and that is really important to note.
This shows that some of things we can do as a society are cheap and easily accessible – but society can also encourage this through giving access to parks and well-designed play areas.
So as a parent you should be encouraging your kids to get out and play – and hey, there’s nothing wrong with you adults doing it also!
Andy is author of leading brains Review, Neuroleadership, and multiple other books. He has been intensively involved in writing and research into neuroleadership and is considered one of Europe’s leading experts. He is also a well-known public speaker speaking on the brain and human behaviour.
Andy is also a masters athlete (middle distance running) and competes regularly at international competitions (and holds a few national records in his age category).
Helen F. Dodd, Rachel J. Nesbit, Lily FitzGibbon.
Child’s Play: Examining the Association Between Time Spent Playing and Child Mental Health.
Child Psychiatry & Human Development, 2022;
More Quick Hits
An important study showing how mindfulness is as effective as medication – without the side effects…
Teenagers’ brains go through substantial changes – and now we know more of some of these…
Screen time is considered a modern technological evil – maybe not so for teenagers…
Taking pictures has been shown to reduce memory – but this study shows the opposite…
Your brain eats itself – gruesome eh! Actually this appears to be a good thing most of the time…
Recent research just published shows that a regular routine with plenty of activity protects against depression and preserves cognitive function!
Jays are smart, that is known. Now we know they can exhibit self-control – but only if they are smart themselves.
The benefits of pets – but it depends on how healthy your relationship is with them.
A group of neurons in a petri dish can learn to play a computer game – amazing!