Discovering the 3-Day Effect

Have you heard of the 3-Day Effect?

It’s the idea that something “clicks” in our brains after spending 3 days in the wilderness. That could be 3 days on the river, backpacking through the mountains, or camping deep in the woods. Whatever it is we’re doing out there, as long as the electronics are turned off, we can experience “a kind of neural reboot that might boost creativity,” as neuroscientist David Strayer explains in this article by Florence Williams titled, The Nature Fix: The Three-Day Effect.

As a wilderness therapy field guide, I was quite familiar with the positive effect extended time in nature can have, for myself as well as our clients, but I was introduced to the phrase through Florence William’s audiobook, The 3-Day Effect: How Nature Calms Your Brain. 

In her book, Florence takes you on a documentary-style exploration of the 3-Day Effect as it is studied in the field. She follows groups of river rafters, veterans, victims of sex trafficking, and a city-bound friend looking for a breakthrough on a writing project. The segments are not just observational, either, but include before and after testing as well as control groups.

The science was a fascinating vantage point to the work I was on my way to do. Overall, it was an inspiration – an invitation, if you will – to a different way of being. A reality check on our place in this natural world. It turns out, the trees aren’t the only ones rooted in the earth.

I would love to introduce the 3-Day Effect to The Clearwater Trekkers, and anyone else who cares to join us, on our first Clearwater Trekker Discovery Trek this summer. I have been wanting to offer an intentional backpacking trip for some time now, and I can’t think of a better way to share what I’ve learned and experienced as a wilderness guide than with a 3-Day Effect Discovery Trek. 

You in? 

Keep an eye out for more details to come, and if you like the idea, give me a shout. Let me know you’re in and share what the wilderness inspires within you.


*Seek the Clearwater

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