human brain on a green field
Brain on Nature offers invaluable insights for anyone seeking balance in today’s hyperpaced and overconnected modern world. (Photo: Orla/iStock)

How Nature Heals an Injured Brain

human brain on a green field

After suffering a brain injury in a bicycle accident, Sarah Allely found it difficult to read, write, and watch television. She struggled with everyday tasks. Eventually, she realized that the only way for her to get better was to spend time in nature. As a journalist, her instinct was to chronicle her experience and also investigate the science behind nature’s health benefits. The result is Brain on Nature, a podcast that’s deeply personal but offers invaluable insights for anyone seeking balance in today’s hyperpaced and overconnected modern world. This week, we’re excited to share the first two episodes in this powerful audio series.

Podcast Transcript

Editor’s Note: Transcriptions of episodes of the Outside Podcast are created with a mix of speech recognition software and human transcribers, and may contain some grammatical errors or slight deviations from the audio.




Outside Podcast Theme: From Outside Magazine and PRX, this is the Outside Podcast.

Michael Roberts (Host): It was about a decade ago that Outside Magazine started publishing stories that looked into the science of why being in wild places is good for us. At the time, just four years after the first iPhone was released, people were beginning to have concerns about our relationship with technology and screens in particular.

Today, of course, that concern has become a full-blown panic. As we reported on this show last year, doctors have begun prescribing time in nature as the best possible treatment for a growing list of ailments—from anxiety and obesity to attention-deficit disorder and high blood pressure.

Learning how to manage our relationship with technology—and to spend more time outdoors in an increasingly busy and crowded world—is something we think about a lot at Outside. Which is why we were so excited when we heard about a new audio series by Sydney, Australia-based journalist Sarah Allely called Brain on Nature. Sarah was in a pretty bad accident, suffering a traumatic brain injury that left her unable to handle a lot of everyday tasks. As she would find out, the only way for her to get better was to go outside. A lot.

It’s an intensely personal story, but one that offers powerful takeaways for anyone seeking balance in the modern world. Today, we are delighted to bring you the first two episodes in the series.

I’ll let Sarah take it from here.

[Audio from the first two episodes of Brain on Nature

Roberts: Brain on Nature was created, written and produced by Sarah Allely.

Olivia Rosenman is the co-producer. Ariana Martinez did the sound design and mix.

Jonathan Zenti composed and performed the title track. Other music by JT and the Clouds, Epidemic Sound, and Blue Dot sessions.

Sarah asked me to express her thanks to everyone interviewed for the series. You can find it wherever you get your podcasts and online at I highly recommend listening to all the episodes.

This episode was brought to you by Lake Hartwell Country, a region in the mountains of South Carolina that’s one of the best adventure playgrounds anywhere. Learn more about this unique destination at

Follow the Outside Podcast

Outside’s longstanding literary storytelling tradition comes to life in audio with features that will both entertain and inform listeners. We launched in March 2016 with our first series, Science of Survival, and have since expanded our show to offer a range of story formats, including reports from our correspondents in the field and interviews with the biggest figures in sports, adventure, and the outdoors.