The neurological basis of occupation

Occup Ther Int. 2007;14(2):71-85. doi: 10.1002/oti.225.


The purpose of the present paper was to survey the literature about the neurological basis of human activity and its relationship to occupation and health. Activities related to neurological function were organized into three categories: those that activate the brain's reward system; those that promote the relaxation response; and those that preserve cognitive function into old age. The results from the literature review correlating neurological evidence and activities showed that purposeful and meaningful activities could counter the effects of stress-related diseases and reduce the risk for dementia. Specifically, it was found that music, drawing, meditation, reading, arts and crafts, and home repairs, for example, can stimulate the neurogical system and enhance health and well-being, Prospective research studies are needed to examine the effects of purposeful activities on reducing stress and slowing the rate of cognitive decline.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain / physiology*
  • Human Activities
  • Humans
  • Occupational Therapy*
  • Personal Satisfaction
  • Stress, Psychological / etiology
  • Stress, Psychological / therapy*