How Nature Impacts Our Wellbeing
According to research, our surroundings may raise or decrease our stress levels, which has an effect on our bodies. What you see, hear, and experience at any given time affects not just your mood, but also the functioning of your neurological, endocrine, and immunological systems.
You may feel nervous, unhappy, or powerless as a result of the stress of an undesirable environment. As a result, your blood pressure, heart rate, and muscular tension rise, while your immune system is suppressed. This is reversed in a pleasant atmosphere.
Nature is appealing to individuals of all ages and cultures. Researchers discovered that more than two-thirds of individuals select a natural environment to flee to when they are anxious, according to a study mentioned in the book Healing Gardens.
Nature Is A Healer
Being in nature, or simply watching nature videos, decreases anger, anxiety, and tension while increasing pleasant sensations. Nature not only improves your emotional well-being, but it also improves your physical well-being by lowering blood pressure, heart rate, muscular tension, and the generation of stress chemicals.
According to specialists like public health researchers Stamatakis and Mitchell, it may even lower mortality. Even a basic plant in a room may have a substantial influence on tension and anxiety, according to research conducted in hospitals, companies, and schools.
Nature Is Calming
Furthermore, nature assists us in coping with discomfort. We are engaged by nature sceneries and diverted from our pain and anguish because we are genetically designed to find trees, plants, water, and other natural components intriguing.
This is well established in a now-classic study of gallbladder surgery patients, in which half had a view of trees and the other half had a view of a wall.
According to Robert Ulrich, the study's lead author, patients with a view of trees managed pain better, seemed to have less negative impacts on nurses, and spent less time in the hospital.
Similar outcomes have been shown in more recent research using natural settings and plants in hospital rooms.
The influence of nature on overall well-being is one of the most fascinating topics of contemporary study. In one research published in Mind, 95% of those polled stated that spending time outdoors improved their mood, going from melancholy, agitated, and nervous to peaceful and balanced.
Ulrich, Kim, and Cervinka found that spending time in nature or seeing natural sights is linked to a pleasant mood, psychological well-being, meaningfulness, and vitality. Furthermore, spending time in outdoors or seeing natural sights improves our capacity to focus.
We may readily concentrate on what we are experiencing out in nature since people find nature fundamentally engaging. This also gives our busy thoughts a break, allowing us to focus on new duties. Andrea Taylor's study on children with ADHD demonstrates that spending time in outdoors boosts their attention span later in life.
Nature Brings People Together
Time spent in nature, according to Kuo and Coley's field investigations at the Human-Environment Research Lab, ties us to one other and the greater world.
Residents in Chicago public housing with trees and green space around their building reported knowing more people, having stronger feelings of unity with neighbours, being more concerned with helping and supporting one another, and having stronger feelings of belonging than tenants in buildings without trees, according to a study conducted by the University of Illinois.
They had a decreased risk of street crime, fewer levels of violence and aggressiveness between domestic partners, and a better ability to deal with life's responsibilities, particularly the strains of living in poverty, in addition to a stronger feeling of community.
Studies that employed fMRI to examine brain activity may explain this sense of connectedness. The areas of the brain connected with empathy and love lit up when participants saw natural pictures, whereas the portions associated with fear and anxiety lit up when they saw urban landscapes. Nature seems to elicit emotions that bind us to one another and our surroundings.
Spending Too Much Time In Front Of A Screen Is Harmful
“Nature deprivation,” or a lack of time spent in nature as a result of hours spent in front of a television or computer screen, has been linked to depression. More surprising are studied by Weinstein and others linking screen time to a lack of empathy and generosity.
And the dangers go beyond melancholy and social isolation. Time spent in front of a screen was linked to an increased risk of mortality in a 2011 research published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, and this was irrespective of physical exercise!
Nature Has The Ability To Heal
Environmental Psychology has gone a long way in establishing that a walk in the woods or a walk along the beach on a beautiful morning may awaken inner sentiments of pleasure and calm, and Environmental Psychology has gone a great way in confirming this fact (Bell, Greene, Fisher, & Baum, 1996).
Our love of nature is a hereditary trait that has been passed down through the generations. Have you ever wondered why the majority of people choose to rent lodgings with a beautiful view from the balcony or terrace?
Why do patients who have a natural view from their hospital bed heal faster than those who don't? Or why is it that when stress takes its toll on our minds, we want for leisure to think things out in nature?
“Study Nature, cherish Nature, remain close to Nature,” declared Frank Lloyd Wright. It will never let you down.” The human-nature link is examined in depth in this essay.
Why do we feel so powerful when we are in nature? What happens to us when we are touched by a gentle wind or the warm sun? This post analyzes and recognizes the sheer boon of the ‘Nature Contact,' with research-backed proof and handy environment-support hacks.
An Examination Of The Beneficial Effects Of Connecting With Nature
In his classic novel ‘Last Child In The Woods,' author Richard Louv suggested ‘Nature-Deficit Disorder.'
Nature-deficit disorder, according to Louv, is the loss of people's connection to their natural surroundings, not the existence of a neurological aberration.
Staying in touch with nature is beneficial to one's physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. It gives us a sense of aliveness on the inside, and we should not sacrifice it for the sake of current advances such as urbanization, technology, or social media.
As previously said, there are several advantages of living near to nature. At all levels of individual well-being, we may benefit from connecting to the environment.
Nature Has An Influence On Our Health
- Forest bathing, also known as Shinrin-yoku in Japan, is a popular method to spend time in nature. Forest bathers have ideal nervous system functioning, well-balanced cardiac conditions, and fewer gastrointestinal issues, according to research.
- Eye issues such as hypermetropia and myopia are less likely to develop as a result of outdoor activities. A study of Australian school-aged children found that those who engaged in outdoor activities had superior eyesight than those who spent more time inside (Rose, Morgan, & Kifley, 2008).
- Nature connections have been linked to a decreased BMI in studies. People who exercise outside are less tired and have a lower risk of obesity and other linked diseases.
- Frequent walks or outings into the forest, according to the Forest Bathing study, assist patients to fight terminal illnesses by promoting the synthesis of anti-cancer proteins. Despite the fact that this is still a work in progress and more proof is needed, this proposal is strong enough to support the advantages of being outside.
Nature Is Good For Your Mental Health
- Nature aids with emotional management and memory enhancement. Subjects who took a nature walk performed better on a memory test than those who strolled through city streets, according to research on the cognitive advantages of nature (Berman, Jonides, & Kaplan, 2008).
- People who are depressed benefit from nature walks. People with moderate to serious depressive illnesses demonstrated considerable mood improvements when exposed to outdoors, according to studies. Not only that, but they felt more invigorated and driven to heal and return to routine (Berman et al., 2012).
- According to recent studies, going outside relieves stress by reducing the stress hormone cortisol (Gidlow, Randall, Gillman, Smith, & Jones, 2016).
- Nature hikes and other outdoor activities improve concentration and attention (Hartig, Mang, & Evans, 1991). Strong environmental connections have been linked to improved performance, increased focus, and a lower risk of developing Attention Deficit Disorder, according to some data (Faber Taylor & Kuo, 2009).
- According to research conducted at the University of Kansas, spending more time outside and less time with our electronic gadgets might boost our problem-solving skills and creativity (Atchley, Strayer, & Atchley, 2012).
- Environmental psychologists have claimed that the human-nature interaction has a value component. We feel more thankful and appreciative of what nature has to give us when we remain near to it (Proshansky, 1976). Seeing the grandeur of the world outside instills in us an instinct to safeguard it.
- Breathing in the fresh air of nature gives us a sense of well-being. When we spend time outside, we are more aware of the sights, sounds, smells, and sensations we encounter.
Examining The Psychology Of The Environment
Progress In Resilience
Environmental psychology is the study of a person's happiness in relation to the environment in which he lives (Stokols & Altman, 1987). It is a branch of brain research that examines the dynamics of human-environment cohabitation and focuses on the interaction that living organisms (particularly humans) have with nature.
The notion of environmental psychology is a relatively new one. Following studies on person-place interactions by Proshansky and others in the 1970s, it became a discipline of psychology. Environmental psychology is based on the idea that nature has an important influence on human growth and behaviour. It thinks that nature has an important role in how we think, feel, and interact with others.
In Marco Polo's notebook, he mentions an intriguing narrative on the importance of nature in moulding human behaviour. According to legend, when sailing across Western Asia in 1272, Polo observed that the inhabitants of Kerman were courteous, modest, and well-behaved, but the people of Persia, which was nearby, were harsh, nasty, and dangerous.
When asked why there was such a big variation in conduct, the individuals answered it was because of the soil.' And, according to legend, when the King ordered soil from Persia's Isfahan and put it in his dining hall, his troops began cursing each other and assaulting their families.
Environmental psychology is primarily concerned with solving problems. Its goal is to draw attention to the persistent dangers and deteriorating human-nature linkages that we must address.
It paves the path for solution-focused research and investigations by identifying the issue areas. Climate moderation is constantly aided by the psychology of nature and the environment.
It also looks at how we might alter our physical surroundings in order to feel more connected to and cohabit with nature. Environmental psychology supports a healthy natural environment and explains how habitat problems have influenced and will continue to influence human behaviour, demographics, and society as a whole.
Environmental Psychology's Fundamental Tenets
The psychology of the environment is based on the following key concepts (Gifford, 2007).
- Human reliance on nature is evidence of evolution. Natural ecosystems are more adaptable to us than man-made ones.
- Exposure to natural light is therapeutic, with immediate benefits to stress, blood pressure, and the immune system.
- Strong ties to the environment help to strengthen the person-space concept and develop environmental awareness.
- Humans have the ability to improve the environment in which they live at any time.
- Humans are active adapters to societal and environmental changes. They alter their social identities and connections in response to the physical environment in which they reside.
In Psychology, There Are Four Examples Of Nature
In psychology, nature has a profound meaning that embraces all aspects of our life, including our genes. In developmental psychology, the popular nature-nurture idea examines all of the elements that form and impact the interaction between our internal (personality characteristics and genetic factors) and exterior (physical environment) worlds.
In 1984, the Biophilia Hypothesis investigated the human interaction with nature. The term “biophilia” was coined by German psychologist Erich Fromm, who defined it as “love for anything that is alive.” The concept of biophilia was further built upon by American scientist Edward O. Wilson, who claimed that our natural propensity had a genetic foundation.
1. Nature And Stress
The ‘nature-connection' in stress reduction and coping was discovered in a large-scale trial involving 120 people. Participants were shown images of either a natural area or an urban one. Participants who looked at a picture of a natural scene scored lower on stress measures and had lower heartbeat and pulse counts, according to the results of this poll.
Furthermore, researchers discovered that individuals who were exposed to natural settings recovered from stress faster than those who were exposed to urban settings. The result of this research clearly demonstrated the importance of nature in healing our whole mental health, including stress (Ulrich et al., 1991).
2. Using Nature To Attract Attention
Rachel and Stephen Kaplan proposed in their Attention Restoration Theory that spending time in nature enhances concentration and attention span (1989). The hypothesis explains why being in nature re-energizes us and makes us feel less tired. Encounters with any feature of the natural world — sunsets, beaches, clouds, or woods – automatically draw our good attention, and the whole experience replaces the life force that bad emotions had taken away.
3. Denial Of The Climate Catastrophe
Climate catastrophe or climate change study is a very important example of nature in human psychology. Climate change and global warming are worldwide problems today, and some psychologists suggest that since the effects of climate change are so broad and inconceivable, we frequently choose not to react.
However, the impact of climate change on human psychology and mental health is now well-known. Climate change has had a significant influence on the way humans think, behave, make decisions, and carry out plans, according to studies (Lorenzoni, Pidgeon, & O'Connor, 2005).
The Australian Psychological Society has offered some astonishing statistics. They believe that 5-8 percent of the population in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia rejects that climate change is occurring, despite the fact that 97 percent of climate scientists recognize the reality and are worried about it.
Regardless of how tiny the denial rate seems to be, researchers believe it is sufficient to establish a judgment gap, causing individuals to deny their role in climatic adversity. Regardless of which way the verdict is rendered, it is evident that the climate issue has had and will continue to have an influence on human thinking in some manner.
4. Psychology, Morals, And The Environment
Staying connected to nature increases a feeling of worth toward oneself, others, and Mother Nature, according to a study done on Pennsylvania landowners. It creates a sense of belonging and opens the door to thankfulness and appreciation. According to the findings, those who were more connected to nature and spent more time outside were more ecologically conscious, worried, and happy in their interpersonal connections (Dutcher, Finley, Luloff, & Johnson, 2007).
What Does The Evidence Show?
Health And The Human-Nature Relationship
The study article ‘Human-Nature Relationship And Its Impact On Health: A Critical Review' examines all elements of our relationship with nature, as well as how it impacts our overall health and well-being.
Our connection with nature was characterized by author Valentine Seymour (2016) in conjunction with Darwinian concepts of evolutionary psychology.
The research clarified evolutionary biology, social economics, psychology, and environmentalist principles, as well as how the interaction of these factors affects human health. According to the multidisciplinary research model:
- Staying in touch with nature helps those with hypertension, heart disease, and chronic pain. A strong sense of connectedness to the natural world improves emotional well-being and reduces social isolation. It also aids those with mental health issues such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, mood disorders, and other types of anxiety.
- People who care about the environment are more ecologically aware and responsible. They have a more reasonable understanding of how to use their physical space and are more proactive in taking action on problems that will assist to preserve the environment in which they live.
I trust you enjoyed this article on How Nature Impacts Our Wellbeing. Please stay tuned for more blog posts to come shortly. Take care!
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