We all know that connecting with nature is great for relaxing, but in fact, it has a scientifically-proven impact on our health and happiness, boosting emotions and relationships.
Have you ever felt enveloped by a feeling of awe and inspiration after watching a nature documentary? For centuries, the connection between humans and nature has been a key concern for people from all cultures, and recently, science has given us more reasons to believe in the benefits of having a deeper connection with nature. This month we’re taking a look at how staying close to nature benefits our well-being, health, and relationships and how we can improve that connection.
Nature truly is healing. More than ever scientific evidence suggests that contact with nature provides a multitude of health benefits and may be an important factor in disease prevention and health promotion, especially for people who live in urban areas.
In fact, the World Health Organization classifies stress and lack of physical activity as two of the foremost contributors to premature death in developed nations, wiith 44% of adults experiencing increased stress over the past five years. Huge surprise, right?
Work and financial challenges, family and relationship complexities, and various other everyday challenges can lead to chronic stress, anxiety, burnout, depression, and decreased overall productivity for many people. Many studies show that natural infrastructure can relieve stress and improve general wellness among city dwellers.
Research conducted in nine Swedish cities found that regardless of an individual's sex, age, or socioeconomic status, the more an individual frequents urban nature, the less stress they experience. Even passive experiences, like viewing nature from an office window or walking by trees, parks, and gardens, can help people recover from daily and chronic stressors
The overstimulation we experience in our concrete jungles can impair the ability to acquire and process knowledge, affecting memory, problem solving, and attention. Research shows encounters with nature lead to enhanced positive affect, decreased stress levels, boosted attention capacity, and improved performance on cognitive memory assessments.
And again, they stress it doesn’t have to be “wild” interaction to be beneficial. There are many ways in which you can incorporate a regular and even daily dose of nature into your already busy life. Plus the feeling of belonging and fulfillment can increase tenfold. Nature in our daily lives enhances the strength of social ties among neighbours by encouraging use of common spaces. Just take any city park in the summer; they truly come alive and you usually leave feeling so happy about the space you’re in.
By taking (literal) small steps into nature everyday, you can not only see the benefits for yourself but feel more connected to the environment you’re in as well.