5 Fascinating Studies That Prove the Physical and Mental Health Benefits of Spending Time in Nature

All human beings love being close to nature and respond to it, whether they consciously feel connected to it or not. Erich Fromm coined the term biophiliato describe this fact, which was later expanded by Harvard biologist E. O. Wilson, in his effort to describe the connections that people unconsciously seek with the natural world.

Scientific studies have repeatedly proven that people have an inherent connection with the natural world, by showing the amazing physical and mental health benefits of spending time in nature. Below are 5 fascinating findings from such studies, all pointing out to how healing nature could be to us, if only realized this and chose to spend more time close to it.

  • The cognitive functioning of children was enhanced when a park or greenery could be seen from their home. [1]
  • Workers in rooms with windows tend to have a better overall health, feel less frustration and have more patience, as well as enjoy working more. [2]
  • Two groups of patients who had the exact same surgery had different health outcomes, depending on whether their hospital rooms had a view of a brown block wall or a stand of trees. In particular, those patients whose rooms looked out on trees experienced shorter stays–that is, one full day on average–and had a lower need of taking medication to soothe pain. In addition, it was found that their moods were better, and they suffered fewer minor complications. [3]
  • When two groups of patients in a John Hopkins Hospital were told to spend the hours before surgery either listening to recordings of a birdsong and a babbling brook, as well as look at a poster depicting a landscape, or spending time without sounds or image, the former group reported significantly better pain management the the later group. [4]
  • When participants in a University of Essex experiment were shown before and after pictures of urban and rural scenes and then were put on a treadmill, those participants who were shown pleasant rural scenes had a significantly lower blood pressure, while those who were shown unpleasant urban photos were found to have an increase in their blood pressure levels. [5]

It seems that the physical and mental health benefits one can have by choosing to spend more time in the natural would are enormous. Most of us, however, living in big cities, spending most of our time in small rooms of concrete, don’t realize it or overlook it. From now on, whenever you can, choose to spend more of your time in natural surroundings, and reap the amazing benefits of it!

“Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.” ~John Muir

1. Andrea Faber Taylor et al., “Growing Up in the Inner City: Green Spaces As Places to Grow,” Environment and Behaviour 30, no. 1 (1998): 3-27; Andrea Faber Taylor, Frances E. Kuo, William C. Sullivan, “Coping with ADD: The Surprising Connection to Green Play Settings,” Environment and Behaviour 33 (2001):77-85.
2. Carolyn M. Tennessen and Bernadine Cimprich, “Views to Nature: Effects on Attention,” Journal of Environmental Psychology 15, no.1 (1995): 77-85.
3. Jules Pretty et al., “The Mental and Physical Health Outcomes of Green Exercise,” International Journal of Environmental Health Research 15, no5 (October 2005).
4. Roger S. Ulrich, “View Through a Window May Influence Recovery from Surgery,” Science 224, no. 4647 (1984): 420-421. www.sciencemag.org/content/224/4647/420.abstract
5.Gregory B. Diette er al., “Distraction Therapy with Nature Sights and Sounds Reduces Pain During Flexible Bronchoscopy: A Complementary Approach to Routine Analgesia,” Chest, no 3 (2003): 941-948.

Thanks to The Unbounded Spirit for this post | Featured image source


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