Science tells us that nature is important to our well-being. We are born to connect with nature inside and out. It is how we are wired. If you are looking for evidence to promote trust and an authority on the subject, this article contains a list of published works by researchers, with expertise in psychology and environment, in support of such a positive relationship.
Benefits of time spent in green spaces
There is a growing body of research showing that connecting with nature can provide stress relief benefits.
Studies have found that spending time in natural environments can help reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol, lower blood pressure, and improve mood.
One theory behind this is that nature has a calming effect on our brains and can help us shift our attention away from the worries and stressors of daily life.
There is a large and growing body of literature that demonstrates that contact with nature (broadly defined in the introduction and including urban green space, parks, forests, etc.) can lead to measurable psychological and physiological health benefitsSandifer et al. 2015
Also, being in nature can provide opportunities for physical activity and social connection, which are both important factors in promoting overall well-being.
Overall, science suggests that spending time in nature can be a simple and effective way to reduce stress and improve mental health.
Nature-based stress relief
Connecting with nature has become a popular way to deal with stress and anxiety, feeling overwhelmed in today’s fast-paced world. Here are some additional points to consider:
- Nature therapy, also known as ecotherapy, is a type of treatment that involves spending time in nature to improve mental and physical health.
- Research has shown that nature therapy can help reduce symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress. It can also help improve attention and memory.
- Spending time in nature has been linked to a decrease in symptoms of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children.
- Nature therapy can take many forms, such as walking in the woods, barefoot on the beach, gardening, or simply sitting outside and enjoying the scenery.
- Nature therapy can also help people feel more connected to the world around them, which can lead to a greater sense of purpose and meaning in life.
In short, connecting with nature is a simple and effective way to reduce stress and improve mental health. It provides a much-needed break from the hustle and bustle of daily life and can help us feel more centred and grounded.
Published Works on Nature and Human Wellbeing — Nature Connectedness
These peer-reviewed articles pertaining to nature connectedness are in order of year, then the author (A-Z).
Garza-Terán G, Tapia-Fonllem C, Fraijo-Sing B, Borbón-Mendívil D, Poggio L. (2022). Impact of Contact With Nature on the Wellbeing and Nature Connectedness Indicators After a Desertic Outdoor Experience on Isla Del Tiburon. Front Psychol. 2022 Jun 3;13:864836. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2022.864836. PMID: 35719518; PMCID: PMC9204234.
Wang, D. H., Yamada, A., & Miyanaga, M. (2018). Changes in Urinary Hydrogen Peroxide and 8-Hydroxy-2′-Deoxyguanosine Levels after a Forest Walk: A Pilot Study. International journal of environmental research and public health, 15(9), 1871. doi:10.3390/ijerph15091871
Kuo, M. (2015). How might contact with nature promote human health? Promising mechanisms and a possible central pathway. Frontiers in Psychology, 6, 1093. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01093
Sandifer, Paul A., Sutton-Grier, Ariana E., Ward, Bethney P. (2015). Exploring connections among nature, biodiversity, ecosystem services, and human health and well-being: Opportunities to enhance health and biodiversity conservation. Ecosystem Services. 12. pp. 1-15. ISSN 2212-0416, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecoser.2014.12.007.
Nowak, David J., Hirabayashi, Satoshi, Bodine, Allison, Greenfield, Eric. (2014). Tree and forest effects on air quality and human health in the United States, Environmental Pollution, 193. pp. 119-129. ISSN 0269-7491, https://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2014.05.028.
Nilsson, K., Sangster, M., Gallis, C., Hartig, T., de Vries, S., Seeland, K., Schipperijn, J. (Eds.). (2011). Forests, trees and human health. ISBN 978-90-481-9806-1. https://www.springer.com/gp/book/9789048198054
Wu, C.-F., Lai, C.-H., Chu, H.-J., & Lin, W.-H. (2011). Evaluating and Mapping of Spatial Air Ion Quality Patterns in a Residential Garden Using a Geostatistic Method. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 8(6), 2304–2319. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph8062304
Townsend, M. and Weerasuriya, R. (2010). Beyond Blue to Green: The benefits of contact with nature for mental health and well-being. Beyond Blue Ltd: Melbourne, Australia. https://www.deakin.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0004/310747/Beyond-Blue-To-Green-Literature-Review.pdf