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“Deviation from nature is deviation from happiness.” – Samuel Jackson – American writer and poet.
In our modern, pressurized, time orientated world, we do not commune with nature nearly as much as the generations that came before us.
This can have a profound effect on our wellbeing and happiness. A recent study by John Zelenski and Elizabeth Nisbet found a direct connection between a person’s happiness and their connection with and time spent in nature.
Think back to when you were a child. When were you having the most fun possible? If you are honest, you will probably agree that you had the most fun playing outside with the sun on your back and the wind in your hair. It was a time filled with curiosity, adventure and fuelled by an imagination that knew no bounds.
Unfortunately in modern times, children are very disconnected from nature, often living in cities, in smaller houses where they remain inside interacting with various devices. This can have profound effect on their health as we have seen in previous blogs.
Nature on the other hand has the following effect on your wellbeing.
1. Nature helps us heal
Exposure to nature has been found to help to diminish fear, stress and anger while making a person happier. Studies have shown that spending time in nature can lower blood pressure, tension and heart rate and help to improve the physical wellbeing of a person.
2. Nature helps to soothe us
Nature can help to cope with pain. Why is this? Our genetics are programmed to find elements of nature such as trees, water and plants engaging and they often distract us from any discomfort and pain we might be feeling. A study by physician Robert Ulrich found that gallbladder surgery patients that had a view of nature outside their rooms tolerated pain easier and were released from hospital earlier than those only had a view of a brick wall. More hospitals are using nature to help patients to recover quicker during their stay in hospital.
3. Nature helps to restore us
Various studies have shown that a person spending time in nature can encounter a change in their mood. If they were depressed, anxious or stressed their mood became more balanced and calm. Other studies have shown that time spent in nature is linked to a positive mood, vitality, a sense of meaning in life and better psychological wellbeing.
Studies by Andrea Taylor have found that children with ADHD have actually shown an increase in their attention span while spending time outside as well as a reduction in other ADHD symptoms.
4. Nature connects us
A wide range of field studies conducted by Kuo and Coley found that nature can actually help to connect us with other people and helps to build a greater sense of community especially in areas featuring parks and green spaces where people will congregate Other studies using brain activity scans have shown that viewing scenes of nature causes the area of the brain associated with empathy to become most active.
Isn’t it time you helped to improve the wellbeing, happiness and health of your family. The cheapest and easiest way to do this in today’s modern cities is to take them on a picnic to the park, beach or other green areas in the city. Rest, relax and have fun!