All human beings love being close to nature and respond to it, whether they consciously feel connected to it or not.
Psychoanalyst Erich Fromm coined the term biophilia in 1973 to describe this phenomenon, which was later expanded by Harvard biologist E. O. Wilson in his effort to describe the connections people unconsciously seek with the natural world.
Over the past decades, numerous studies have shown that people have an inherent connection with the natural world, by proving the amazing physical and mental health benefits of spending time in nature. Below are five fascinating findings from such studies, all pointing to how healing nature could be, if only we chose to spend more time in it:
1. The cognitive functioning of children was enhanced when a park or greenery could be seen from their home.
2. 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.
3. Two groups of patients who underwent 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, the group of 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 that they suffered fewer minor complications.
4. When two groups of patients in a John Hopkins Hospital were told to spend the hours before surgery either a) listening to recordings of a birdsong and a babbling brook and looking at a poster depicting a landscape, or b) without sounds or image, the former group reported significantly better pain management than the latter one.
5. When participants in a University of Essex experiment were shown before & after pictures of urban and rural scenes, and afterwards were put on a treadmill, those 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.
As you can understand, the physical and mental health benefits one can derive from spending time in nature are tremendous. Unfortunately, living in city jungles and being confined in spaces of concrete, most of us are unaware of nature’s healing power, and hence don’t make a conscious effort to come closer to the natural world.
Now that you are aware, make sure to start spending more of your time in nature and reap its amazing benefits!