Nature and Happiness
Surrounding yourself in nature may be one of the greatest medicines we know. Studies have continuously shown its ability to boost mood and overall health by simply taking in natural surroundings.
People in hospitals have been documented to heal quicker when their window faces the natural beauty of our world. Even hotel rooms are more sought after if they have a beachfront view. Coincidence, I think not.
While many people in bustling cities don’t have the most convenient access to nature, city planners build parks so we can all find a little spot to immerse ourselves in some way.
Wellbeing Benefits of Nature
The physical and mental benefits seem extraordinary, when in fact they are truly ordinary. Our habitats have changed a lot in the last 200 years but we as a species have been used to living with the land, engraining it into our DNA. Just think of a time when you have been upset or frustrated and took a long walk in the park to clear your head. It can work.
On a molecular level, we all need to produce Vitamin-D and the best way to achieve that is through sunlight absorption. Vitamin -D levels have been linked to Alzheimer’s and other common health problems. Secondly, breathing fresh air being produced by the trees on a nature walk helps our bodies release toxins, especially for those living in cities with poor air quality. Furthermore, getting out usually entails some form of exercise and releases endorphins to improve cognitive health, not to mention people who exercise outdoors seem to stick to it more often. Run with it!
Experimental research has shown noticeable benefits correlating cognitive health and time in nature. A study from the University of Chicago has shown that children with green spaces near their schools and homes promote cognitive behavior and self-control. Adults whose homes have natural green spaces were found to have a better attention span and a greater ability to focus. While urban living situations showed a decline in mental plasticity and memory retention.
A hypothesis by Nisbet and colleagues of biolphilia argues that because our ancestors were so attached to nature for survival that our instincts still remain closely tied to natural environments. Thus lowering stress levels and increasing the ability to focus on modern-day tasks. This attention restoration can be a huge factor in maintaining a healthy mental state.
It is not only the sights of nature that have benefits but the sounds as well. Study groups compared against each other listening to urban sounds and natural sounds prove the birds chirping and waves crashing improve cognitive health.
Colors of Nature
A study conducted in 2018 took a look at what types of natural environments had the greatest effect on people. The studies noted that green and blue landscapes were most influential on mood and connectedness to nature. It also noted that the further from urban areas, the greater the positive outcome.
While this isn’t possible for many, making arrangements on weekends to get little ways out of the city is worth the trip. Even finding a secluded area in a large park away from bike trails and playgrounds helps grow your roots back to the natural world.
Bring Outside Inside Your Home
Ever walked into someone’s home and it felt like a plant nursery? There’s a reason for that. Not only do people cultivating house plants have a responsibility and joy for growing these plants, but they are also health providers. Fresher indoor air, the green colors, something to care for that needs them. Think recordings of bird sounds and waterfalls is silly, it is not, and researches have noticed their ability to calm humans.
Part of a Mental Health Routine
Nature immersion is a fantastic way to improve mental health but we understand it is not a cure-all. The Neuroscience Center urges you to make it part of your healthcare routine along with your medical treatments. Whether that is ketamine therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, or any other form of treatment. It is about creating new lifestyle habits that are tailored to your life, this is how we can help you the best.
Seeking Professional Help Could be Your Trailhead to Nature
The Neuroscience Center is here for all of your mental health needs. So if you need help give us a call or reach out via email and we’d be happy to hear from you.