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How Does Nature Impact Our Wellbeing?

With school and college classes in full swing, it’s easy to become engrossed in your computer. But remember, Autumn isn’t just about midterms and pumpkin spice lattes; it’s also a great time to get outside and enjoy the crisp, cool air and colorful foliage! Nature has been linked to various benefits, including improved attention, lower stress, better mood, a lower risk of psychiatric disorders, and even increased empathy and cooperation.

The majority of research has thus far focused on green spaces such as parks and forests, but researchers are now beginning to investigate the benefits of blue spaces, which include places with river and ocean views. Nature, on the other hand, comes in all shapes and sizes, and psychological research is still working to refine our understanding of its potential benefits. Scientists are charting a course for policymakers and the general public to better tap into Mother Nature’s healing powers.

NPS PHOTO/ JANICE WEI | Research indicates that time spent in nature is connected to cognitive and mental health benefits

Here are some of the best benefits of spending time in nature.

Nature connects you to others

Many people associate spending time in nature with being alone. As a result, you may be surprised to learn that nature can help you feel more connected to your community. Researchers believe this is because being in nature fosters feelings of empathy, love, and belonging.

Nature heals

LUISA RIVERA/ YALE ENVIRONMENT 360 | From boosting your mood to reducing stress, spending time in nature does wonders for your well-being.

Being in nature, or even watching nature scenes, reduces anger, fear, and stress while increasing pleasant feelings. Nature not only makes you feel better emotionally, but it also improves your physical health by lowering blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, and the production of stress hormones. According to scientists such as public health researchers Stamatakis and Mitchell, it may even reduce mortality.

Nature may benefit your mental health

Spending time in nature or incorporating it into your daily life can benefit both your mental and physical health. Growing food or flowers, exercising outside, or being around animals, for example, can all have a positive impact. It can:

– Improve your mood

– Reduce feelings of stress or anger

– Help you take time out and feel more relaxed

– Improve your physical health

– Improve your confidence and self-esteem

– Help you be more active

– Help you meet and get to know new people

– Connect you to your local community

– Reduce loneliness

– Help you feel more connected to nature

– Provide peer support.

Nature soothes

BRENDAN T LYNCH/ FLICKR | Mother Nature may find the indoor world pretty tough to compete with sometimes

Nature also helps us cope with pain. We are absorbed by nature scenes and distracted from our pain and discomfort because we are genetically programmed to find trees, plants, water, and other natural elements engrossing.

This is nicely demonstrated in a now-classic study of gallbladder surgery patients; half had a view of trees, and half had a view of a wall. According to the study’s physician, Robert Ulrich, patients who had a view of trees tolerated pain better, appeared to nurses to have fewer negative effects, and spent less time in the hospital. Recent studies with nature scenes and plants in hospital rooms have yielded similar results.

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