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This blog kind of happened to me… to explain I was researching for another article I was writing and I came across an article that I felt drawn to reading (eapro.oxfordjournals.org/content/18/3/173.full)…
The study is based on the fact that humankind has been spending less and less time with nature as we become more urban orientated and that the effects of this is showing up in our health. Some of the factual points covered really surprised me so I decided to pick out some of my favourites and share them with you… all of these are facts taken form many different researchers from all over the world…
- The evidence tells us that the movement of humans from rural to urban environments across the globe within the last 200 years has facilitated their disengagement from the natural environment
- The protective factors of nature for health improvement and sustainability have been reduced by our diminishing regular contact with nature.
- For example, Ulrich (Ulrich, 1984), in a landmark study, demonstrated that hospital patients who viewed natural scenes, e.g. trees and animals from their wards, recovered faster, spent less time in hospital, required fewer painkillers and had fewer post-operative complications
- Placing trees next to freeways and roads, and having roads pass through and by green areas, reduces driver stress as measured by blood pressure, heart rate and sympathetic nervous system changes (Parsons et al., 1998)
- Rohde and Kendle (Rohde and Kendle, 1994) conducted a comprehensive literature review into psychological reactions to nature. They concluded that viewing nature reduces anger and anxiety, sustains attention and interest, and enhances feelings of pleasure.
- Exposure to nature was shown to reduce mental fatigue, irritability and accidents, and improve problem solving ability and concentration in people from urban areas who are located in a natural environment for a few days (Herzog et al., 1997)
- Lewis (Lewis, 1996) and Furnass (Furnass, 1996) provide evidence to suggest that gardening reduces stress, encourages nurturing characteristics, builds social networks and enhances social capital.
- Even indoor plants have a positive effect. They have been shown to improve office air quality, increase productivity and facilitate relationships between workers (Randall et al., 1992; Larsen et al., 1998).
- A major study by Anderson et al. (Anderson et al., 1992) demonstrated that pet owners had significantly lower blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels than non-owners.
We are all aware of this already on a very subconscious level however we need to be more familiar with the evidence and, in many cases, more proactive in making sure our natural environments are protected.
The health benefits are considerable. Physical, mental and spiritual health is all enriched when we engage with nature.
It is a so important for us as a collective global community to make sure this happens.
Happiness is – Spending more time OUTSIDE!
Till next time….