The Powerful Impact of Nature on Well-Being
As many of you know, spending time in nature is powerful medicine. Within minutes, it can calm our frazzled nerves, soothe racing thoughts, and boost mood. In fact, nature has such an impact on our physical and mental well-being that physicians in the USA and around the world have begun writing “nature prescriptions“.
The simple act of being in nature can lower rates of diabetes, asthma, obesity, nearsightedness, and hypertension — while improving sleep, birth outcomes, and immunity.1 What’s more, it is exceedingly beneficial for our mental health. Research has shown time and again that exposure to the natural world helps to alleviate depression and anxiety. It also improves ADHD, focus, and encourages well-being, resiliency, and less tendency to ruminate.1
And now, a new study has found that spending time in nature is much more beneficial than previously thought. Here’s what the research team found.
Health-Enhancing Qualities of the Natural World
Published in the journal Science Advances, researchers at the University of Tokyo found that spending time in nature produces an astonishing 227 unique pathways that contribute to human well-being. The team notes:
“When looking these 227 pathways more closely, it is possible to observe commonalities in terms of (i) the ways people consciously and unconsciously engage with ecosystems and experience benefits (i.e., channels of interaction) and (ii) the processes through which these interactions contribute to human well-being (i.e., mechanisms).”2
The researchers reviewed 301 academic articles from 62 countries. They found that along with previous discoveries of the beneficial aspects of interacting with nature, there are an additional five qualities that encourage mental well-being and subsequent physical health.2 These newly identified aspects include:
Cohesive: The development of meaningful relationships between people via interaction with nature.
Evolutive: The gradual change of individuals’ personality, mood, feelings, attitude, perception, behavior, values, and belief systems over time.
Formative: The chance of individuals’ moods, feelings, attitudes, perception behaviors, and values that are relatively instant or over short periods of time.
Satisfactive: The feeling of satisfaction and fulfillment of expectations and needs associated with interaction with nature.
Transcendentive: The benefits that lie beyond the ordinary experiences and the regular physical realm, more often associated with religious or spiritual values.
If you would like to discover how to reap the benefits of these new discoveries, as well as the creative, intuitive, regenerative, and cognitive health enhancing aspects of nature, here’s some inspiration to get you started.
How to Avoid Nature Deficit Disorder
Beyond going for a hike in the woods or strolling through an urban green space, there are abundant ways we can connect with nature. Good examples are cultivating a garden — even if it’s just tending a few potted plants; participating in a beach clean-up day; and one of my favorites: foraging for wild foods!
If you find you are not able to journey outside due to the weather or a health concern, studies have shown that viewing nature from a window provides a host of benefits.3 Tending to a houseplant or enjoying a photograph of nature can also boost well-being. Placing a bird feeder outside your window is another idea, as is taking snapshots of nature. Even listening to the rain pattering on the roof is beneficial. Get creative! The sky’s the limit as to how to enjoy the natural world and integrate it into your own daily rhythm and flow.
Interested in learning more about the impact of nature on health? Have a look at my post, “Nature Rx: The Science-Supported Miracle Medicine That’s Free“.
Botanicals to Support a Happy Body and Mind
Lastly, herbal medicines play an important role in cultivating mental and physical wellness. My Anxiety & Stress Tincture — as well as my Brain Bundle — contain calming and adaptogenic herbs that help to soothe the stress response, lower inflammation, encourage clarity, and support overall brain health.
Visit the Apothecary today and experience the power of natural remedies for yourself!
Nicole’s Apothecary Products in this Post
- “Human Benefits of Nature”, Park Rx America. https://parkrxamerica.org/patients/human-benefits-of-nature.php
- Huynh, L., Gasparatos, A., Su, J., Dam Lam, R., Grant, E. I., & Fukushi, K. (2022). Linking the nonmaterial dimensions of human-nature relations and human well-being through cultural ecosystem services. Science advances, 8(31), eabn8042. https://doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.abn8042
- Kate E. Lee, Kathryn J.H. Williams, Leisa D. Sargent, Nicholas S.G. Williams, Katherine A. Johnson. “40-second green roof views sustain attention: The role of micro-breaks in attention restoration”. Journal of Environmental Psychology, Vol. 42, June 2015. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0272494415000328