This post was developed via a partnership with BetterHelp.
Imagine being in a lush, green meadow with the sun shining on you and birds chirping gently in the background. There’s something relaxing about being in nature, and now science is helping us better understand this connection.
In this article, we’ll look at some of the most interesting findings about how nature affects our health and wellbeing. Finding effective techniques and strategies like these can help you better care for your mind and body.
But if taking positive steps to improve your mental health isn’t working and you’re still feeling overwhelmed, seeking professional help is recommended. Fortunately, there are more options than ever before for taking care of your mental health.
One option that’s becoming more popular is online therapy, which allows you to meet online with your therapist from anywhere. For some, the ease and convenience of online therapy allow them to get started faster and help them stick with it. Just don’t hesitate to seek more support if that’s what you need to bring positive results into your life.
There’s help out there, and we hope this article points you to ways to improve your mental wellbeing through nature.
Nature Helps Us Feel More Connected
According to a study at the Human-Environment Research Lab by researchers Kuo and Coley, the time subjects spent in nature helped them feel more connected to other people in their community and the world in general.
Another study by the University of Illinois suggests that people in urban environments prefer natural elements and benefit from being near them. When comparing people in an apartment building with trees versus people in an apartment building without trees, the people who had trees in their apartment complex had a greater sense of community and lower crime rates
Nature Can Benefit Your Health And Wellbeing
Spending time in nature has been linked to a wide range of emotional benefits, from lower stress levels and reduced anger to an increase in the positive feelings people have. Physically there are positive benefits as well. Exposure to nature has been linked to instances of lower blood pressure, easing muscle tensions, and reduced production of stress hormones like cortisol.
So start planning your next hike or activity in nature. Even more good news is that interacting with natural living things can benefit you too. Bringing a plant into your home can help you enjoy the benefits of nature, even when you’re indoors. Research has proven the health benefits of plants again and again. In one study, houseplants were found to provide physiological and psychological benefits, which worked by lowering a person’s nervous system activity.
Plants May Help Us Focus More Clearly
When we’re relaxed, we tend to be able to focus more easily. Multiple studies on the effects of plants in classrooms have shown that kids displayed improved attention near living plants. School-aged children also scored better on tests in the presence of foliage in their classrooms. Try adding plants to your work area to help improve your focus and attention.
Patients May Heal Faster With Nature
According to research focused on the effects of hospital gardens, hospitalized patients who had a view of trees or greenery showed more calm and had better medical outcomes. These patients also required less pain medication and spent less time in the hospital recovering.
Because the hospital patients who healed faster were only looking out the window at greenery, it means you don’t even need to go outdoors to reap the benefits of being close to nature. You only need a nice view outside or photographs of nature.
Plants Can Help Us Feel Happier And More Satisfied
In one study, people who were near plants for just five to 10 minutes were happier than people who didn’t spend time near plants. There have also been studies that linked spending time near plants to increased life satisfaction and better self-esteem.
Caring For Houseplants Has Benefits Too
Many people are convinced they have a “black thumb” and can’t keep plants alive. But caring for houseplants is a fun and easy pastime, depending on which kinds of plants you choose to raise. Plus, hobbies are a great way to improve your mental wellbeing and feel more relaxed, according to experts.
There are many kinds of beautiful plants that are also easy to maintain. Some of the easiest kinds of plants to care for are succulents, which are a cousin to cactuses and don’t need much water. Also, look for easy-to-grow tropical vegetation like snake plants and ZZ plants.
Pictures Of Nature Work Too
Studies have shown over and over again how strongly humans are wired to prefer natural over man-made environments. When subjects in a research study were shown pictures of nature scenes, the part of the brain that’s involved with love and empathy is more engaged versus looking at urban scenes. This means photographs and pictures of nature scenes can help us feel the benefits of the great outdoors — without even going outside.
When You’re in Nature, You’re Not Sitting In Front Of A Screen
Nature doesn’t just refresh us, it also helps us avoid spending too much in front of computer screens. The amount of sedentary time you spend can negatively affect your physical health and mental wellbeing. Going for even short nature walks has the potential to improve your health. Getting up from a seated position once an hour and walking for 5 minutes can help offset negative effects of a sedentary lifestyle.
Whether you start taking more hikes outdoors or you add more houseplants to your home and office, take advantage of the many ways you can bring more nature into your life today.
What Are Some Health Benefits Of Being In Nature?
Spending time outside has been shown to help people be more physically active and feel more relaxed. People who spent time in nature display a wide range of benefits, from improved concentration and focus to lower blood pressure.
Can Nature Help Reduce Anxiety?
Research shows links between spending time in nature and having fewer negative emotions, including symptoms of anxiety. Nature has also been shown to play a role in stress reduction and helps with mild-to-moderate forms of depression. Lower cortisol, which is the body’s main stress hormone, has also been linked to time spent in nature.