Research is discovering all the different ways that character benefits our well-being health and relationships.
From native adolescents completing rites of passage in the wild to contemporary East Asian civilizations taking “woods baths,” many have looked to nature for a place for recovery and personal development.
We might have preferences to maintain amazing, natural spaces because they’re resource-rich environments–ones that offer optimum food, shelter, and comfort. These evolutionary needs may explain why kids are attracted to natural environments and the reason why we prefer character to be part of our architecture.
Today, a massive body of research is documenting the positive impacts of nature on human flourishing–our social, emotional, and emotional life. More than 100 studies have shown that being in character, residing near character, as well as seeing nature in videos and paintings may have positive effects on our brains, bodies, feelings, thought processes, and social interactions. These in turn help us to cultivate greater openness, creativity, link, generosity, and endurance.
How nature helps us feel good and do great
However, what exactly does science say? Several studies have looked at how seeing awe-inspiring nature imagery in photos and movies impacts emotions and behavior. By way of example, in 1 study participants either viewed a few minutes of the inspirational documentary Planet Earth, a neutral video from a news program, or funny footage from Walk on the Wild Side. Watching a few minutes of Planet Earth led people to sense 46 percent more awe and 31 percent greater appreciation than people in the other types.
Positive emotions have favorable effects upon societal processes, also –like raising trust, collaboration, and familiarity with others. Since seeing nature appears to activate positive emotions, it follows that character likely has favorable effects on our social well-being.
This has been robustly confirmed in a study about the benefits of living near green spaces. Most importantly, the job of Frances Kuo and her coworkers finds in poorer neighborhoods of Chicago individuals who live nearby green spaces–lawns, parks, trees–reveal reductions in ADHD symptoms and increased calm, as well as a stronger sense of connection with acquaintances, more civility, and less violence in their own neighborhoods. A later analysis confirmed that green spaces tend to have less crime.
How disposition helps our health
Besides fostering joy, positive emotion, and kindness, vulnerability to nature might also have physical and mental health benefits.
The benefits of nature on health and well-being have been well-documented in various European and Asian civilizations. While Kuo’s evidence suggests that a specific advantage for people from nature-deprived communities in the USA, the health and health benefits of immersion in character appear to generalize across a variety of ethnic and class backgrounds.
Why is nature so curing? One possibility is that using nature–by residing near it or viewing it reduces anxiety. In research by Catharine Ward Thompson and her colleagues, the people who lived near bigger areas of green space reported less stress and showed greater reductions in cortisol levels within the course of this day.
Although the research is not as well-documented in this field as in others, the results thus far are promising. 1 early research by Roger Ulrich found that patients recovered faster by cardiovascular surgery when they had a view of character out of a window, for example.
Why we need nature
Ll of these findings converge on a single conclusion: Being close to nature or seeing nature enhances our well-being. The question remains…how?
There is no question that being in character –or even viewing nature images —reduces the bodily signs of anxiety in our own bodies. This means is that we’re not as inclined to be anxious and fearful in nature, and therefore we can be more open to other people and innovative patterns of thought.
Additionally, nature often induces awe, wonder, and reverence, all emotions known to have an assortment of benefits, encouraging everything from well-being and altruism to humility to health.
There’s also some evidence that exposure to character impacts the mind. Seeing natural attractiveness (in the kind of landscape paintings and movie, at least) activates specific reward circuits in the brain related to dopamine release that gives us a sense of purpose, happiness, and energy to pursue our objectives.