Does science really need to prove something that Hippocrates said thousands of years before? In ancient Greece, healing temples were strategically built in a location with pure water, fresh air, nature, and beautiful surroundings because they understood the connection between health and nature. The experience of nature is a multi-sensorial experience incorporating touch, taste, feel, sound, energy and temperature creating a deeply satisfying experience on many levels.
Nature is a critical component of human health, something that can’t be replaced with the Internet and iPhones. In fact, the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health published a study that found exposure to noise in everyday urban life actually creates stress!
Studies have already shown that simply being in nature can
- Reduce stress
- Reduce anxiety
- Reduce aggression
- Reduce depression
- Lower blood pressure
- Increase social connectedness
- Improve pain control
- Improve eyesight
- Improve immune function
- Improve general health
- Improve allergy exacerbations
- Improve sleep
- Increase life satisfaction
With all this research about the connection of nature and wellness-it should be commonplace to find a green space and relax. Unfortunately a recent survey found that the average American spends 90% of their day indoors. Consequently, there is a new term out there called nature-deficit, which suggests a connection between many aliments and decreased exposure to nature.
Here’s some simple ways to connect with nature…
Get your daily 10
Spend at least 10 minutes a day at your local park. Studies have shown that nature is dose dependent meaning the longer time you spend in nature to larger the wellness benefits are. Make it part of your routine, the same way you would take a multi-vitamin.
Going barefoot is an easy way to connect with the Earth. In fact, there’s actually a study published in the Journal of Inflammatory Research that found going barefoot to have many beneficial health effects including reducing inflammation. Give this simple yet highly effective technique a try next time you’re outside in a green space.
Visit a local farm
Instead of going to the local farmers market, take it to a new level and visit your local farmers. Feeling and seeing where your food sources come from is a great way to connect with nature and appreciate the intelligence of nature.
Bring nature to you
An easy way to feel closer to nature is to bring it inside. Add houseplants that bring more green into your space and clean the air or create a mini-herb garden in your for fresh spices.
Embrace the night’s sky
How long has it been since you last saw the stars? Living in urban environments means the constant exposure to artificial lights. Did you know that artificial lights could upset your circadian clock and cause a range of health problems like insomnia and depression? Go on a weekend camping trip and stargaze.
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Shanahan, Danielle F., et al. “Health Benefits from Nature Experiences Depend on Dose.” Scientific Reports, vol. 6, no. 1, 2016, doi:10.1038/srep28551.
Louv R. Last Child in the Woods. Algonquin Books; New York, NY, USA: 2008.
Grinde, Bjørn, and Grete Patil. “Biophilia: Does Visual Contact with Nature Impact on Health and Well-Being?” International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, vol. 6, no. 9, 2009, pp. 2332–2343., doi:10.3390/ijerph6092332.
Oschman, James, et al. “The Effects of Grounding (Earthing) on Inflammation, the Immune Response, Wound Healing, and Prevention and Treatment of Chronic Inflammatory and Autoimmune Diseases.” Journal of Inflammation Research, 2015, p. 83., doi:10.2147/jir.s69656.
Chepesiuk, Ron. “Missing the Dark: Health Effects of Light Pollution.” Environmental Health Perspectives, vol. 117, no. 1, 2009, doi:10.1289/ehp.117-a20.