The environment can increase or reduce our stress, which impacts our bodies. Spending time in nature can help relieve stress and anxiety, improve our mood, and boost the feeling of happiness and wellbeing. A study says that taking atleast 20 minutes out of your day to stroll or sit in a place that makes you feel in contact with nature significantly lower your stress hormone level. Whatever you are experiencing at that time is not only changing your mood but how your nervous, endocrine and immune systems are working. We know that spending time in nature reduces stress, but until now it was unclear how much is enough, how often to do it, or even what kind of nature experience will benefit us, said Dr Mary Carol Hunter, an Associate Professor at the University of Michigan and lead author of this research.
The modern way we live has changed radically from life in the savanna, but our brains have mostly stayed the same. We still have a deep connection with nature, and research shows that if we don’t nourish that bond despite our technological advancements, we may suffer in many ways. Regardless of age and culture, humans find nature pleasing. In one study cited in the book Healing Gardens, researchers found that more than two-thirds of people choose a natural setting to retreat to when stressed.
- Nature Heals: Being in nature, or even viewing scenes of nature, reduces anger, fear, and stress and increases pleasant feelings. Exposure to the nature not only helps you feel better emotionally, but it also contributes to your physical wellbeing, reducing blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, and the production of stress hormones. It may even reduce mortality. Research done hospitals, offices, and schools have found that even a simple plant in a room can have a significant impact on stress and anxiety.
- Nature restores: In one of the study “Mind”, 95% of those interviewed said their mood improved after spending time outside, changing from depressed stressed, and anxious to calmer and balanced. Other studies by Ulrich, Kim, and Cervinka shows that time in nature or scenes of nature are associated with a positive mood, and psychological wellbeing, meaningfulness, and vitality. Viewing nature scenes increases our ability to pay attention to. Because humans find nature inherently interesting, we can naturally focus on what we are experiencing out in nature. This also provides a respite for our overactive minds, refreshing us for new tasks.
- Nature Soothes: Nature helps us cope with pain. Because we are genetically programmed to find trees, plants, water, and other natural elements interesting, we are absorbed by nature scenes and distracted from our pain and discomfort. Some patients underwent gallbladder surgery: half had a view of trees, and half had a view of a wall. According to the physician Robert Ulrich, the patients with the view of trees tolerated pain better, appeared to nurses to have fewer negative effects, and spent less time in a hospital.