An increasing number of pedestrians and other health professionals in the US are routinely prescribing nature to children and families. It has the power to heal because it is where we are from, where we belong, and it belongs to us. Nature is an essential part of our health and survival.
A growing number of studies and campaigns are showing different pieces of evidence of how nature can make you healthier and happier. The environment can increase or reduce your stress levels, which in turn will impact your body. What you are hearing and seeing not only affects your mood but how your endocrine, nervous, and immune system works.
An unpleasant environment can result in stress because it makes you feel helpless, sad, and anxious. The stress then elevates your heart rate, blood pressure, and muscle tension, while suppressing your immune system.
A pleasing environment reverses all that because it makes you feel happy. Being happy promotes a healthy lifestyle. It helps you combat stress, reduce pain, protect your heart, and boost your immune system. Being happy also increases life expectancy.
Regardless of culture or age, we human beings find nature pleasing. According to Healing Gardens, two-thirds of people opt for a natural setting when seeking to recover from stress.
Due to the advancements in technology, we are now doing things differently. We are spending most of our time indoors. We have also changed the way we entertain ourselves. We are now turning to video games, watching films, reading books, and chatting when we feel mentally exhausted.
We don’t walk anymore. We’re driving to and from work every day. Nobody wants to climb stairs anymore because we have lifts, ramps, and elevators. The risk of obesity and other chronic diseases is increasing because people are no longer exercising.
Going back to nature will help prevent and heal some chronic diseases. Here are some of the reasons why health professionals in the US are now prescribing nature to children and families:
1. Nature Heals.
Being in nature and viewing scenes help reduce anger, stress, and fear while increasing the pleasant feeling. Recent research has shown that even a simple plant in an office or classroom has a significant impact on anxiety and stress. Nature not only makes you feel emotionally better but also contributes to your physical wellbeing, reduce muscle tension, lower your blood pressure, and significantly slows the production of stress hormones (Norepinephrine, Cortisol, and Adrenaline). According to Mitchell and Stamatakis (public health researchers), by just being outside, your blood pressure goes back to normal hence reducing the mortality rate.
2. Nature Restores.
Spending a few minutes outside helps improve your mood. It changes your mood from depressed, stressed, and anxious to a more balanced and calm. According to studies by Kim, Cervinia, and Ulrich, time in nature creates a positive mood that positively affects our psychological well being.
Viewing natural scenes also helps improve your ability to pay attention and concentrate. By just being human, we find nature to be inherently interesting. We can naturally focus on what we are experiencing and viewing outdoors. Walking in a park will respite your overactive mind, refreshing you for upcoming new tasks.
In another research by Andrea Taylor on children with deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), spending time in nature increases a patient’s attention span later.
3. Nature Soothes.
Nature helps people struggling with chronic pain cope with it. When walking in a park or just viewing natural scenes, your mind is distracted from the pain and other discomforts. According to research by Robert Ulrich, viewing nature helps patients tolerate pain better after surgery. The plant and nature scenes you see in many hospital rooms are to distract patients’ attention to pain.
4. Nature Reconnects.
According to the studies conducted at the Human-Environment Research Lab, spending time in nature helps us connect. According to another study done by the University of Illinois, people living in public housing that has trees and greener space around know more people and are concerned with supporting and helping each other.
5. Spending Too Much Time In Front Of TVs And Computer Screens Is Deadly!
People who have limited time in the natural world are likely to suffer from depression and isolation. Spending time in nature means walking in a park, hikes, and other outdoor activities. Participating in these activities makes your body and mind active since you’re exercising. Walking for 30 minutes every day is enough exercise that will help you reduce weight, boost your immune system, protect your heart, and refresh your mind.