Research has shown that there is a correlation between stress levels and the environment we move on. Our senses can be affected anytime by mood, due to how the nervous, endocrine, and immune systems work at the time.
An unpleasant environment can cause a whole lot of negative emotions, ranging from sadness, anxiety, to helplessness. This raises one’s blood pressure, heart rate, and muscle tensions. Besides, it inhibits your immune system, which is relied on to protect from diseases. To add, “Someone with generalized anxiety disorder might feel as if they’re in an elevated state of anxiety almost all of the time because their brain is signaling that danger is lurking close by.” Amy Morin LCSW explains. This is not good because it will provide fears without basis and cause havoc with your mental health.
Naturally, the opposite does the reverse of all that.
Regardless of age, background, or culture, humans always find something of awe in nature. One study cited in the book Healing Gardens found that about 2/3 of people choose a natural place to retreat when the stress and pressure get to them.
Nature Is A Healer.
The mere presence of oneself in a natural setting or even images of nature can help with reducing feelings of anger, fear, and stress. Additionally, this also helps stimulate good senses. Being exposed to nature has been linked to both emotional and physical wellbeing improvement. Among the listed benefits are blood pressure reduction, better heart rate, muscle relaxation, and regulation of stress hormones. It may even lengthen one’s lifespan, as far as public health researchers Stamatakis and Mitchell are concerned. Even simple steps, such as having a potted plant in the room, can help hugely with stress and anxiety.
Nature Is Soothing.
“Our environment including where we live and work can to some extent affect the way we think, feel and behave, but this is a two-way street because the ways we think and feel can also draw us to certain types of environments,” says Dr. Denise Dillon.
When everything fails, nature is more than welcome to help us cope with our various pains. Due to our genetic coding to find nature elements captivating, that in turn helps us be distracted away from what we are currently feeling.
This was best demonstrated by a now well-known study of patients who underwent gallbladder surgery: half was assigned to a wall view, half was assigned to a view of trees. According to the conductor of the study, the physician Robert Ulrich, the half with the view of the trees coped better, reported fewer symptoms, and got discharged faster. More studies have been done recently, with scenes from nature and plants, saying the same results.
Nature Is Restorative.
One that has been garnering much discussion in current research is the impact of nature in one’s general wellbeing. According to study, 95% of interviewees related that their mood improved as they spent time in the outdoors, reporting a change from a depressive mood, a stressful aura, and anxiety, to a more calm and balanced state. Further studies indicate natural scenery often is associated with a positive mood & psychological fitness.
Also, time spent with nature or viewing nature sceneries increases attention span, the ability to pay attention. Because of the natural fascination of nature by humans, we then can naturally turn our focus on our current experience in nature.
Surprisingly, research on ADHD children by Andrea Taylor reveals that exposure to nature helps lengthen attention span, which is notoriously short in children with ADHD.
(“Feeling chronically overwhelmed can certainly shorten someone’s fuse,” said clinical psychologist Ari Tuckman, PsyD. Also, “people with ADHD may feel like they need to defend themselves or justify their actions too often and thereby react more angrily than they otherwise would.”)
Nature And You Will Connect.
Tests and research conducted by the team of Kuo and Coley at the Human-Environment Research Lab indicated that the time spent in nature could connect people with his surroundings. Another study from the University of Illinois had suggested that residents who had either trees or green space around them reported knowing more people, being more connected with the community, and a general feeling of helpfulness. The sentiments were indicated lower in subjects without such features around their buildings.
This feeling can be attributed to a study done with fMRI which measure brain activity. When subjects viewed natural sceneries, they reported better moods, associated with empathy. Subjects viewing urban scenes have their feelings of fear and anxiety raised, they said. As the studies show, nature ultimately helps us connect.