top of page
Search
  • Writer's pictureAmai Palmer

The Benefits of Spending Time in Nature

In “Unlock the Greatness Within” Sarah Grynsberg says;

“Nature is one of life’s greatest healers. Are you aware of how much it can benefit you, both to your inner and outer selves?”


As I am passionate about “nurturing a love of creation in the next generation” I have been reading about why we need to encourage our young people to engage with creation/nature. There is a large body of research about the wide variety of benefits.


I do hope after considering these facts, you will be encouraged to set aside time to get out into nature with your children, armed with a deeper understanding of how good it will be for you all. I apologize for the dot points I have attempted to summarize the facts.


Frederick Olmsted observed that Nature Therapy (NT) provides the mind with effortless enjoyment with the absence of worry, resulting in the whole mind and body feeling refreshed and reinvigorated (Reddon & Durante 2017).


Frank Loyd Wright (A well-known architect) “Love nature, study nature, stay close to nature it will never fail you.” 

 

This is a summary of Sarah Grynsberg’s research:


Nature can make us healthy:

Nature is a powerful tonic to the mind body and spirit.

Florence Nightingale recorded her observations of patients’ health and well-being when exposed to nature and found that there was improved health and well-being compared to those without this exposure (Reddon & Durante 2017).

Being out in nature:

  • gets you moving, vital to our joint health.

  • results in better sleep and boosts your immune system.

  • Berger (2010) found that when patients with a physical disability participated in Nature Therapy they began to process and work through the psychological issues that stemmed from their physical limitations.

  • provides a mental change becoming more aware of what’s around you.


Nature makes us happy:

People who spend time in nature and appreciate it have;

  • a better life satisfaction, are more positive as well as resilient, and better equipped to deal with life’s challenges.

  • a boost to their mood and confidence. To decrease activation of the Prefrontal Cortex in people with depression, 90-minute walks in nature have shown decreases in neural activity and reports of reduced rumination.

  • a tool to combat boredom.

  • Not only can it reduce the feelings of stress, anger, or frustration but being in nature also allows you to slow down and process your thoughts and emotions.

  • Being in nature allows you to observe and appreciate the beauty in the world around you, from watching birds to learning about plants, trees, and flowers.

  • With SADS Reddon and Durante (2017) state that even with nature exposure during the winter months these symptoms decrease and thus it is not associated with seasonal changes but rather due to insufficient nature exposure.

  • It is beautiful and fills us with a sense of awe and wonder which brings us joy.


When in nature we frequently experience a sense of awe.

From Awe is a pathway to mental and physical health by Maria Monroy and Dacher Kelter


Experiencing awe results in:

  • shifts in neurophysiology, (improved health of the nervous system)

  • diminished focus on the self,

  • increased prosocial relationality, (increased orientations to others), resulting in greater social integration.

  • a heightened sense of meaning (we are a part of something bigger than ourselves)

  • elevated vagal tone, greater vagal tone promotes a state of calm and social engagement by reducing heart rate,

  • reduced sympathetic arousal (fight or flight response)

  • increased oxytocin release, inducing anti-stress-like effects such as reduction of blood pressure and cortisol levels and increases pain thresholds.

  • reduced inflammation (Horikawa et al., 2020van Elk et al., 2019)

            All of which assist our well-being. 


Evidence that it benefits children:


Children with exposure to nature have:

  • more self-esteem.

  • connect more with their creativity.

  • Learn how to take appropriate risks in life.

  • benefit from increased flexibility and gross motor skills.

  • Improved vision.

  • reduced body inflammation.

  • honed coordination and balancing skills.

  • better problem-solving skills.

  • experimental knowledge, which is needed to be a street-smart person.

  • a respect for our earth.

  • symptoms of ADHD reduced.


I add have awe and appreciation for the Creator.


The therapeutic benefits of nature should come as no surprise in that humanity has a fundamental affinity for living things (biophilia) as well as vegetation (phytophilia). Clearly, the endorsement and recommendation of Nature Exposure is deeply rooted historically and cross-culturally.” John R. Reddona,b,⁎ Salvatore B. Duranteb


The benefits to our whole health are only complete when we consider body, soul, and spirit. I believe God wired us to connect with His creation as it highlights to us how incredible a creator He is and how much He cares for us.


In the woods, we return to reason and faith. There I feel that nothing can befall me in life—no disgrace, no calamity (leaving me my eyes), which nature cannot repair. Standing on the bare ground—my head bathed by the blithe air and uplifted into infinite space—all mean egotism vanishes. I become a transparent eyeball; I am nothing; I see all; the currents of the Universal Being circulate through me; I am part or parcel of God. The name of the nearest friend sounds then foreign and accidental; to be brothers, to be acquaintances, master or servant, is then a trifle and a disturbance. I am the lover of uncontained and immortal beauty.

Emerson (1836/2009, pp. 3-4)


Emerson R. W. (1836). Nature. Reprinted in Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nature and Other Essays (2009). Dover. [Google Scholar]


For your reference:

3 views0 comments

Comentários


bottom of page