We all intrinsically think that nature must be good for our health and happiness. A recent analysis of a large-scale nature challenge scientifically shows how important feeling part of nature is to our physical and mental health
The nature-deficit disorder is the idea that human beings, especially children, are spending less time outdoors and the belief that this change results in a wide range of behavioral problems. This disorder is not recognized in any of the medical manuals for mental disorders
There are a growing number of studies and campaigns putting forward evidence that a connection with nature makes us healthier and happier people, something that few of us nature lovers would argue with. At the time of the challenge participants were also asked to take part in a survey about their perceived connection to nature and feeling a part of it; how they interacted with nature, and how they felt about their health and happiness before the challenge started,
“Intuitively we knew that nature was good for us as humans, but the results were beyond brilliant,”
The study showed that there was a scientifically significant increase in people’s health, happiness, connection to nature and active nature behaviors, such as feeding the birds and planting flowers for bees – not just throughout the challenge, but sustained for months after the challenge had been completed. this improvement in health being predicted by the increase in happiness, this relationship is mediated by the change in connection to nature. It adds to a growing body of evidence that shows definitively that we need nature for our health and wellbeing. For example, children exposed to the natural world showed increases in self-esteem. They also felt it taught them how to take risks, unleashed their creativity and gave them a chance to exercise, play, and discover. In some cases nature can significantly improve the symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), providing a calming influence and helping them concentrate. And for people suffering from physical illness or mental health disorders, such as depression and anxiety, interacting with nature can help people control their symptoms or even recover, alongside conventional medication.
“Nature isn’t a miracle cure for diseases,”
“But by interacting with it, spending time in it, experiencing it and appreciating it we can reap the benefits of feeling happier and healthier as a result.”
“The design and evaluation took a proven approach in evaluations of such scale, it’s an important step.”
there is already research evidence that exposure to nature can reduce hypertension (abnormally high blood pressure), respiratory tract and cardiovascular illnesses; improve vitality and mood; benefits issues of mental wellbeing such as anxiety; and restore attention capacity and mental fatigue. But more than that, feeling a part of nature has been shown to significantly correlate with life satisfaction, vitality, meaningfulness, happiness, mindfulness, and lower cognitive anxiety.
“These correlations are of a similar magnitude to those found between wellbeing and other variables, such as marriage and education, whose relationships with wellbeing are well established.”
And, he adds, a recent analysis found people with a stronger connection to nature experienced more life satisfaction, positive affect, and vitality at levels associated with established predictors of satisfaction, such as personal income.“There is a need to normalize everyday nature as part of a healthy lifestyle, The real challenge for the future is how we get more people involved, knowing what we do about the very real benefits of nature.