In our topsy turvy world, there is a steady march towards amazing technology that aims towards a hassle-free life. New gadgets and apps are being developed daily to make life more convenient and involve less effort. At the same time, all research into healthy living is screaming at us to detach from technology and engage with the living world. The more time spent in nature, the better. Walk in the woods regularly to decrease pain, reduce stress and live a longer, healthier life. The benefits of nature for health are mental, physical and social.
Why is nature good for health?
There are many possible reasons why strolling underneath the tree canopy might be good for health. Regular exercise does wonders for mental health, as well as fitness, and protects against many chronic diseases. A breath of fresh air and getting away from the fumes along main roads is also likely to be helpful for our lungs. But is there some undefinable feature of the natural world that also contributes? We see more shades of the colour green than any other colour. Green is considered a calming colour, which is why hospitals are often painted this colour. Trees, mountains and the sea are all awe-inspiring and there is a sense of coming home when we immerse ourselves in nature. This concept of our innate instinct to want to connect with nature and other living things is so well documented, it has a name. Biophilia.
How to benefit: for those short on time
You don’t even have to go outside to harness the benefits of nature for health. Nature is now often designed into new buildings to allow us to benefit more. Using natural materials and colours inspired by the living world can help. But just tending to a few plants on a window sill will help. Students in China were less anxious and had better concentration when they spent some time potting houseplants. Interacting with green living beings in our man-made non-living houses boosts wellness, even when there isn’t time for a luxurious walk in the woods.