Nature therapy (also known as ecotherapy) describes an approach to wellbeing that emphasises meaningful exposure to nature.
All possibilities that arise just from connecting with nature:
- Improves stress, depression, and self-esteem.
- Improves immune system function.
- Improves blood pressure and sugar.
- Improves cognitive performance.
- Improves community relationships.
Even better, nature contact doesn’t have to be difficult or time-consuming. Research shows that beneficial nature exposure can range from simply looking at nature through a window, to working with potted plants, to day trips or hikes, all the way up to intensive wilderness adventures.
Research has shown that humans elicit positive psychological responses to nature, which involve feelings of pleasure, sustained attention or interest, feeling a “relaxed wakefulness,” and a decrease of negative emotions such as anger and anxiety. All of these effects can be beneficial in our professional and academic environments, as well as our personal lives. Studies have shown that being able to views natural scenic areas may actually reduce the physiological effects of stress. Patients in hospitals with access to view natural scenery show increased recovery rates, had better evaluations from nurses, required fewer pain killers, and had less post-operative complications compared to those who viewed urban scenes.
Easy ways to incorporate more nature into your day-to-day life include changing your phone or computer background to a nature scene, changing your commute to pass by nature features, adding plants and bird feeders around your home, enjoying a short walk through a garden or park during breaks, or picnicking under a few trees.