Being with nature makes us feel good. Why is that? Why does too much screen time make us feel tired and stressed? Watch this short story to find out, and meet your cave-dwelling ancestors on the way!
There’s been a surge of interest from researchers in understanding how being in natural settings improves our health and wellbeing. Key findings are that time spent the right way in nature can bring about feelings of relaxation and peace, while decreasing feelings of stress and anxiety. It can enhance our levels of vitality and positive mood, and help us feel a stronger purpose in life. That’s what research is confirming - is that your experience too?
In a 2019 survey of 54,000 Australians, 77% agreed that they'd be happier if they spent more time in nature. It topped the charts in the 'happiness stakes'
In one study in Mind, 95% of those interviewed said their mood improved after spending time outside, changing from depressed, stressed, and anxious to more calm and balanced.
Nature connectedness describes a person’s relationship with the natural world. Their emotional attachment to it, and their views on belonging to it.
It is how connected we feel to nature when we are in it, rather than the amount of time we spend in it, that brings about many of the well-being benefits we are seeking.
A team of researchers from the University of Derby found that just spending time in nature doesn’t necessarily bring about wellbeing benefits. You could spend a week in the rugged wilderness of Alaska and still feel stressed, anxious and worried.
The secret ingredient to nature aiding our wellbeing, according to these researchers, is how connected one feels to the natural world while they are in it. If people are in nature, and feel connected to it, they will experience wellbeing benefits.
It’s how we engage with nature when we’re in it that affects our well-being. We need to tune into and notice nature on a daily basis to receive the benefits.
Most of us are tuned out, even when we are in a pristine natural setting. In one study, 80% of people said that they rarely or never watched wildlife, smelled flowers or did drawings or photography of nature. 62% of people rarely or never listened to bird song or took a moment to notice butterflies or bees. Only 6% celebrated natural events such as the longest day.
So you could engage, in a connected way, with the moon from your suburban backyard. Even with traffic noise in the background you could sit in your backyard and watch the moon. Feeling a sense of awe and reverence towards it, noticing its craters, noticing it’s soft glow, appreciating its beauty in the sky. Engaging with it in this connected way would leave you feeling calmer and happier.
Most of us need prompting and support to engage with nature in a way that increases our feeling of connection to it, and improves our health and wellbeing.
We offer nature based programs that help you to: