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Nature Heals


Many people spend significant amounts of time indoors or in front of a screen. Granted, this can be in an effort to relax or pursue hobbies. But it typically is a consequence of our work and social constructs. Oftentimes we are required to be in front of a computer to effectively perform our job. Sometimes we may simply choose to watch television, use social media on our phone, or play a video game when we have some downtime.


However, we are people of the earth. Nature is essential to our well-being. In fact, exposure to nature can help improve our mood and decrease feelings of anxiety. Two studies out of Japan and Finland examined the effects of time spent in a forested area/urban park/woodland area. The individuals who spent time walking in forest areas experienced significant decreases in negative mood states and anxiety levels, as compared to those walking around in an urban setting. Additionally, short-term visits to nature environments were shown to have positive effects on perceived stress relief, as compared to those visiting a built-up environment. In summation, regular exposure to nature can be healthy for us!


Those findings are not novel as you may have experienced your own health benefits after a hike or simply walking around your neighborhood. Some more specific findings related to our own personal fulfillment were identified in a 2019 meta-analysis from the University of Derby. Eudaimonic well-being (EWB) is described as contentment that is more than “just feeling good.” EWB entails having meaningful purpose in life and it is greater in those with more connection to nature. Specifically, these individuals tend to have higher levels of self-reported personal growth.


However, many of us work in jobs that require us to be indoors to do them effectively. Biophilic design comes into play here. We can do many things to bring nature into our work/home environment including using natural colors and images, bringing in leafy plants, incorporating nature’s scents, and playing nature sounds/audio while working/relaxing.


Therapy incorporates cognitive challenging and reframing skills, as well as many other evidence-based techniques, in order to help us address specific aspects of our lives. While therapy is research-supported and requires effort, some skills you may learn in therapy simply involve incorporating what we already know about ourselves. If you’re interested in bettering your mental health or have questions about how you can best approach areas of stress in your life, reach out to Roswell Psychology today for a complimentary consultation.

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