Friday, November 24, 2017 by Rita Winters
For city dwellers like most of us, taking a vacation means going to the mountains or the beach. Why we choose to have a change in view, from urban to rural, is now proven by science. By spending time in locations that are close to nature, our overall health is improved.
According to researchers at several universities in England, individuals who experienced more than 30 minutes of exposure to nature had an improved state of mind, or mental well-being. As compared to those who only took time at city gardens or parks, people who invested in resting at rural locations reported greater psychological contentment.
The test included over 4,500 individuals who were asked to evaluate their encounters with nature and record how the different environmental settings affected them. Researchers found that prolonged trips to eco-centric locations provided much more stress relief and outstanding feelings of contentment due to the individual’s heightened connection to the natural world. Disregarding socioeconomic status, anyone can enjoy nature, especially when the natural sites are free-for-all (no entrance fees).
Nature can be highly beneficial to human beings, but Dr. Kayleigh Wyles, lecturer in Environmental Psychology, says it is still being explored as to how and why it is that way. The effects on mental health may be different depending on the type and quality of the environment itself. The findings of the study are important as they help us understand why there are psychological benefits to nature. It will also help further the prioritization for maintenance and protection of these natural environments.
Ecotherapy, an idea of connecting to nature to promote well-being, isn’t new, but is definitely revolutionary. Previous studies show that our affiliation with nature is established in our biology and genetics. Further studies may improve on the concept of eco-therapy, and promote its basic yet extraordinary capacity towards health. Nature, as we know it, may really be a part of “human nature.”
To understand this fully, here is a list of benefits from spending time with nature, or taking a “natural” vacation:
Studies on natural health, the natural environment, and its effects on humankind’s health and well-being will prove useful, especially with the modern world’s uncertainty. Eat right, exercise regularly, and take that long-overdue family trip to that forest you’ve been dying to see!