Unknown connection and realization: Have you ever wondered if there could be a link between nature and human well-being? Few people might have observed or realized that gardening, caring for animals, bird watching, walking/strolling barefoot on the beach or grass, etc., have a calming and relaxing effect on our bodies.
There has always been and will always be a connection between humans and nature. For instance, the air we breathe in (Oxygen) is exhaled by trees, and the tress inhales the air we humans exhale (Carbon Dioxide). This itself proves that nature and humans are deeply connected. Let’s find out more information on the secret power of Nature below.
Power of rural areas
It is a proven fact that people in rural areas are far healthier physically and mentally compared to people in urban areas. People in rural areas prefer to take care of the animals, grow their organic food, and engage in farming activities instead of using mobile phones. They tend to be and prefer to be more connected with nature and the earth. It is now time that we humans, especially in urban areas, realize that it is not because of us that nature exists, but we exist because of nature.
People should start realizing the importance of plants and animals in our lives.
People cannot survive without the flora & fauna, air, water, etc., present on the planet. But unfortunately, in modern times, we humans have convinced ourselves that our well-being & happiness depends on the amount of money we make or the amount of economic growth a person makes in life.
However, we will be healthier, wealthier, and happier if the planet has more trees, more fresh air, and more natural surroundings around us. In addition, our physical and mental illnesses can be reduced if we remain near the environment. Unfortunately, it is now becoming a common trend that affluent people engage in activities such as mud baths to calm themselves.
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Activities such as gardening, farming, and caring for the animals help build connections with nature and its surroundings. Today, we have lost contact with our mother nature, and this disconnect can lead to an unhealthy body and mind. Numerous studies and researches have been conducted which prove that exposure to the landscape has an immensely positive impact on our brain and body. Even psychiatrists have started to believe that medical treatment does not always have to be dependent on medicines.
“Nurturing and fostering a relationship with nature is one of the methods now being used to help people fight mental and physical illness.”
Realizing the importance of the intimate bond between humans and nature, a new therapy is becoming popular to deal with mental illness- “Ecotherapy”. This therapy is only around 25 years old. Still, it has started gaining popularity because therapists agree that being in-between nature helps alleviate mood and has many other health benefits. Additionally, it has also been proved through various studies and experiments that bacteria present in soil act as anti-depressants.
“Ecotherapy” or “Nature Therapy” is one of the ways in which therapists treat mental illness by connecting people with their natural surroundings. Studies have shown that being in connection with nature promotes the production and release of ‘Dopamine,’ or in simple words release of such neurotransmitters from the brain, which make people feel happy and relaxed.
Nature has a very positive impact on children
Being near nature has a very positive impact, especially on children. According to the findings of research conducted by the University of Aarhus, Denmark, children who spend more time in green spaces have lower chances of having mental illnesses like depression, anxiety, etc.
It has been noticed that when children indulge in activities such as gardening in school/home or are in touch with nature in any form (for instance: playing on the beach barefoot, taking care of animals, taking their pet on a walk, etc.), it not only gives them a better balance in life but also makes them more patient.
Making nature a part of your everyday life:
To live sensibly, we need to have contact with the earth we live on. Human beings have now started to realize the importance of a clean & natural environment and its positive effect on our health. Several activities can be done that help us connect with the natural world and improve our overall well-being:
- Engaging yourself in gardening activities can be more than a hobby-building exercise. Gardening can change a person’s overall outlook on life. Gardening and other planting activities have not one but many benefits.
- It is surprising, but gardening helps develop soft skills such as compassion, patience, and care for natural beings. People take all the care required to nurture and grow the plant. Additionally, gardening has also been seen as a method to reduce anger.
- According to research performed by Professor Charles Hall of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, it was concluded that gardening improves the physical, psychological, social, environmental, spiritual, and cognitive well-being of children. He stated that children who spend time around green spaces in school tend to have lower conflicts among themselves. In addition, it creates an environment for obtaining knowledge because it helps improve concentration and reduce negative distractions in students.
- Community gardening helps in developing the art of teamwork in human beings because of a simple reason while doing community gardening, people of different backgrounds and nature come together. Additionally, community gardening facilitates removing social & cultural barriers and makes people more grounded.
- Gardening is also considered to be a form of exercise. “Centers for Disease Control and Prevention” (CDC) have regarded intensive gardening (digging holes, raking of topsoil, etc.) as a form of exercise if it is done for a minimum of 30 minutes. 30-45 minutes of gardening daily are believed to burn around 300 calories.
- Growing fruits, vegetables, herbs, and flowers (such as camomile flowers) make people healthier because these are grown organically in house gardens or backyards. Fresh and organic food helps in maintaining a healthy mind and body.
- Last but not least, astonishingly, gardening helps in developing a self-care routine also.
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Going for a walk in green spaces
Walking has been considered one of the best forms of exercise because of so many benefits that come along with it, such as weight management, blood sugar control, strengthening of the heart, increase in immunity, etc. However, it should always be kept in mind that choosing between walking in the park or a gym is always more beneficial to choose parks. Plentiful research has proved that walking in a park has a more positive effect on the brain and body because green spaces provide added oxygen to the brain.
More oxygen supply means more energy and activeness of the body. Additionally, walking and exercising in the park can help build a better social circle, and this alone can act as a motivating factor for human beings to engage in physical activities. It should be remembered that fitness and well-being do not always mean running on the treadmill, lifting weights to make bulging muscles, increasing heart rate to burn more fat, etc.
This activity alone has so many hidden benefits that we are unaware of.
- Going outdoors to watch a bird increases the level of Vitamin D in the blood, which is vital for boosting the immune system, improving brain function, strengthening the bone, etc.
- Bird watching helps reduce stress, reducing the risk of other diseases such as heart disease, obesity, etc.
- Bird watching aids in developing quick reflexes because birds fly & move quickly from one place to another. To watch a particular bird means to be able to react quickly. Thus, bird watching helps in building a good reflex system.
- It has also been proved that bird watching aids in reducing pain because it creates ‘Endorphins,’ which are neurotransmitters central to pain relief.
- Additionally, Watching and hearing the birds chirp has a calming effect on the brain.
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In simple words, hiking means going on a long and vigorous walk on a mountain trail or footpath in the countryside. One of the most significant advantages of hiking is access to fresh and pollution-free air. Fresh air has higher oxygen levels, which is beneficial for mental and physical health.
As per recent research, a person is 55% more active if he spends more time in the fresh air since it activates the brain cell by providing more oxygen. Additionally, hiking strengthens relationships among friends and family members. It is always better to spend time with loved ones in a quiet, calm, and peaceful place than in some noisy locations in the city. Therefore, camping and hiking can be great relationship-building activities.
Growing indoor plants
People all around the globe have started growing indoor plants in their homes and workplaces. The Journal of Psychological Anthropology conducted a study, concluding that green spaces in homes or offices make people feel more relaxed, calm, soothed, and at peace. As a result, many employers have now started planting trees inside their offices.
Indoor plants in the workplace are believed to maintain correct heart rate & blood pressure, reduce stress, and increase concentration, thereby improving the employee’s efficiency. Additionally, indoor plants can help to purify the air. Some plants considered indoor plants are bamboo palms, rubber trees, spider plants, etc. However, it is essential to ensure that only such plants are grown which are safe for children, pets, and people with allergies.
Benefits of staying close to nature
Increases and builds confidence in people
Being connected with nature by indulging in activities such as camping and hiking helps in increasing confidence. Such adventure activities help improve and build the individual’s survival and analytical skills. People learn to survive with minimal things and use the commodities they bring intelligently. Such challenges aid in building confidence and increasing self-worth. It indirectly helps people adapt to and face different challenging situations without becoming anxious.
Helps in reducing self-isolation
Research and studies have concluded that spending at least 30 minutes a day doing activities such as walking in the park, spending time on beaches, community gardening, taking the dog for a stroll, etc., helps in reducing self-isolation. This is because humans are social animals and naturally tend to make friends, especially during leisure time and various leisure activities. Additionally, such activities help build trust in people and strengthen relations.
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Helps in improving focus
Bird watching has been considered an activity that helps improve focus in human beings. This is because birds move quickly from one place to another. Keeping an eye on a particular bird requires constant attention and quick reflexes, thereby making the person live in the present moment rather than worry about the future or think about past events.
Additionally, the sounds bird make has a very soothing effect on our brains. Therefore, it can be easily observed that most of the relaxing music available online has sounds of nature like birds chirping, water flowing, leaves moving on trees, etc.
Benefits our brain
Nature helps naturally improve our mental health without using any medication. It helps reduce various mental disorders like ADHD (Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder), PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), aggression, anger, mental fatigue, and stress. Thus, we can easily conclude that plants, animals, air, and water have a vital role in our life. We can live a happy and healthy life only and only if we live in-between nature and appreciate its significance in our lives.
Article by: Vasudha Bhushan
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