Nature is powerful. Research has proven time and again that those who spend even just a moderate amount of time in the outdoors experience a host of benefits such as improved mood, better connection with friends and neighbors and a reduction in symptoms of stress. Exciting research is moving forward in an area called Attention Restoration Theory which has shown that the power of nature may help us recover from mental fatigue while improving concentration and our ability to solve problems.
Another study in London found that pharmacies in neighborhoods with more green space and trees actually filled fewer prescriptions for mood stabilizing medications. One researcher found that taking a few two-hour forest walks actually boosted immune system function and decreased inflammatory responses within the body. And surprisingly, the impact was long-lasting showing the same benefit even a month after returning to a more urban setting!
To be clear, walking, in general, will help produce desirable health benefits, however, it has been shown that. walking in an urban setting doesn't have quite the same benefits as a more natural setting. There have even been studies conducted to indicate that cities with more green space may experience less crime than those without.
But, what's even more compelling is the idea that even natural elements and photos of nature in an indoor space can have almost the same positive impact! The idea that even just viewing beautiful images of nature can give us a boost is exciting. It was found that viewing images of nature can increase “natural killer cells” (thereby improving our immune response), decrease heart rate and reduce anxiety while improving mood.
If viewing artwork of nature can produce these benefits, imagine what an hour outside could accomplish! But, indeed, that isn't always possible. With that in mind, when designing a home or a living space, consider incorporating natural elements or pictures of nature in the space. Our indoor surroundings are just as powerful! There has been research to suggest that residents in recovery facilities recover more quickly when surrounded by natural artwork vs abstract art. Even just the idea of nature can be healing!
When designing a home or decorating a space, consider implementing natural elements such as stones, seashells, plants and pictures and art depicting nature. Pets can also be a huge benefit not only for companionship, but they're also considered part of the natural world! Consider these ideas:
- Include plants in every room
- Decorate with natural items such as stones, seashells, pinecones, or wood
- Display flowers
- Study nature with books, sketches and pictures
- Have fun with nature art and display it
- Open the blinds and the curtains, better yet open the windows!
- Display nature pictures on a digital frame or on your TV
- Keep an indoor herb garden
With these ideas in mind, have fun creating an outdoor nature space indoors! Your body and mind will thank you!