Study Says Nature Rejuvenates Us
Our friends over at GOOD and others are talking about a new series of studies from the Journal of Environmental Psychology that suggest getting outside in nature rejuvenates us. Not exactly groundbreaking stuff here but it’s always interesting when things we know intuitively are backed empirically.
To distinguish between the effects of nature, and say, just a walk to the deli from your office or down the hall to the vending machine, participants were taken through a variety of landscapes, both indoors and outdoors, were shown a selection of photographs, and were asked to document their lives in all kinds of different contexts. In all cases nature appeared to be the biggest boon for vitality. From the sudy’s lead author, Richard Ryan, a professor at the University of Rochester:
The findings were particularly robust; being outside in nature for just 20 minutes in a day was enough to significantly boost vitality levels. Interestingly, in the last study, the presence of nature had an independent energizing effect above that of being outdoors.
I suppose that’s all well and good for people who have easy access to nature, but what does it mean for city dwellers, i.e. most of us? There are a couple of options. First, you can find the nature nearest you via the NWF’s Nature Find site. The study also indicated that visualizing nature and looking at images of it had positive effects—so get on that. Set your screensaver to a natural landscape, or learn to meditate on the image of a stream or something.
In the book we devote a whole chapter to the relationship between beneficial lifestyle choices and their positive effects on our physical appearance. You know, if that happens to be a motivator for you…