Nature isn't just nice... it's necessary

June 8, 2018

Spending time in nature offers us an opportunity to reclaim something that many of us don’t even realize we have lost.  The science on this is extremely clear: the modern world, and the culture that built it, makes so many demands on our time and attention that many of us exist in a constant state of fight-or-flight.

We are permanently triggered - on a knife edge waiting to jump on...something.  We are surrounded by strangers, flashing lights, loud and unexpected noises - all the hustle and bustle of modern life, and our brains and hearts cannot possibly keep up or successfully process all of that information.  As a result, we deaden ourselves in one way or another, and seek constant distraction.

The life we evolved and adapted to lead was very different - we lived in forests and grasslands, deserts and river valleys, islands and mountains.  The loudest sound was a clap of thunder, and most everyone we saw each day was part of our family or well-known member of our tribe. It is for such environments that our senses are optimized and our bodies and mind responsive.

Over the last 40 years, a huge body of evidence has begun to accumulate that spending time in nature isn’t a luxury or just a nice diversion; it is a vital part of maintaining a healthy body and healthy emotions.  There are links to various scholarly articles below, but here are just a few of the well-documented benefits that you can expect from spending a few hours in a wild place:

  • Decreased stress
  • Improved immune response
  • Enhanced Creativity
  • Greater emotional resiliency
  • Stronger social connections

Below are links to articles in reputable periodicals and scientific journals that document and explain the huge impact that nature (and, more importantly, the lack of nature) has on us.   These articles and others like them are why we have made Nature our partner in our work at Acceptance.

Enhancing Creativity and Cognition
Doctor's Explain how Hiking Actually Changes Our Brains
The Cognitive Benefits of Interacting with Nature
At Home With Nature: Effects of "Greeness" on Children's Cognitive Functioning
Creativity in the Wild:  Improving Creative Reasoning Through Immersion in Natural Settings

Lowering Stress
The Restorative Effects of Natural Environment Experiences
Preference for Nature in Urbanized Societies: Stress, Restoration, and the Pursuit of Sustainability
The Restorative Benefits of Nature: Towards an Integrative Framework

Improving Mood and Connection
We Know Nature Makes Us Happier. Now Science Says It Makes Us Kinder Too
The Effects of Wilderness Therapy on the Clinical Concerns of Troubled Adolescents
The Effects of Wilderness Settings on Organized Groups.

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