Health Benefits of Nature Connection
In an increasingly uncertain world, here is one thing we can be sure of: being in nature is good for us.
The research confirms what we know instinctively about the health benefits:
It clears our heads, lifts our spirits, and leaves us relaxed and revitalized.
It helps us feel better, think better, work better, and sleep better.
And it offers safe and effective natural medicine for many common ailments, including fatigue, depression, anxiety, and insomnia.
The effects are so powerful that even viewing images of nature or scenes through a window has measurable benefits. If nature were a drug, it would be the most widely-prescribed medicine in the world.
In our fast-paced, stressed-out modern world, connecting with nature is one of the best things we can do for our bodies, minds, and souls. And this is not just about our own well-being—it also impacts how we treat others and the Earth.
The following articles briefly summarize research findings about the health impacts of nature connection in plain language. As impressive as those findings are, the range of healing that occurs is broader and deeper than what we are capable of measuring.
“How Does Nature Impact Our Wellbeing?”
in Taking Charge of Your Health & Well-Being, University of Minnesota Center for Spirituality and Health
A broad yet concise overview that summarizes how nature heals, soothes, restores, and connects us, with brief mention of research results.
“Detoxing the City Brain through Nature” in Uplift, October 8, 2015
How a little bit of ‘green’ can make a big difference
A summary of the stresses of urban life and the health benefits of connecting with nature even in small ways within cities, emphasizing on impacts on stress, mood, and brain function.
“Why Urban Trees Solve So Many of Our Problems” in Sierra, Sept./Oct. 2015
A brief overview of the health, social, and environmental benefits of urban trees, including reduced stress, faster healing, and lower crime rates. Notes that the benefits are unevenly distributed by race and income level.
“Thoreau Was Right: Nature Hones the Mind” in Pacific Standard, January 11, 2011
Studies show nature restores our spirits, improves our thinking, keeps us healthier and probably even saner.
A concise yet fairly thorough summary of some of the key health benefits, with multiple links. Focuses on the restorative power of natural settings and even images of nature.
“Your Brain on Nature” in Docs Talk, November 3, 2011
Interview with Alan C. Logan, co-author of the book Your Brain, On Nature: The science of nature’s influence on your health, happiness and vitality.
A brief overview of how nature positively influences our brains, health, and sense of well-being, with brief mention of some research findings.
“Shinrin-Yoku: The Japanese Practice That Could Transform Your Day” in O, The Oprah Magazine, June 2014
Short article describing the health benefits of “forest bathing” and connecting mindfully with nature, including brief mention of research.
“Take Two Hours of Pine Forest and Call Me in the Morning” in Outside Magazine, December 2012
A longer, journalistic piece describing the Japanese custom of “forest bathing,” extensive research on the benefits of this practice, and some of the impressive findings.