Research is finding all the different ways that character benefits our well-being, health, and relationships.
From native teens completing rites of passage in the wild to modern East Asian civilizations carrying “woods baths,” many have looked to nature for a place for recovery and personal development.
Why character? Nobody knows for certain, but one theory derived from evolutionary biologist E. O. Wilson’s”biophilia” theory implies that there are evolutionary reasons people seek out character experiences. We might have preferences to maintain beautiful, natural spaces as their resource-rich environments–ones that offer optimal meals, shelter, and relaxation. These evolutionary demands may explain why kids are attracted to natural environments and why we prefer nature to be part of our architecture.
Now, a large body of research is documenting the favorable impacts of character on human flourishing–our social, psychological, and emotional life. Over 100 studies have shown that being in character, residing near nature, or even viewing nature in paintings and videos can have positive impacts on our brains, bodies, feelings, thought processes, and social interactions. Specifically, seeing nature appears to be inherently profitable, creating a cascade of posture emotions and calming our nervous systems. These in turn help us to cultivate increased openness, creativity, connection, generosity, and resilience.
How nature helps us feel good and do good
Certainly, he found nature’s awe-inspiring imagery a favorable, emotive experience.
However, what exactly does science say? Many studies have looked at how viewing awe-inspiring nature vision in photos and videos impacts emotions and behavior. By way of instance, in 1 study participants viewed a couple of minutes of this inspirational documentary Planet Earth, a neutral video by a news program, or funny footage from Walk on the Wild Side. Watching a few minutes of Planet Earth led individuals to sense 46 percent more awe and 31 percent greater gratitude than those in the other groups.
Positive emotions have favorable effects upon societal processes, too–like raising trust, cooperation, and familiarity with others. Since viewing nature appears to activate positive emotions, it follows that character likely has favorable effects on our societal well-being.
This has been robustly confirmed in a study about the benefits of living near green spaces. Most notably, the work of Frances Kuo and her coworkers finds in poorer neighborhoods of Chicago people who live near green spaces–lawns, parks, trees–reveal reductions in ADHD symptoms and increased calm, in addition to a more profound sense of connection to neighbors, more civility, and less violence in their neighborhoods. A later study confirmed that green spaces tend to have less crime.
How nature helps our health
Besides fostering joy, positive emotion, and kindness, vulnerability to character might also have physical and mental health benefits.
The benefits of character on health and well-being have been well-documented in various European and Asian civilizations. Even though Kuo’s evidence indicates a particular advantage for people from nature-deprived communities in the USA, the health and wellness benefits of immersion in character appear to generalize across a variety of class and ethnic backgrounds.
What’s nature so curing? 1 possibility is that having access to character –either by living near it or watching it reduces anxiety.
In a different study, participants who viewed a one-minute video of amazing nature rather than a video made feel the joyful feeling as though they had sufficient time” to do things” and did not believe that”their lives were falling away.” And studies have found that those who report feeling a good deal of awe and wonder and also an awareness of the natural beauty around them actually show lower levels of a biomarker (IL-6) which could lead to a decreased probability of cardiovascular disease, depression, and autoimmune disorder.
Though the study is not as well-documented in this area as in others, the results thus far are promising. 1 early research by Roger Ulrich discovered that patients recovered faster by the cardiovascular operation when they had a view of character out of a window, for instance.
Why We Are in Need of character
Ll of those findings converge on one conclusion: Being close to nature or seeing nature enhances our well-being. The question remains…how?
No question being in nature–or even viewing nature pictures–reduces the bodily symptoms of anxiety in our bodies. What this signifies is that we are not as inclined to be fearful and anxious about character, and therefore we can be open to others and also create patterns of thought.
Also, nature frequently induces awe, wonder, and reverence, all emotions proved to possess an assortment of benefits, promoting everything from well-being and altruism to humility to health.
There is also some evidence that exposure to character affects the mind. Viewing natural attractiveness (in the kind of landscape paintings and movie, at least) activates particular reward circuits in the brain related to dopamine release that provides us a sense of purpose, happiness, and energy to pursue our objectives.