Date of the last update: 21.06.2022
Over the years, with increasing urbanisation, people have lost their natural contact with nature. Currently, in many cases, it is somewhat sporadic and boils down to a rare visit to a park or a glimpse of a tree from one’s balcony. Although the city has become a comfortable living space that enables our professional development, it negatively affects the development of human connection to nature. So, how can we benefit from the healing power of nature in large agglomeration houses, schools and shops?
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Nature is so much more than just an element that beautifies urban spaces. It is a real force that affects people’s mental health. Several studies, including research conducted at the University of Michigan, have confirmed that. Researchers have proven that even a 20-minute walk in a green area can significantly reduce cortisol levels in the body. And as an experiment conducted by Professor Richard Ryan showed, being physically active in nature wonderfully boosts our energy levels and increases our sense of well-being. These are just two of numerous examples that point to the importance of nature for people’s mental and physical health. So how can we develop a relationship with nature in places that seem as far from a natural ecosystem as possible?
Nature connection is described as treating nature as part of one’s identity. It is an individual characteristic, although it changes over time along with different experiences related to nature. Therefore, some people feel more urged to be connected to nature, while for others, it is less important. Some studies suggest that this relationship depends on childhood experiences. Whatever the reason for the need to keep in contact with nature, it is worth noting that it has somehow healing properties. How to build this connection?
- Go out – of course, the first and foremost step in maintaining a connection with nature in an urban space is to go outdoors, to a park or a forest, or even to a green space near your home. With the increasing consciousness of proper land use, there are tree-lined avenues and green patios created among many buildings.
- Notice nature – in a study done at the University of Michigan, just a few bans were imposed on the people, such as social media and even talking or reading a book. The study aimed at finding out how conscious contact with nature affects people. And this is only possible by really focusing on nature and noticing it.
- Make sure to have some greenery around you – nature surrounds people from all around, including in large cities. Still, it is important to have plants in your immediate surroundings, i.e., at home; this applies to flowers and herbs on the balcony, for example. Remember that plants in a flat have a positive impact on the air quality at home, which is undoubtedly an essential aspect of living in a city.
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Developing a relationship with nature does not have to be difficult, even in large agglomerations. Even brief contact is enough to ensure mental peace and reduce cortisol levels in the body. Keep that in mind when planning your leisure time.