Has anyone ever told you to spend time in nature if you’re feeling down or a little off your groove? I’ve read through plenty of wellness articles listing “spend time in nature” as a way to re center yourself, and while I intuitively understand why this is sound advice, I still want to explore if there is some more concrete evidence for the therapeutic benefits of spending time out of doors.
The Biophilia Hypothesis….
The Biophilia hypothesis (not the Bjork album) asserts that humans have an instinctive bond with living systems in the world around them. It was used by Edward O. Wilson, an American biologist, in his book Biophilia (meaning “love of life or living systems”). The term is noted as first being used by Erich Fromm when describing “the passionate love of life and all that is alive” in his book The Anatomy of Human Destrictiveness.
(A phobia is an aversion to something, while an attraction or good feeling toward objects/habitats/activities in your natural world is called a philia)
Bringing Nature Indoors…
Biophilia has also become a method in design within the Green Movement. Proponents of Biophilia in design embrace the idea that humans function best in environments that are similar to the habitats in which we evolved.
So, what happens in a Biophilic space? Things like…
-Faster patient recovery
-Improved learning by students
-Increased workplace productivity, less absenteeism
Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater is an example of a Biophilic space.
Meeting Nature Where It’s At…
As the Biophilia hypothesis has gained popularity, more studies have been conducted to gauge whether there is validity to the therapeutic quality of nature. It has been found that contact with nature:
-Is mentally restorative
You do not need to live near expanses of wilderness to get the benefits; you can feel the positive effects by spending time at your neighborhood park or even in a garden. It’s even been found that brief exposure to nature is beneficial. Looking at pictures or out a window can offer advantages to our mood by being visually pleasing.
I don’t know about you, but I’m going outside. Thanks for stopping by the well!