Public and industry interest in sustainability has grown in the last few years, but it isn’t nearly prevalent enough. And with how important nature is to humans, we need to prioritize saving it. But in what ways is nature essential to mankind?
Nature’s Physiological Benefits
Over the past few decades, there has been an increase in scientific studies dedicated to researching the calming and restorative effects of nature. It is empirically known that being outdoors is good for humans, and many scientists are working to back that up with data. Using non-threatening elements of nature, they aim to show that psychological well-being is quantifiably enhanced.
Calming Effect of Nature
Since the ’90s, there’s been a fair number of studies done on the benefits of viewing nature. A few studies found that viewing videos of nature versus urban scenes reduced stress in humans. Another study found that a view of trees and greenery out your window can lower blood pressure. Several studies have reported a decrease in stress responses when houseplants are present versus absent in one’s home. Forest therapy research shows that walking in the woods relaxes the nervous system by 102.7%, and it can be relaxed by 55% just by looking at forest scenery. (Ikei et al 17)
Refreshing Effect of Nature
Not only does nature have a calming effect, but there is evidence it can have a restorative effect as well. One scientific review outlines this phenomenon: “In contrast to the directed attention that is often required in our daily life, the involuntary attention requires no effort, and our attentional capacity can rest. Thus, nature can provide a setting for effortless attention, and we get gradually refreshed by being in nature.” Another review also mentions nature’s “awakening effect,” how it makes the mind sharper and clearer compared to urban environments which not only stress out humans but make our brains hazy and dull.
Why Do Humans Have A Special Relationship with Nature?
One hypothesized relationship between humans and nature and why the latter is beneficial to us stems from adaption. Most of human evolution has taken place in the natural environment. Our time in urban and industrial places is very small relative to all of human existence, so the human body is still adapted to a more natural setting and thus will experience physiological stress in unnatural or artificial settings.
Sustainability Must Be Made A Focus
Nature has a real, tangible impact on our well-being, and scientists are getting better at describing that impact every day. There is still a lot of research to be done on how viewing and being in a natural setting can improve human health. In the meantime, we all have to concern ourselves with sustainability and preserving the planet to protect nature. Eustis Chair is dedicated to sustainable practices and ethically sourcing our wood. Unlike with large department stores and their cheap foreign-made products, you can feel good about buying our chairs. We hope you join us in protecting the planet and making time for nature in your everyday life.