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Benefits of Working with Nature

We all intuitively know that spending time in nature improves our physical and mental health, and there are many studies to support this.  Here are just a few of the many benefits that working with nature has to offer:

  1. Improved health – we have all experienced that time in nature improves both physical and mental health.  Depression, anxiety and other mental health issues could be eased by some time outdoors – especially when it’s combined with exercise from a walking meeting.  
  2. Improved short-term memory – studies have found that walks in nature boost working memory much more than walks in urban environments.
  3. Restored mental energy – we all know the feeling when your brain is completely overworked and your suffering from ‘mental fatigue.’ Research has found that exposure to the great outdoors can help your mental energy bounce back.  Even looking at pictures of nature has proved beneficial.  
  4. Reduced stress levels – feeling stressed? We recommend heading for the trees.  One study found a decrease in both heart rate and levels of cortisol of people in the forest when compared to those in the city.  And among office workers, even the view of nature out a window is associated with lower stress and higher job satisfaction.  
  5. Improved concentration – we all know that nature is ‘restorative’ and that even a quick walk outside can restore your fading attention.  Other studies have found that even looking at a green roof can markedly increase concentration.
  6. Sharper thinking and creativity – one of nature’s many benefits is how it can improve attention and memory.  One study found that when people were asked to repeat sequences of numbers, they were much more accurate after a walk in nature.  

References:

  1. Environmental Science and Technology, 2010; Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2012; Journal of Affective Disorders, 2013
  2. Psychological Science, 2008; Journal of Affective Disorders, 2013 
  3. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 1995; Journal of Environmental Psychology, 2005; Psychological Science, 2012
  4. Scandinavian Journal of Forest Research, 2007; Environmental Health and Preventative Medicine, 2010; Japanese Journal of Hygiene, 2011; Biomedical and Environmental Sciences, 2012
  5. Environment & Behaviour, 1991; Journal of Environmental Psychology, 1995 (2);Journal of Attention Disorders, 2008
  6. Psychological Science, 2008; PLOS ONE, 2012