Did you know that every human instinctively responds to nature in a positive way? This instinct, however, is in danger of disappearing as more and more natural landscapes are replaced with concrete jungles.
Research has proven that nature does in fact have profound effects on humans’ overall well-being and mental health. Our environment is even powerful enough to control our feelings, taking us from helplessness or anxiety fueled by artificial surroundings to peaceful happiness when in nature. The stress that may be fueled by being indoors can actually take a physical toll by elevating blood pressure levels and heart rates, suppressing the immune system, and increasing tension.
There have been many different studies on the ways that nature affects us as the topic has been approached from many different academic angles. Stemming from evolutionary psychology, the Biophilia hypothesis is one of the most substantiated views and research. This hypothesis claims that the human’s instinctive need or preference is to be in a natural environment. Studies have shown that cognitive function and overall health are improved through the human connection with nature. These results then correlate with the duration and intensity of exposure, which further supports the Biophilia hypothesis. Other research has shown that natural environments can help those going through mental or physical recovery as well.
This subject area is often only acutely studied, but some researchers are now taking a look at the long-term benefits of plants and nature. Researchers at the University of Exeter conducted a study called the “Longitudinal Effects on Mental Health of Moving to Greener and Less Green Urban Areas.” Over 1,000 participants were followed over the course of five years and qualified for the study if they moved within its first two or three years. A total of 594 people moved to greener areas and were found to have significantly better mental health after they had moved. This improvement was then found to be sustained every year subsequent to their move as proved by annual surveys. Those who moved to more urban areas reported lower mental health rates over the course of the study.
Plants and nature can have an incredible effect on the human mind and body. With more and more people spending exponentially higher amounts of time indoors than in the past, it is of the utmost importance that homes, offices, and indoor spaces are as Biophilia-friendly as possible. At PLANTZ, we want to help our customers be as happy and healthy as possible with the power of plants.
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