Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Nature's Medicine

Women, Old, Shepherd, Nature  My mother got her first issue of National Geographic yesterday in the mail.  I've always loved reading the magazine and over the years I have gathered a bunch of the old issues because they are fun to read. 

National Geographic allowed me to travel and experience other countries when I was 10 or 12.  I could see other cultures while being snuggled up next to a window or sitting under a tree. 

In fact National Geographic was the go to magazine when you needed to do a country report because they had been to every place in the world or at least it seemed that way to a 12 year old.

The latest issue provided a lovely article on how humans need plant life to help us stay mentally healthy and have reduced stress.  Apparently there is a need for humans, especially now, to help our tired brains relax and heading out to nature helps tremendously.

In other words, we use our brains so much in modern society that our over all performance decreases while our stress goes up.  Going out in nature, allows our brains to relax and reset themselves while our mental performance increases.  I've always known I feel better walking through a forest, sitting in a park, looking at the waves of the ocean as they crash on the coast.

What is cool is that one can find scientific evidence supporting this.  In fact, one study discovered a lower incidence of things like mental distress, anxiety, asthma, depression, etc when a person lives with in a half mile of a green space.  Its even been discovered that if a person lives in a place with more trees, they undergo a boost in heart and metabolic rates associated with an increased income.

Someone else discovered that people had less disease and death even just living near a green space without using it. Apparently, just being able to see the trees and grass helps restore people's health.  I found it interesting that a study is being carried out with incarcerated prisoners seems to support the idea of nature helping people.  The prisoners who exercise in a gym with nature videos playing are calmer than those who exercise in a regular gym.

You know, there may be some benefits other than fighting boredom on those walkers which have a TV screen associated with it. The ones that allow you to show a video as you walk so you are walking in a forest, or along the beach.  I'm wondering if showing a nature video on the television or playing a CD of nature sounds would help us relax faster after a hard day a work.

I might just give it try.  It would fit in with my New Year's resolution.


  1. Hi, Lee. Excellent post. My husband and 8 year old have Aspergers (high end of the autism spectrum) and they find the noise and busy-ness of the city difficult. Three years ago we moved out to the woods (literally) and it has made a tremendous difference. NO question, we are wired to be near trees.

    Thanks for sharing this with The Blogger's Pit Stop!
    - Marie, Blogger's Pit crew

    1. Personally, I find I don't like ton's of noise. I love being outside where I can listen to the noises of nature. I also love gardening. I feel better after being in nature for a while.