Too much time online? Get out in nature.
Author Richard Louv coined the phrase “nature deficit disorder” to describe the negative consequences of too much virtual and too little real time. His recent book, Vitamin N, sites studies showing how spending time in nature helps ADHD, depression and anxiety, obesity, myopia and the immune system. It’s also a good way to disconnect from the demands of a scheduled life and reconnect with your essential self.
"Whether it’s exercise, fresh air, negative ions, or unplugging from the grid, being in nature helps you slow down, calm down and get grounded"
Vitamin N is the perfect prescription for connecting with the power and joy of the natural world right now. To give you an idea of what Richard discusses in his book, here are five important reasons by children, adults and families should spend more time in nature (adapted from richardlouv.com).
Humans are hard-wired to love and need exposure to the natural world.
Researchers have found that regardless of culture people gravitate to images of nature, especially the savannah. Our inborn affiliation for nature may explain why we prefer to live in houses with particular views of the natural world.
We suffer when we withdraw from nature.
Australian professor Glenn Albrecht, director of the Institute of Sustainability and Technology Policy at Murdoch University, has coined the term solastalgia. He combined the Latin word solacium (comfort as in solace) and the Greek root algia (pain) to form solastalgia, which he defines as the pain experienced when there is recognition that the place where one resides and that one loves is under immediate assault.
Nature can reduce depression and improve psychological well-being.
Researchers in Sweden have found that joggers who exercise in a natural green setting feel more restored and less anxious, angry, or depressed than people who burn the same amount of calories jogging in a built urban setting.
Nature bonds families and friends.
New ways are emerging to make that bond, such as family nature clubs, through which multiple families go hiking, gardening or engage in other outdoor activities together. In the U.K., families are forming green gyms to bring people of all ages together to do green exercise.
Pennsylvania researchers found that patients in rooms with tree views had shorter hospitalisations, less need for pain medications, and fewer negative comments in the nursery notes, compared to patients with views of brick.