In the modern era, it can be easy to feel more connected to our cell phones and computer screens than to the world outside. But that might not be beneficial to our health. Our wellbeing is connected to nature in more ways than you might imagine. Multiple fields of study have discovered the connection between our health and nature, including various medical disciplines, psychology, and even geometry!
The Medical Benefits of Nature
Spending time in nature has been linked to various health benefits such as improved cardiovascular health, a stronger immune system, and less muscle and joint pain. It can even help you live longer–and with a better quality of life! When you don’t spend enough time in nature, you develop nature-deficit disorder, a detrimental condition which can impact your overall health. It can lead to health issues such as:
- increased stress
- trouble maintaining focus/attention
- diminished emotional expression and resilience
- deficits in creative thinking and reasoning
- reduced capacity for forming healthy social relationships
- increased risk / worsening of chronic illness
- loss of connectedness to the natural world and one’s responsibility for it
Even though nature-deficit disorder is not yet regarded as a medical condition, both conventional and holistic health practitioners recognize the harmful effects from a lack of contact with nature. These practitioners view nature-deficit as a nonclinical syndrome that can impair the emotional, cognitive, and physical functioning of adults and children.
Time in nature has even been linked to a lower risk for certain types of cancer. A 2018 study from Spain followed a group of 1,129 women with breast cancer and 1,619 women without breast cancer from 2008 to 2013. They tracked the time they spent in nature as well as various health indicators and found that time in nature decreased one’s risk of breast cancer.
Your Mental Health on Nature
If you’ve ever taken a short walk outside in the middle of a stressful workday, you probably understand the healing and soothing effects of nature. Psychologists and other mental health professionals have actually linked nature’s soothing feeling to tangible mental and cognitive benefits. Spending time in nature can help improve your mental health in a variety of ways. It has been linked to decreased:
- Anxiety (you can even take my Cure Your Anxiety quiz)
- Rumination (when you have persistent, negative thoughts)
A 2019 study found spending 10 minutes or more in nature 3 times a week can reduce biological indicators of stress by over 20%. This is because spending time outside helps you disconnect from stressors and reconnect to your natural environment.
A 2020 study discussed the direct relationship between nature and happiness. Spending time in green space improved overall mood and mental health in adults. It’s also been shown to improve cognition and creativity, two other indicators of happiness.
Often, having a focused activity to do in nature can help as well. Some simple nature activities you could try today are to do breath work in nature, go forest bathing, or head to a nearby body of water or blue space. For even more ideas and the specific mental and physical health benefits of different nature activities, check out five of the best nature activities for your health.
From the tiniest of microscopic organisms to the complexity of larger life forms and the vastness of the cosmos, in nature there exists a repetition of shapes, structures, and patterns. These geometric archetypes, known throughout the ages as Sacred Geometry, are found in chemistry, physics, mathematics, physiology, and even in art and music. Perhaps you have heard of Sacred Geometry or maybe this is your first encounter with the concept. Regardless of your knowledge or experience, you may find the ideas about Sacred Geometry interesting and entertaining to ponder in view of the interconnectedness of nature and health. So let’s enlighten our perspective to see what Sacred Geometry is all about and how it may enrich our lives.
Think back to when you first learned about geometry. You may know that geometry provides a foundation (or framework) for building things.
Just as humans use geometry as the mathematical foundation for building things, so does nature. In nature and health, geometry similarly shows us how the parts of a structure are connected to the whole structure: the cells that build up into organs, and then systems, and then a whole human being (or tree, or flower, or mountain lion).
Sacred Geometry, then, can be thought of as the mathematical framework that exists throughout nature–including health. This framework is built from a set of foundational geometric shapes that give rise to increasingly complex patterns. Sacred Geometry gives us a visual and mathematical language for understanding the relationship between the parts and the whole of something in nature–from molecular structures and tiny organisms the naked eye can’t see to the complexity of the human body and the cosmos.
Almost every discipline can find a way to relate nature back to our well-being, but don’t take my word–or the words of other disciplinary experts. Go out into nature to explore the benefits yourself. This week, try to find time to go for a walk or garden.
If you’re unsure which nature activity you should try, you can download my free guide to feeling less stressed this week using nature.