Connection with Nature Important for Health
Emerging research suggests reconnecting with nature could be key to improving individual health. Investigators report that individuals who visit natural spaces weekly and feel psychologically connected to them report better physical and mental well-being.
Moreover, in addition to the public health benefits, researchers discovered those who make weekly nature visits, or feel connected to nature, are also more likely to behave in ways which promote environmental health, including recycling and other conservation activities, thereby enriching the health of the planet.
The study results, which appear in the Journal of Environmental Psychology, suggest that reconnecting with nature could be key to achieving synergistic improvements to human and planetary health.
Researchers at the University of Plymouth, Natural England, the University of Exeter and University of Derby, explain that the study is the first to investigate the contribution of both nature contact and connection to human health, well-being and pro-environmental behaviors.
Investigators analyzed responses to the Monitor of Engagement with the Natural Environment (MENE) survey, commissioned by Natural England as part of DEFRA’s social science research program.
The team looked at people’s engagement with nature through access to green space, nature visits and the extent to which they felt psychologically connected to the natural world.
Lead author Leanne Martin, of the University of Plymouth, said: “In the context of increasing urbanization, it is important to understand how engagement with our planet’s natural resources relate to human health and behavior.
Our results suggest that physically and psychologically reconnecting with nature can be beneficial for human health and well-being, and at the same time encourages individuals to act in ways which protect the health of the planet.”
Marian Spain, Chief Executive of Natural England added: “It’s a top priority for Natural England to unlock the potential of the natural environment to help address the challenges we are facing as a society: poor physical health and mental well-being; the climate change crisis and the devastating loss of wildlife.
“These findings give vital new insights of the need to not just increase contact with nature, but about the sorts of experience that really help people build an emotional connection, which is key to unlocking health benefits as well as inspiring people to taking action to help their environment.
We look forward to using the research as we work with our many partners to support more people from all walks of life to benefit from thriving nature.”
Source: University of Plymouth
Nauert PhD, R. (2020). Connection with Nature Important for Health. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 1, 2020, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2020/02/19/connection-with-nature-important-for-health/154194.html