When was the last time you hiked? Or paused to admire the intricacy of a flower? Or listened to birds sing? Or felt the breeze tousle your hair?
When times are tough, the tough immerse themselves in nature. It soothes us, comforts us, leads us back to our bearings. While many benefits of nature are unsurprising–relaxation, bliss, awe–some are downright startling. Studies show spending time in nature makes us more altruistic and helps us be more social creatures.
Now, a large body of research is documenting the positive impacts of nature on human flourishing—our social, psychological, and emotional life. Over 100 studies have shown that being in nature, living near nature, or even viewing nature in paintings and videos can have positive impacts on our brains, bodies, feelings, thought processes, and social interactions. In particular, viewing nature seems to be inherently rewarding, producing a cascade of position emotions and calming our nervous systems. These in turn help us to cultivate greater openness, creativity, connection, generosity, and resilience.
Take time today to dip your toe in nature. It’s good for whatever ails you.