The benefits of being in touch with nature to both our mental and physical well being have been well documented over the last 12 months. Many people cite their daily walk or run as being instrumental in helping them to deal with the anxiety and stress, that living through a pandemic has caused. That is partly of course, due to the physical activity, but there is increasing evident to support the notion that simply looking at nature can be beneficial to our wellness.
Mind have plenty of information on how being in touch with nature can reduce stress and anxiety, promote relaxation and confidence; as well as improve your mood and even help with mild and moderate depression. Reasons include:
- The overriding colours of nature are green and blue which psychologically are calming.
- The random nature of natural landscapes are good for our brains and give them a ‘rest’ from the straight lines and symmetry of more urban vistas.
- Our minds can ‘take us on a walk’ without us actually having to do it and the benefits to our brains are just as good.
Studies have shown almost universally, that for both adults and children, focus and attention is improved by exposure to the natural world. Views of nature improve productivity and concentration in adults and can even help with children dealing with conditions such as ADHD. A recent Canadian study showed that those living without daily access to nature were 20% more likely to feel anxious and 40% more likely to develop depression.
A 2013 study in the US showed that patients whose rooms faced a courtyard garden recovered from illness quicker than those whose view was a brick wall. This has been back up by further studies, which have also seen improvements in the immune system, by those who have a view of nature daily.
There is a misunderstanding that the benefits of nature have to be experienced by actually being out in it, but that is simply not true. Many people find it difficult to be outside either physically or emotionally, so it’s good to know that merely viewing natural scenes is enough to remind our brains of how expansive and soothing nature is. You can still reap the benefits of feeling at one with the natural world, by looking at it through a window or being exposed to large scale nature based art. The trend for large scale landscape art has exploded over the past few years, even before Covid, because we feel the difference when we are subjected to mountain, coastal or woodland scenes regularly. That daily dose of nature is a real tonic, especially for those who don’t have the luxury of being able to be outside in it.
Over the last 16 years Charlotte Designs have painted many landscape mural in hospitals, care homes, offices, schools and homes, helping the occupants to feel more grounded and relaxed. The effects are increased when the mural depicts a place well known to the on lookers and we work with our clients to come up with exactly the right look for both the room (or garden) and the audience.
Aside from the obvious practicalities of being able to place this work inside or out, on any surface, landscape murals are great of disguising structures that need disguising or bringing the outside in blurring edges of our living spaces.
As a runner, I would say that nothing that can completely replace getting out into the countryside and experiencing the smells and sounds of nature, as well as the sights, but when that isn’t possible, sitting and having your morning cuppa (or your evening tipple) whilst looking at a natural view is the next best thing.