Who said natural isn’t better for you?

An interesting and thought provoking study examining the influence natural versus man-made environments have on people was published today in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin by researchers Netta Weinstein, Andrew Przybylski and Richard Ryan.  A study of 370 individuals across four different study environments consistently showed that people exposed to natural elements rated close relationships and community higher than they had prior to exposure.  So does paying attention to the natural world make you behave better? Actually their results would indicate, yes.

Lead author Netta Weinstein says the findings highlight the importance of creating green spaces in cities and have implications for planners and architects. By contrast, “to the extent that our links with nature are disrupted, we may also lose some connection with each other”, She goes on to say, “We are influenced by our environment in ways that we are not aware of”.

Because of the hidden benefits of connecting with nature, people should take advantage of opportunities to get away from built environments and, when inside, they should surround themselves with plants, natural objects, and images of the natural world. “The more you appreciate nature, the more you can benefit”.

To read more:
Can Nature Make Us More Caring? Effects of Immersion in Nature on Intrinsic Aspirations and Generosity.
Netta Weinstein, Andrew K. Przybylski, Richard M. Ryan

Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, Vol. 35, No. 10, 1315-1329 (2009)

Cindy Farricker, MS, RD, CDE