Your environment has a huge impact on your mental and physical health. One of the most effective elements in creating a calm, healthy, happy space? Nature! Finding ways to connect with nature at home, at the office, and in your free time will have a positive impact on your wellbeing.
In this blog, you’ll learn about:
- The concept of biophilia
- Biophilic design
- 3 ways nature can improve your physical and mental health
WHY ARE HUMANS DRAWN TO NATURE?
Biophilia is the hypothesis that humans have an innate desire to seek connection with nature. It’s in our nature to love nature! Unfortunately, our opportunities to connect with nature have become less frequent over the years. We spend the majority of our time in our modern homes and offices, where we are sheltered from nature.
Some researchers warn that this disconnect could be leading to a loss of respect for nature among humans. If that’s the case, re-establishing the connection between people and nature is key to environmental conservation.
BIOPHILIC DESIGN: TAKING INSPIRATION FROM NATURE
All of this has inspired the concept of biophilic design: incorporating natural elements into architecture to connect building occupants more closely to nature. This design approach may include elements like natural lighting, indoor plants and trees, water features, wildlife habitat, or using colors or patterns found in nature.
A report on the global impact of biophilic design in the workplace showed that bringing nature into the workplace has valuable benefits including reduced absenteeism, reduced stress, and higher levels of productivity (one study seeing increases as high as 15%!).Bring a bee habitat to your building
Honey bee hives, wild bee homes, and urban gardens are interactive, meaningful ways for your tenants to connect with nature.
FRESH AIR CAN BOOST YOUR IMMUNITY
The fresh air provided by plants and trees doesn’t just smell better – it’s better for your health. Trees and plants produce organic compounds called phytoncides. They are antibacterial and antifungal, helping plants fight disease. Breathing in phytoncides triggers the body to produce more white blood cells known as “natural killer cells”, a name earned from their ability to kill other cells infected by tumors or viruses.
BEING IN NATURE CAN REDUCE STRESS AND IMPROVE YOUR MOOD
Spending time around trees has been shown to reduce stress, lower blood pressure, reduce cortisol levels (the body’s main stress hormone), and improve your mood. There’s even a word for it: forest bathing or Shinrin-yoku in Japanese. This term was created by the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, who encourage the practice.
Good news for city dwellers: you don’t need access to a dense rural forest to feel the positive effects. Urban green spaces like gardens, parks, and terrasses offer the same health benefits!
TIME IN NATURE CAN IMPROVE YOUR CONCENTRATION
Attention Restoration Theory proposes that you can improve your ability to concentrate and reduce mental fatigue by spending time in nature. This is because in natural environments, brain function is more effortless. You aren’t spending energy trying to force yourself to focus. Nature captures your attention, well, naturally! This means your brain has time to recover and recharge, giving you the capacity to more easily and effectively pay attention and be patient.
Biophilic design: good for you, good for the environment
Finding opportunities to connect with nature offers clear health benefits. But biophilic design doesn’t just support human wellbeing. It benefits the environment as well! Keep reading to explore the top 4 environmental benefits of a nature-based urban beekeeping program.